At IES Abroad, we believe that study abroad is life-changing. Just take it from our IES Abroad Ambassadors, a group of 500+ IES Abroad alumni who share their study abroad experiences and serve as study abroad experts for students with questions about study abroad. They volunteer at the study abroad offices on their U.S. university campuses, respond to student questions via e-mail, participate in social media outreach, attend study abroad fairs, and more.
Congratulations to our 2017 IES Abroad Ambassadors of the Year, Cheyenne Freelove (Auckland - Fall 2015 | University of Tulsa) and Haley Wilhelm (Freiburg – Academic Year 2014-15| Scripps College)! Cheyenne and Haley are examples of exceptional Ambassadors who have gone above and beyond their IES Abroad Ambassador duties, and who have made it their mission to make study abroad a reality for students everywhere.
Read about their study abroad experiences, and their work as IES Abroad Ambassadors.
Cheyenne Freelove (Auckland | University of Tulsa)
"As soon as I came back from studying abroad, I knew that I wanted to stay connected to a community of people who have gone abroad and who encourage traveling and seeing the world. Actively being involved in that community and making a difference to other people has been one of the most rewarding endeavors to me during my time at the University of Tulsa and as an IES Abroad Ambassador.”
Before studying abroad in New Zealand, Cheyenne set three study abroad goals for himself:
- Get to know local students;
- Do something unique to New Zealand;
- Learn about the history and culture of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Maori people.
Mission accomplished: In Auckland, he joined the basketball, tramping, and climbing clubs, enrolled in a Maori world class, and spent time travelling Auckland with Vedic monks. He explained, “I became a better person from going abroad and these goals that I set for myself, which expanded my thinking of the world and forced me out of my comfort zone, had a large part in that.”
After returning from abroad, Cheyenne knew he wanted to stay connected with the study abroad community. He became an IES Abroad Ambassador at the University of Tulsa, and now works diligently to find and promote study abroad programs specifically for Nursing students, Engineering and Natural Science (ENS) students, and student athletes. “Whether it’s specific classes, a restrictive scholarship, or an all-around heavy workload, I knew these groups of people already thought that studying abroad was not possible for them,” Cheyenne said. “Although more difficult, it is still possible for a majority of these students to go abroad if they want to.”
Cheyenne collaborates with his study abroad office on campus to find study abroad programs that work with the class schedules of nursing students, ENS students, and student athletes. “I’m very happy that what I have been working on with my study abroad office has translated into real change for certain groups on campus, and it all started with me being an IES Abroad Ambassador,” he said. “Going forward, I will continue to encourage all students to go abroad, especially those who thought it never possible.”
Haley Wilhelm (Freiburg | Scripps College)
"My abroad experience offered me the chance to further my relationship with German [language] in a way that was simply impossible stateside. I was also able to explore myself abroad in a way that was not possible in the confines of my small college campus. I would never have travelled to Scotland, Portugal, and Greece alone had it not been for the confidence so many new experiences offered me, and I most certainly would not have otherwise seen 10 countries and countless cities and mountains and breathtaking places in 11 months’ time.”
Haley’s passion for the German language began in high school, where she was first introduced to German classical music. As a singer, she found that the German classical music worked well with her voice, and from there, she was hooked. She started taking German classes in college, which encouraged her to study abroad in Freiburg. She explains, “I was committed to improving my German, to traveling extensively, and to building more than just a fleeting connection to German culture.”
In Freiburg, Haley immersed herself in the local culture, and spent her time exploring cinemas, which developed her German language skills. “I found myself laughing along with the crowds of Germans at the theater,” she said. “I developed my ear for German and my desire for fluency.” Haley also participated in a tandem program, where she partnered with a German student to practice her language and to help the German student improve her English. “My tandem partner is now one of my closest friends and still proofreads many of my German e-mails and essays,” Haley said.
As an IES Abroad Ambassador at Scripps College, Haley shares her life-changing study abroad experience with students from all over the United States. She’s served on study abroad panels to discuss study abroad financial aid and living abroad as a woman. Haley is currently in Germany on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.
Have study abroad questions? IES Abroad Ambassadors are here to help. Find an IES Abroad Ambassador and reach out with your questions on all things study abroad.