Our Colleagues, Students, and Alumni Make Black History Abroad

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At IES Abroad, we believe that every black student going abroad, past or present, is making black history abroad. Black History Month is as good a time as ever to celebrate that truth, so we polled some of our IES Abroad staff to see how they made black history while studying, living, and traveling abroad. Here's what they had to say:

We're proud that our colleagues can speak to the ways they made black history abroad—just like our students and alumni. 

Last year, we were excited to mark the first 10 years of our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad (IDEA): an innovative, sustained access and diversity effort that has inspired 10,000+ multifaceted students—including those who identify as black—to study abroad and intern around the world.

"As this generation of black college students carves out its own unique path and legacy, our IES Abroad diversity initiative connects them to the world—preparing them for how the intersections of their identities may influence their experiences in other cultures and empowering them to be uniquely themselves in our world," said Gretchen Cook-Anderson, our Director of Diversity Recruiting & Advising.

Read more below about how our colleagues, students, and alumni have made and continue to make black history abroad.

Alumni Who Are Making a World of Difference

"It's inspired me to take my time, soak in more experiences, and travel more while I can and then go into the workforce."

"I became increasingly aware of the lack of awareness, on a global scale, of black Americans or others of African descent beyond pop culture stereotypes. I took greater pride in my heritage and my desire to expand others' perceptions. My sense of American-ness also grew during that period."

"The experience ultimately became the beginning of a pattern for me, where travel is my antidote to the complacency of everyday life."

Correspondents Who Reflect on the Black Experience Abroad

"From the get go, I could tell that Chile presents itself as more of a diverse society in general."

"I didn't feel that my race or background was a handicap at all in Japan. Most Japanese people will see you as simply a foreigner, and nothing more."

"Systematic oppression produces similar results under different forms in different countries due to different contexts. Nonetheless, this is a problem that must be addressed."

Alumni Whose Careers Have Been Shaped By Study Abroad

Special Advisor for Guinea Worm Eradication, The Carter Center
IES Abroad Vienna, 1960-61

State Health Officer (Ret.), Washington State Department of Health
IES Abroad Vienna, 1967-68

U.S. Ambassador (Ret.) Botswana and Nigeria
IES Abroad Nantes, 1967-68

We’re proud that our students are as diverse as the countries where they study abroad. Learn more about our Initiative to Diversify Education Abroad and explore our diversity resources.

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At IES Abroad, we believe that every black student going abroad, past or present, is making black history abroad.

Read more