Our Correspondents Share Their Gratitude For IES Abroad Faculty and Staff

ies abroad logo
IES Abroad

It certainly takes a lot of work to send students abroad every year, and it's the kind of work that IES Abroad faculty and staff are incredibly passionate about. Since so much of this work often happens behind-the-scenes, our current Fall Correspondents wanted to take a moment and give thanks for the amazing Center faculty and staff around the world who have helped make their study abroad dreams a reality. 

Because the truth is, there is no study abroad without these wonderful people. Their warmth and kindness, their support and welcoming attitude, and their firsthand knowledge of navigating their cities and languages is what makes IES Abroad possible. Students frequently maintain their friendship with Center faculty and staff long after they've returned home, and visit them when they have a chance to go back abroad. 

As you scroll through this, you'll notice that these are not just blanket statements of gratitude or kindness. These are specific and thoughtful instances of when IES Abroad Center faculty and staff made sure that our students were listened to, encouraged, and supported. This is the IES Abroad difference, and it's not a surprise that many of our faculty and staff have been thanked by multiple students, or that so many students submitted multiple responses of praise. Lucy Mayer (IES Abroad Granada | Brandeis University) put it best when she submitted her note: "Sorry this is so much, I can't just pick one!" No apologies necessary, Lucy.

It's hard to read these without smiling (or, let's be honest, tearing up). 


A simple "thank you" simply isn't enough.

"Gavin has been a godsend on this program for me. He has gone out of his way to be supportive to me and has met all of my requests for help with unconditional kindness. IES Abroad is lucky to have Gavin on staff and I am so grateful for the work he does." - Laura Bullock (IES Abroad Vienna | Davidson College)

"I am very grateful for Elvira, the Senior Academic Coordinator at IES Abroad Granada! Even before the program started, Elvira was one of the first people I was in contact with as she was helping me put together my schedule for this fall. We sent countless emails back and forth trying to hammer out every kink, and she truly went above and beyond—she literally made me spreadsheets without me prompting her, which as a visual learner was extremely helpful. Of course, when I got to school she was just as wonderful, especially when it came to figuring out my classes at the local University of Granada. She emailed professors for me when I had no way to contact them, made sure I knew which buses to take and what section of a class I should attend, and went through the hassle of enrolling me with the front office. Her help with that definitely saved me a lot of headaches. Now not only is she great at her job, but is also a lovely person to chat with. Overall, I am quite grateful to have her on staff here at the Granada Center, and know my abroad experience has been made better with her help. Gracias por todo Elvira!" - Katie Moore (IES Abroad Granada | Occidental College)

"I’m really grateful for Eugénie. When I was having medical issues, she was willing to help me every step of the way. She’s always around with a nice, warm smile on her face. She has a motherly air to her, and it’s easy to see that she cares for all of the students. If I ever have an issue, I’m never to timid to ask her for help. Even when students are nervous or unsure of what to do, I’ve advised them to speak with her. I’d like to say thank you to her for being so open and caring to us. I’m truly grateful for that as this experience hasn’t been the easiest to navigate. People like her definitely help put our minds at ease." - Daisy Humphries (IES Abroad Nantes | Wofford College)

"I am thankful for the bubbly passionate energy my dear Flamenco professor María brings to class every day. Her class is an instant mood booster. I find myself smiling under my mask the whole time. I love learning dance from María and watching her perform in the little snippets of demonstration I get to see. I could go on about Ana's watercolor class. I am enjoying it so much. I would like to thank her for the helpful feedback in class each day and for creating such a welcoming learning environment to express ourselves through art. Also, one time I ran into her near the art supply store and was unsure what to get. She saw I looked confused and took the time out of her day to go back in and help me get what I needed." 

"Antonio is simply the friendliest and most approachable person and on top of all that (por si fuera poco) a great conversationalist. He also always goes the extra mile to ask if I'm confused about something we learned in class, and I appreciate it so much. The way he has explained the subjunctive has made SO much sense, and even though I've probably learned the subjunctive 5 times over in the course of my education, this time I finally understand it to a much greater extent."

"Yolanda has been very patient with me. I sit in class sometimes furrowing my brow in confusion, nodding and saying soga y tizón (I now know what this means). The material of the class is very interesting. Sadly, I'm not very good at history, it's always been my hardest subject in school. Although It's a lot of information to learn and the class is out my comfort zone because I'm a bio major, Yolanda has been very helpful. I have asked her a couple of times if she would hold office hours for me after class and without hesitation, she has been there, ready to help." 

"From the moment I got here and I was figuring out my class schedule, Elvira was so helpful in working out the details of it all. I sat in her office and she was patient with me and my questions. She also helped me print out things when the printer was broken. I'm grateful to know her. Javier also helped me work out my schedule when I was deciding between different classes to take and going back and forth with my university. I have also really enjoyed talking to him about cultural differences I've encountered. He also took me on an amazing bike tour in Sevilla!"

- Lucy Mayer (IES Abroad Granada | Brandeis University)

"I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Nantes Center Director, Nicolas Stefanni (pictured, leading orientation). He is approachable, humble, and very responsive to questions. I would like to extend my appreciation particularly for his simple act on my birthday. Celebrating a birthday away from friends, family and in a foreign country can be difficult that even small things mean a lot. Hence, it meant a lot when he wished me a happy birthday!" - Feza Anaise Umutoni (IES Abroad Nantes | Sewanee: University of the South)

"Cristina has been really helpful with answering questions and just being there for everyone in the program. I haven't needed to specifically sit down with her and discuss any issues but its very comforting knowing that she's always there and available. I figure that working with rowdy college kids can be tough sometimes but I appreciate everything that she does for us." - Rachel Seyler (IES Abroad Galápagos Islands | University of Colorado - Boulder)

"I am grateful for my Economics professor Mr. Ferry Stocker. This is my first and only economics/finance class I have ever taken. Honestly, I signed up for it on accident and was worried that with little experience or knowledge that I would do poorly. Mr. Stocker has been nothing but helpful and considerate in his teaching and explains everything to me in a way that is easy for me to understand. He makes learning interactive and fun, I wouldn't want any other teacher to teach my first economics class. I'm grateful to have him as my teacher! " - Abby Van Metre (IES Abroad Vienna | Denison University)

"I'm so grateful for Cristina! She is always there to help and is such a calm presence here on San Cristobal Island. From offering me Pedialyte when I got food sickness, to hiking with us over slippery rocks to a waterfall, she has been nothing but kind! I especially appreciate the yoga classes she organized for us students. They were a nice activity to calm and center myself during crazy weeks. I'm glad she's here :)" - Catherine Putzier (IES Abroad Galápagos Islands | University of St. Thomas)

"Professor Thibaut was very supportive during the "shopping period" for adding and dropping classes. When I consulted him about dropping a class, he immediately set aside whatever he was working on to have an impromptu meeting with me to discuss why I was dropping a class. He was very attentive and reassuring, presenting each option with ways to move forward. His dedication to the students of IES definitely showed during this meeting. Madame Deschanel is a real rockstar for coming to class on Friday after having been out for the beginning of the week because of a broken nose. I'm constantly amazed by her patience with our class, even when we can be "raplapla" (familiar for tired) every single morning. Even though we come to class like everyday is a Monday morning she definitely understands us and helps us to work hard even when we're "raplapla." She definitely works hard to organize activities which are relevant, yet also entertaining for all of us." - Micah Doctolero (IES Abroad Nantes | Santa Clara University)

"I am so grateful for Profesora Ana who teaches my Watercolor class as well as my Islamic Art and Architecture class. Ana is always there to support students and make them feel like they can accomplish anything. She is patient and kind and has a lovely sense of humor. She always makes us feel cared for, not only as students but also as people. Ana gives me the confidence to try and express my artistic side while also helping me refine my technique. I hope I always stay in contact with her and have her sweet presence in my life." - Kenzie Syiem (IES Abroad Granada | Wofford College)

"I am thankful for Beth, the Internship Director from IES London. She has been nothing but helpful and kind throughout this whole journey, from prior to my arrival and throughout the semester. She has been so supportive and has certainly made the transition to studying abroad a lot smoother than I expected." - Zoe Wille (IES Abroad London | California Lutheran University)

"Someone who I am extremely grateful for is my Spanish language Professor, Maria. She has so much patience for us as we are navigating this new culture and language and is so eager to help us better our language skills and better ourselves along the way. In class she is always really good about giving us applicable, real-world examples that help us understand the material of the class and she is always there to push us further because she truly believes in our potential." - Emme Pike (IES Abroad Madrid | Bates College)

"I am grateful for my Spanish instructor, Daniel. He has been very helpful since the first day I arrived in Barcelona. He truly wants his students to learn, explore the city, and enjoy our time abroad. Daniel is always willing to give recommendations for places to visit in Barcelona, Spain, and other parts of Europe. For example, he just provided our class with a list of the top 25 restaurants in Barcelona for tapas. I really appreciate Daniel and his hospitality!" - Jordan Goode (IES Abroad Barcelona | University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill)

"Regina is fantastic. She responds immediately and does her best to help no matter the situation. For example, I've been having leg pain and after emailing her about health care in Dublin, she responded in (actually) 2 minutes. Then, with Trinity College's less than optimal class registration setup, she was with us every step of the way checking in on us and vouching for us. She's also just a lovely person, and it has been awesome having someone so vehemently on your side :) Thank you Regina!" - Kevin Shan (IES Abroad Dublin | University of Rochester)

"Seth - Merci beaucoup for all of your work making our experience in Paris the best it can be! Whether it is helping someone find a doctor's appointment, recommending day trips from Paris, or organizing activities at the IES center, you are always ready to help students out and make their study abroad experience better. Thank you! Meghann - You are FULL of knowledge about french culture and I have loved learning about pronunciation and the french language from you. You were extremely helpful during the drop/add period, when I made many (MANY) changes to my course schedule. You are always so encouraging and friendly to everyone and it's been a joy getting to know you at the center!" - Julia Himmelberger (IES Abroad Paris | St. Olaf College)

"I am grateful for Flor! She is so kind and relatable, which makes every field trip with IES Abroad a true pleasure. Her newsletters are so informative and really keep us up-to-date with all of the fun events happening in Amsterdam. She clearly enjoys sharing Amsterdam with us, which only makes us wish we weren't leaving in 2 months!" - Cali Carper (IES Abroad Amsterdam | Penn State University)

"Noemi at the Barcelona Center has been an amazing support during my time studying abroad here. If I ever have any questions or concerns, she's my go-to person at the Center. She has helped me greatly by setting up my doctor's appointments and connecting me to a therapist here. The way she took care of me and my needs as if they were her own showed me just how much she cares for the students and their wellbeing. I am so grateful for her and her commitment!" - Sanny Yang (IES Abroad Barcelona | Hope College)

"I am really grateful for having Seth at our Paris French studies program. He makes this program rock with all of his fantastic events and activities! He is also always there when we need him, which we all really appreciate. Thanks for being so amazing!!!" - Martin Lopez (IES Abroad Paris | Lewis & Clark College)

"I'm really grateful for Concha, who teaches my Lorca and Andalusian Literature Class. She has made this class one of my most enjoyable ones, and the best literature class I've taken in college. Concha is so easy to connect with and just genuinely cares about all of the students in the class. She is so funny, kind, and approachable and I always look forward to the activities we do in class, which sometimes include acting out scenes, drawing, or doing other creative activities. As someone who doesn't particularly like acting, I feel very at ease in her class and always have fun with the activities (even the acting ones). I've also learned a ton, not just about Lorca but about different movements in art and poetry during the 20th century. Concha feels like a teacher, but also just someone who is easy to talk to and very understanding. So thankful for all the efforts she puts into her class!" - Marissa Talcott (IES Abroad Granada | Claremont McKenna College)

"Every morning our Spanish professor Ana is excited to teach us and especially for students who don’t like early classes, she makes a 9am class more than bearable with her infectious energy. She creates a learning environment where we feel comfortable to try even if we fail and we are given reasonable assignments that are helpful to our learning. Ana wants us to succeed not only as students learning Spanish but also as humans navigating the world as young adults. We can tell that our teacher enjoys her job and loves to teach us. She takes her time to check in on students especially when we appear to be struggling or when someone is missing from class. Ana is an incredible teacher that is a perfect example of the goals of IES Abroad to encourage experiential learning and improvement of our Spanish language skills." 

"Angel is an incredible staff member that I know I can rely on. There are lots of students that he is responsible for and he knows us all well and takes his time to sincerely ask how we are doing! Angel's responses are so fast especially when I need him to be and I always feel comfortable talking to him!" 

- Audrey Glas (IES Abroad Madrid | Gettysburg College)

"From day one of my time here in London, Nico has made such a profound impact on my study abroad experience. Her obvious passion for travel and deep care for us was evident in all my interactions with her. She was always so hyped at all of the field trips that she led and would always encourage us to do as much as we can while we are here to experience as much of the city as possible! Even after meeting her just once, seeing her at orientation events and later at the IES Center regularly, I felt like she was someone that I could talk to about anything if I needed support or help with literally anything. AND, she even remembered who I was right away! When I got sick during the first week of classes, I was incredibly stressed and upset and she helped relieve so much of my anxiety and truly seemed to be willing to do anything to help me get better. I feel like I could label her as my study abroad mother! The BEST!!!" - Sam Meyer (IES Abroad London | University of Colorado-Boulder)

"I am grateful for how kind and gentle Eugenie is to all of the students. She has a very welcoming and inviting spirit and I think everyone can agree that that is so appreciated when you're studying abroad in a completely foreign place. Another staff member I am grateful for is Clara. She is organized and efficient, and also is very accepting of all of the students! She is also very very kind! I've known her for a few years (since she worked at my university at home for a while), and she has always been extremely patient and kind to me and all of the other students." - Clare Hogan (IES Abroad Nantes | Wofford College)

"I am grateful for the guidance that José Luis was able to provide when I was dealing with a scheduling conflict between my classes. I found out on short notice that I had an engineering lab scheduled at the same time as my Spanish midterm. There were no other times for me to reschedule the lab, except for the section that was entirely in Spanish. I stopped by José Luis' office (without having an appointment) and he immediately had me sit down and explain my dilemma. He ended up arranging for me to reschedule my Spanish midterm and I was able to make it to my engineering lab as well. Thank you for your support and flexibility!" - Kyla Hunter (IES Abroad Madrid | Duke University)

"I am studying abroad at the Granada center in Spain and I am thankful for Javier. I had the privilege of arriving to Granada a couple of days before my program officially started and he made sure to contact me while I was here on my own to make sure I was doing well. Throughout the program, he has made time to get to know each individual student and always stops to ask me how I am doing whenever I see him. He makes the field trips so fun with his sense of adventure and truly seeks to create an environment for every student to authentically experience Spain. Each little thing that he does really goes a long way and makes Granada feel more like a home. I am grateful for you, Javier!" - Hannah Smith (IES Abroad Granada | University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)

Explore our programs by location to see which Center is the right fit for your study abroad dreams. Follow our Correspondents on our blogsInstagram, and TikTok.

IES Abroad News

Read More

IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

View All IES Abroad News