Our November 2017 Ambassador of the Month, Nolan Derr, has found joy in sharing his experience studying abroad on the IES Abroad Shanghai – Economy, Business & Society Program in Spring 2017. A senior at the College of William and Mary, Nolan majors in Accounting and minors in Chinese. As an IES Abroad Ambassador, Nolan has been extensively involved in working at his school’s study abroad fairs, and has helped advise students interested in Shanghai with his study abroad office.
Read on to learn more about Nolan’s experience volunteering as an IES Abroad Ambassador:
IES Abroad: Why IES Abroad?
Nolan Derr (ND): My favorite thing about IES Abroad is how organized the program was, and how safe they made me feel throughout the semester. Whether it was during our 5-day course-related trip to Japan or just in my day-to-day life, there were always people that I could reach out to for anything. The IES Abroad staff in Shanghai made it a lot easier for us to enjoy our time abroad because we always knew someone was there to help if we needed it.
IES Abroad: What tips would you give a student to help them make their host country home?
ND: My biggest piece of advice would be to make an effort to connect with the locals in your host country. It can be really easy once you get abroad to spend all your time with other study abroad students, but it's important to get out of your comfort zone. Some of my favorite memories from my semester studying abroad in China were with local people because I learned so much more about the country and the culture. It also obviously helps a lot if you're trying to learn the local language!
IES Abroad: What have you gained from being an IES Abroad Ambassador?
ND: It's really rewarding for me personally to be able to help students as they get ready for their own once-in-a-lifetime study abroad experience. I know firsthand that studying abroad can be a really daunting process, so I love being able to directly help students feel more comfortable with the idea of it. Also, I honestly love talking about my experience with IES Abroad in Shanghai, and being an Ambassador gives me the chance to do that!
Have a question for a student who’s already studied abroad? IES Abroad Ambassadors are here to help. Find an IES Abroad Ambassador and reach out with any questions you might have!