Sharing the Joy of Studying Abroad | October Ambassador of the Month Meredith Hawley

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We're thrilled to announce Meredith Hawley (Granada, Spring 2018) as our October Ambassador of the Month! As a volunteer Ambassador, Meredith shares her study abroad stories and advice back on campus at Loyola University - Chicago. From her enthusiastic participation at study abroad fairs to sitting down with students and chatting about the possibilities of study abroad, she continues to go above and beyond the Ambassador role, earning her the Ambassador of the Month Award. One of our favorites? Meredith joined forces with IES Abroad College Relations Manager Erin McIntee to host an event called Queso and Questions, where Meredith answered questions about studying abroad in Granada over chips and queso. We love the creativity!

Read more about Meredith's experience in Granada and how it motivated her to inspire future study abroad students.


It’s funny how four months can both feel like a lifetime and the blink of an eye. One minute you’re experiencing the streets of Granada for the first time and the next you’re heading back to Málaga for your final flight home. While I definitely savored every moment of being in Granada, I still was excited to come home to my amazing family and friends in Chicago. Luckily for me I applied to be an IES Abroad Ambassador so I could keep reliving and sharing my amazing experiences from my semester abroad with prospective study abroad students!

Studying abroad in Granada, Spain with IES Abroad exceeded every expectation I had for my semester abroad. I never thought that a city halfway across the world could feel like a home to me after only a few months! I stayed with the most nurturing and lovely host family. Living in a homestay helped me be immersed in Spanish culture and work on my language skills every day for hours on end! It’s definitely helpful to have a Spanish mom and dad to help you adjust to a new culture, city, and language. Also the home cooked meals are even better than you could possibly imagine!

The classes offered at IES Abroad rounded out my immersive experience in Granada. Not only did I take a language intensive course Monday-Thursday, but I was able to take an incredible mix of major specific classes, artistic classes, and Islamic history classes. This wide range of subjects provided an all-encompassing education that, when paired with my homestay and daily adventures, ensured that I truly got the most out of my four months in Andalucía.

It’s safe to say that I will be forever grateful for the experience I had in Granada with IES Abroad. For years, I had eagerly been waiting for my “Spanish adventure,” as I liked to call it, and IES Abroad fulfilled all my hopes of having a fun, immersive, and life-changing experience. This is why I wanted to become an IES Abroad Ambassador! So I could share the joy I felt studying abroad with others.

Want more student stories from abroad? Explore our student blogs, contact an Ambassador, and experience the power of study abroad through film with our Study Abroad Film Festival.

For years, I had eagerly been waiting for my “Spanish adventure,” as I liked to call it, and IES Abroad fulfilled all my hopes of having a fun, immersive, and life-changing experience.

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