Study Abroad Advice from Ambassador Elon Roland: Why He Chose IES Abroad & Made Friends in Barcelona

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Kiah Zellner-Smith
August 26, 2016

We’re proud to introduce Elon Roland, a rising senior at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as our August 2016 Ambassador of the Month!

Elon is majoring in Communication and pursuing a minor in Business. On campus, he’s a member of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and is considering a career in real estate. Elon participated in our Barcelona Summer Language & Area Studies Program in Summer 2015 and has been active in promoting study abroad to other students ever since.

He spoke with us about why he chose to study abroad with IES Abroad, and how he used an app to take his study abroad experience in Barcelona to the next level.

IES Abroad: Why IES Abroad?

ER: IES Abroad provides a strong support system for everyone that goes abroad. There was never a moment where I felt alone, as IES Abroad was in constant communication with me the entire time and always made sure that I was having the best experience possible. I heard about IES Abroad and about their amazing support before I went, and I am happy to say the support was there from day one.

IES Abroad: How did you meet locals abroad?

ER: I met locals through an application called Meetup. I really wanted to play basketball and someone told me about this meetup group. I found a group of people who played basketball a couple of times a week and met some really interesting people while playing. Through that application, I also found groups that would meet at local pubs for people to practice both Spanish and English. Every 30 minutes everyone would switch from speaking English to Spanish then back to English. It was a unique experience and helped me meet a lot of locals who taught me more about Barcelona.

IES Abroad: What have you gained from being an IES Abroad Ambassador?

ER: I have gained the opportunity to give back to people who were in the same position that I was in. It is great to give people a heads up about what to expect and how to manage living in a different culture. It feels good to see people appreciate the help that I provide, and it feels even better when I am thanked for helping them when they return.

Thanks, Elon!

The IES Abroad Ambassador Program connects our future students with our past students. If you’re interested in learning more about our Ambassador Program or have a question for a past IES Abroad student, visit our IES Abroad Ambassadors page

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Kiah Zellner-Smith

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