What It's Like to Be an ISEP Study Abroad Ambassador

February 3, 2016

*Studying abroad can be a transformative experience for launching your career. There are many ways you can demonstrate the relevance of your global skills to future employers, and the ISEP Ambassador Program is a great place to start. The program provides a structured opportunity to promote international education on your home campus while demonstrating transferable career skills essential for building your résumé. Our Fall 2015 ISEP Ambassadors served in a variety of ways to help recruit study abroad participants and welcome international students to their culture. While doing this, they created a strong career portfolio that demonstrates their professional marketability in a wide variety of fields. Each ambassador is part of a regional team that meets virtually every month with an ISEP staff member. Together they are able to connect, collaborate and speak about their own experiences abroad.

We’re pleased to award three of our ambassadors as top performers of the semester. These three students all showed great communication, leadership, creativity and organizational skills during their time as ambassadors.*

Katelyn McGuffin, overall winner and winner for Team Great Lakes and Northeast

Katelyn is a communication studies major at Marshall University, and she spent a semester at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco.

Katelyn’s advice for living like a local:

“If you want to live like a local during your time abroad, do your best to connect genuinely with the local people. I began to feel like a local when I was going regularly to the marche (market) with my Moroccan friend, Sara. We shopped for groceries, ate at local restaurants, and took strolls around town as she shared with me about her experiences living in Morocco. Intentionally getting off-campus with Moroccan friends to dwell in the area among the Moroccan people made me feel so much more a part of the culture. Acquainted with my home-away-from-home, it was not long before I was getting taxis on my own to teach dance class at the local school! At that point I truly felt like a local, finding a niche within my own community and engaging with Moroccan families.”

Student at ISEP booth
Student at ISEP booth

Katelyn advised students on the benefits of ISEP at the Marshall Study Abroad fair.

Katelyn was an extremely active ambassador who was very involved in many aspects of the program. She promoted the benefits of studying abroad with ISEP on her campus by giving classroom presentations and running the ISEP table at the Marshall study abroad fair. She went above and beyond in welcoming international students to her campus, with activities like rafting trips, hay rides, Bridge Day in Fayetteville, West Virginia, a play in their local historic district, and taught them how to play broomball. She assisted an on-campus group in organizing a Thanksgiving Dinner, which she also volunteered at. She also volunteered and performed at the Marshall University International Festival.

International students having a Thanksgiving dinner
International students having a Thanksgiving dinner

Katelyn volunteered at this Thanksgiving Dinner for international students.

Simone Bradley, winner for Team Western U.S.

Simone is a communications studies major at the University of Montana, and she studied abroad for a semester at the Université du Havre in France.

Simone’s favorite memory of her time abroad:

“My friends and I went on a 10-day trip through Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Seeing all of the history and culture there was something I’ll never forget.”

Simone did an exceptional job of encouraging study abroad on her campus. Some of her activities included advising at the University of Montana study abroad fair, conducting multiple class presentations, participating in University of Montana Study Abroad Intern program and meetings, contributing to discussions for pre-departure classes, and serving on panels of recently returned students. Simone was also an active participant in the Western U.S. Ambassador virtual meetups and discussions!

Jenna Ortiz, winner for Team Southeastern U.S.

Jenna is a history major at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she studied abroad for a semester at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom.

Jenna’s advice for living like a local:

“My best advice for students going abroad is to talk, talk, talk. Talk to everyone! Your fellow classmates, the cashier at the local grocery store, your waiters/waitresses, your professors, talk to everyone. I had the best experiences while I was learning about other people and their culture abroad. When you take the time to speak to the local people of your host city/town (and the locals when you’re traveling), you have the opportunity to see and experience so much more than what’s in the local tourist guides. I made amazing relationships with the people I met while abroad. Take this opportunity to meet any and everyone you can.”

Student ambassador in front of ISEP banner
Student ambassador in front of ISEP banner

Jenna served as a great advocate for the academic benefits of ISEP during her time as an ambassador. She partnered with a professor to distribute information about to students, and talked to multiple classes about international education and ISEP. She also helped at the VCU study abroad fair, worked with ISEP staff and answered student questions.

Two students posing for a photo for an event
Two students posing for a photo for an event

We are so pleased with all that our Fall 2015 ambassadors accomplished, and are so thankful for all of their work! If the ISEP Ambassador Program sounds like something you might be interested in, keep an eye out for our next application cycle later in the year.

Ready to study abroad? Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll work to match you with a program.

No matter what, we’ve got a university that fits your needs. With access to 320 institutions, and the ability to study any major, we’ll help you get abroad. Find out more about all of our schools on our website directory pages.

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