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Study Abroad Alumni

IIE Generation Study Abroad Voices Video Challenge

Thank you to all Study Abroad Alumni who have participated in the Video Voices Challenge! This contest is now closed.

IIE's Generation Study Abroad Voices Video Challenge

IIE is trying to do something big – double the number of U.S. students who study abroad by the end of the decade. This involves a complete shift in the way Americans think about study abroad as a part of a 21st century education.

To make this work, we need your help! IIE hopes to rally students around our Generation Study Abroad Initiative and is seeking 10,000 students and alumni to join the initiative and help get the word out about study abroad. So what can you do?

Share your experiences to help us show why study abroad is so crucial by entering the “Generation Study Abroad Voices” video contest.

Together with The New York Times in Education, IIE is asking study abroad alumni to join Generation Study Abroad and share their voice. We want to know how study abroad gave you an edge, and what impact it had on your life and the world, and how using The New York Times content helped you.

The New York Times provides a vibrant daily record of history in the making, igniting student interest by linking learning to living – serving the ideals of today’s demanding educational aims by spurring critical thinking, increasing national and global awareness and fostering a more informed and engaged citizenry.

Winners will be announced August 5th!

Contact Us

For other questions regarding IIE's Generation Study Abroad Voices Video Challenge, please email us at

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2015 Generation Study Abroad Voices Video Contest Winners

Winner Profiles:

Alejandro Alba

  • Study Abroad Experience: He is a recipient of the National Security Education Program's Boren Scholarship to China and completed a High School Year Abroad at Lycée International à Saint Germain-en- Laye
  • Education: B.A. in International Relations, American University’s School of International Service
  • Current Position: Program Coordinator, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Communications Director, the Boren Forum (National Education Program Alumni Association)

Christine O'Dea

  • Study Abroad Experience:  Academic Programs International (API) Cultural Liaison Correspondent in Spain; MatadorU Scholarship for travel journalism in Spain
  • Education: B.A. in Mass Communications/Media Studies, Hofstra University
  • Current Position: English Teacher, English Program in Korea (EPIK)

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#GoStudyAbroad Campaign Winner Profiles

Congratulations to the #GoStudyAbroad scholarship and travel prize recipients. Thank you for taking the pledge to #GoStudyAbroad and for encouraging other students to do the same!

#GoStudyAbroad Scholarship Recipient Profiles

Travis Durgan
Junior, Michigan Technological University

$10,000 Scholarship and Round Trip Flight (Grand Prize)
Sponsored by the Institute of International Education and STA Travel

Travis, an engineering student who wishes to work in community development, would like to study abroad in Colombia to gain a “better understanding of different cultures”, and know what it is like to work in these communities, while at the same time improving his Spanish language skills.

Jonathan Blackmon
Sophomore, Florida A&M University

$5,000 Scholarship - Sponsored by AIFS Study Abroad

Jonathan, a political science major who wishes to work for the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer, plans to study abroad in Costa Rica for an entire year. Jonathan hopes to “obtain fluency in the Spanish language while immersing [himself] in the culture of the host country.”

Damian Carter
Freshman, University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign

$5,000 Scholarship - Sponsored by CET Academic Programs

Damian, a computer science major, has never had the opportunity to travel outside of the Midwest. Damian wishes to study abroad in China in order to embrace new cultures and “visit the unknown”. He hopes to bring what he learns while studying abroad back to his home community.

Starr Warner
Junior, University of Redlands

$5,000 Scholarship - Sponsored by IFSA-Butler

Starr, a history and psychology double major, believes that studying abroad with this scholarship is a once in a lifetime opportunity. She would like to study abroad in Australia and New Zealand in order to gain a deeper understanding of other cultures, languages, and ceremonies in relation to her own experience as a Navajo Native American.

#GoStudyAbroad Travel Prize Recipient Profiles

(Study Abroad Alumni Nominators)

Marissa Berggrun
Studied abroad in the United Kingdom

Travel Prize Recipient - Sponsored by AIFS Study Abroad

Marissa, a strategic communications major, wants to inspire others to study abroad by effectively communicating the impact of study abroad through speaking publicly on campus, sharing her experience with the numerous campus clubs and activities she is involved with, and by promoting study abroad through social media. Marissa believes it is important to inspire others to study abroad by creating a “story through expression, creativity, a wild imagination and heart.”

Kora Nixon
Studied abroad in the New Zealand

Travel Prize Recipient - Sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE)

Kora, a student at Michigan State University, wants to inspire the students at her school to study abroad “through self-made videos and on-campus presentations” to show others how “eye-opening and mind-opening it can be to view your own culture from the outside looking in.”

Kathleen Ryan
Studied abroad in Ireland

Travel Prize Recipient - Sponsored by STA Travel

Kathleen, a Study Abroad Advisor, wants to inspire students to study abroad as early as possible, including high school seniors. Kathleen believes that “guaranteeing a study abroad scholarship for later in their college career would allow students to plan early on many fronts, including applying for additional funding and intentionally choosing a program that fulfills academic requirements and personal/professional goals.”

Terrell Starr
Studied abroad in Ukraine

Travel Prize Recipient - Sponsored by IFSA-Butler

Terrell is a graduate of Philander Smith College, and a former Peace Corps Volunteer and Fulbright grantee. While completing journalistic research in the Ukraine as a Fulbright Scholar, Terrell researched African-Ukrainians’ self-perceptions of the African immigrant community in affiliation with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. Terrell’s research has been published in several American publications, and he is currently lecturing about his Fulbright experiences around the United States. Terrell works very hard to expose young people to study abroad opportunities, and states that he “has a Twitter following of nearly 20,000 and [] regularly tweets about study abroad—especially as a black person.” Terrell plans to inspire others to study abroad by hosting monthly Twitter chats and live video chats on Facebook with specific study abroad themes.

Vincenzo Volpe
Studied abroad in Denmark

Travel Prize Recipient - Sponsored by CET Academic Programs

Vincenzo inspires others to study abroad at Case Western Reserve University by leveraging social media platforms such as sharing photos on Facebook and Instagram, and utilizing the live stream function on Snapchat. In addition to his social media use, Vincenzo believes that it can be most effective to have a “one-on-one conversation with someone about how studying abroad can be the best choice that you make during your college career.”

#GoStudyAbroad GSA Student Campaign Nominate photo

Thank you for nominating students to #GoStudyAbroad

IIE will announce winners in mid-April.

IIE is trying to do something big – double the number of U.S. students who study abroad by the end of the decade.To make this work, we need your help!

IIE is calling on anyone who studied abroad to pay it forward by nominating college students to #GoStudyAbroad by the time they graduate. The goal is to mobilize at least 10,000 study abroad alumni to nominate students to #GoStudyAbroad. Individuals who nominate students to study abroad are eligible to win prizes such as a round-trip flight worth up to $1,500. The more students someone nominates, the better the chances to win.

The contest is now closed. Winners will be announced in mid-April.

Gilman Scholar Alumni Ashley Blackmon

Other Ways to Advocate for Study Abroad

Those who go abroad know the impact that an international experience can have on one's goals, motivations and perspectives, as well as the valuable skills that one walks away with. Therefore, study abroad alumni are the best advocates as they are a testament to why study abroad is important for success in today's world.

Just as each and every student is unique, each and every study abroad experience is also unique. Have you thought about what you learned from study abroad, and how it influenced where you are today?

As a study abroad alum, you can pledge to share lessons learned from your study abroad experiences on your campus, with your employer, family, and larger community:

  • Join the conversation at #GenerationStudyAbroad on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share how your study abroad experience has shaped your life;
  • Encourage your campus or alma mater to join the commitment and make a pledge to double their numbers;
  • Consider also supporting study abroad scholarships. Check out your campus' alumni office or donate to the IIE Study Abroad Fund.

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