Alumni

Meet the AIFS Alumni Ambassadors

Introducing the current AIFS Alumni Ambassadors! These students recently studied abroad with AIFS and are back on campus sharing their experiences and talking to students who are considering study abroad.

If you would like to contact one of the Ambassadors to talk about studying abroad, please email alumni@aifs.com.

Meet our previous Alumni Ambassadors

A I F S ambassador Sirajul Momin Mustafa
  • Sirajul Momin Mustafa
  • Howard University
  • Limerick, Ireland
  • Fall-Spring 2019

Hello everyone, I am Mustafa and I am from Dhaka, Bangladesh. I am a Senior at Howard University. I studied abroad to find my niche, and I found it among a diverse set of people. I thrive amongst people who come together based on their cultural curiosity and willingness to explore. This was the best way to put my impulsive nature to good use. Studying abroad was the best time of my life because not only did I find my confidence but also I learned how to live comfortably with discomfort. I really do believe that studying abroad allowed me to understand myself and come out of the curtain I was hiding behind. This small but euphoric journey towards self-growth is a collection of life-changing experiences and amazing people that I will cherish for life.

“We can't choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there.” ~ Stephen Chbosky

A I F S ambassador Caoilin Rice
  • Caoilin Rice
  • University of Dayton
  • Rome, Italy
  • Fall 2019

Ciao!! My name is Caoilin Rice and I am a senior at University of Dayton. I am majoring in communications management and minoring in marketing. I am the Marketing Director for the Campus Activities Board and work with Campus Recreation as well. I had the wonderful opportunity to study in Rome, Italy in the fall of 2019 and am happy to say that my experience abroad has shaped who I am today! I was influenced by my Mom who lived in Rome after she graduated college and I grew up hearing all the amazing things the city had to offer. I never let myself really consider studying abroad because I thought it was too big of a move for me, but when I did my research, I realized it was an experience that I couldn’t pass up. During my time abroad I became more dependable, confident and my eyes were opened wide to everything that the world has to offer. I was able to travel to places I had only seen on social media and meet people I would have never crossed paths with. The friends I made with AIFS are some that I will bring along with me for the rest of my life. Living in a different country was such an unmatched life changing experience I hope to encourage others to make the same choice I did and study abroad.

“Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

A I F S ambassador Madison Breeding
  • Madison Breeding
  • Texas A&M University
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Spring 2020

Howdy! My name is Madison Breeding and I am a senior at Texas A&M University with a major in International Studies - Politics & Diplomacy, and a minor in Spanish. I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the Spring 2020 semester where I met some of the most incredible people, improved my Spanish skills, and ate some of the best empanadas I’ve had in my life. I was able to travel to Iguazu Falls, learned tango, and meet so many new friends. My time in Buenos Aires was cut short due to COVID-19, but I continued my study abroad experience at the University of Belgrano online, and was still able to learn so much about the culture. The weeks I had in person and the semester I completed online taught me about accepting life as is, problem-solving, and finding positive experiences amidst difficult times. I love traveling and meeting new people, and as an AIFS Alumni Ambassador I hope to make travel and study abroad more accessible to all students! I truly believe traveling can change a person’s perspective of humanity for the better. I can’t wait to go back to Buenos Aires safely in the future and reconnect with people who made my experience incredible.

“Simple exchanges can break walls down between us, for when people come together and speak to one another and share a common experience, then their common humanity is revealed.” ~ Barack Obama

A I F S ambassador Lauren Hamma
  • Lauren Hamma
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • Salzburg , Austria
  • Fall 2019

Hallo allerseits! My name is Lauren Hamma and I’m a fourth year Health and Society major at The University of Texas at Austin, with double minors in Government and German. I studied abroad with AIFS during the Fall 2019 semester in Salzburg, Austria. It was my first time being out of the country, and I can say with complete conviction that it was the single best decision I’ve ever made for myself! Studying abroad helped me grow as a person in countless ways, and opened my eyes to so many different cultures, perspectives, and experiences! My favorite part of being abroad was the feeling that every single place I went to presented me with the opportunity to learn from the people and history around me, which made every day feel like an adventure. I became an Ambassador to help expand access to study abroad experiences, and to persuade prospective students to take the leap of faith that will end up changing their lives!

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if we only seek them with our eyes open” ~ Jawaharial Nehru

A I F S ambassador Edlecia Ward
  • Edlecia Ward
  • Ball State University
  • San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Summer 2019

Pura Vida! I’m Lele, I am a senior at Ball State University with a Major in Exercise Science and a concentration in Physical Therapy. Last year I decided to study abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica because of the research I did and how beautiful the country looked! I decided to go through AIFS because I was that student walking through campus and seen the tabeling and flyers posted everywhere. Studying abroad was one of the best decisions I made and doing it through AIFS was a blessing. I met so many new people and friends that I still talk to today! Thank you AIFS! I am excited to share my experience and encourage others to go abroad because it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

“If it were easy, everyone would do it” ~ Dr. Kelly Chaney

A I F S ambassador Jessica Williams
  • Jessica Williams
  • University of Rhode Island
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Spring 2020

Dobrý den! My name is Jessica, but feel free to call me Jess, and I’m going into my senior year at the University of Rhode Island. I’m currently double majoring in psychology and criminal justice, with a concentration in health psychology and a minor in thanatology. This past spring semester I studied in Prague, Czech Republic at Charles University, where I immediately fell in love with the charm and history of this beautiful city. I’ve had the dream of studying abroad for as long as I can remember, so finally being able to do so has pushed me to inspire others to take part in this amazing experience. While in Prague I was able to form lifelong friendships with people throughout the world, as well as grow a deeper appreciation and understanding of the culture I was immersed in. Although my time abroad was cut short, it has helped me to live more in the present moment because you really never know what life might throw your way. My experience has helped me personally grow in so many ways, but most importantly has helped me step out of my comfort zone and take greater risks in my life.

“Be the reason someone feels seen, heard, and supported by the whole universe” ~ Cleo Wade

A I F S ambassador Gabriella DeAngelis
  • Gabriella DeAngelis
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Spring 2020

Ahoj everyone! My name is Gabby and I am a junior at Worcester State University. I am a Communications major with a minor in Theatre. I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic during Spring 2020. The cobble stones streets and towering castles brought me memories and friendships of a lifetime. With our time in Prague being cut short due Covid-19, I learned to appreciate every day to the fullest because you never know what tomorrow will bring. I will never forget the many cups of espresso shared among friends and the nights filled with live music and laughter which echoed throughout the city. I encourage everyone to study abroad and go out of their comfort zone to expand their view of the world. I cannot wait to travel again soon and one day return to Prague with the people who made my experience so wonderful.

“Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” ~ Frida Kahlo

A I F S ambassador Catherine Wheatley
  • Catherine Wheatley
  • Adelphi University
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Spring 2020

Ahoj everyone! My name is Cat and I am entering my senior year at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. I am majoring in political science and minoring in history. My time abroad in Prague this past semester was a very unique experience that I would not trade for the world. While traveling has always been a passion of mine, living in a new country was an entirely new realm for me. I truly fell in love with the rich and living history of Prague and the culture of the Czech people. When coronavirus began to spread throughout Europe, many students were sent home after their programs were suspended, but I decided that the best decision for me was to remain in Prague. By staying in Prague during such an uncertain time, I was able to really see how different histories and different cultures shape varied reactions to one, global problem. While back home my friends and family were dealing with a global pandemic in one way, the city that I was living in was reacting in a very contrasting way, allowing me to see a variation of cultural differences that normally would not have been highlighted during a semester abroad. I cherish every moment of my time abroad that I was able to spend exploring the stunning cobblestone streets of the Bohemian city of Prague and the surrounding cities of the Czech Republic just as much as the moments I spent glued to my laptop following the seemingly ever-changing rules regarding masks, gatherings, and shops opening because, through it all, I was able to fully immerse myself into a different culture and fully connect with a new group of people.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

A I F S ambassador Emma Williams
  • Emma Williams
  • Drake University
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Spring 2020

Hello! I am Emma, a junior with a double major in international relations and sociology at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. All of the courses I was taking while studying in Prague this past spring were related to my majors. On campus along with being an AIFS Alumni Ambassador, I am involved in the Student Activities Board and a social sorority, along with giving tours around campus and working a job on campus. I have had the opportunity to go abroad for a (slightly shortened) semester with AIFS and also for a shorter faculty led program to Uganda in the summer of 2019. Since studying abroad I have gained an appreciation for exploring and learning about cultures that differ from my own and want to continue that into my future career. Like many of you, COVID-19 shortened my abroad experience this past spring, but the two months I got in Prague were just as amazing and rewarding. I was able to take a solo trip by myself to Vienna, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia and make friends and memories that I will always cherish. I plan on going abroad again soon to study, work, or just travel!

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” ~ Maya Angelou

A I F S ambassador Carla Barnes
  • Carla Barnes
  • Texas Tech University
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Summer 2019

Dobrý den! My name is Carla Barnes and I am currently a junior at Texas Tech University studying Political Science! I am a proud member of Alpha Chi Omega, as well as a study abroad peer advisor on campus at the International Culture Center! While studying abroad in Prague, I had the amazing opportunity to meet the U.S. Ambassador to Czech Republic and other diplomats! The journey has changed my life for the better and I am so thankful that AIFS has granted me such amazing opportunities! As an AIFS Alumni Ambassador, I hope to shine a bright light upon studying abroad by guiding others through the process so that they will have something amazing to look back on. “If not now, then when?” Life is too short as we know living through a pandemic and time is precious. I hope that studying abroad in the near future will open so many grand opportunities and doors for others as it has for me!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ attributed to St. Augustine

A I F S ambassador Adrianna Waters
  • Adrianna Waters
  • Western Kentucky University
  • London, England
  • Summer 2019

Hi, everyone! My name is Adrianna, and I am a senior at Western Kentucky University majoring in English with a creative writing concentration and minoring in professional writing and psychology, which is a mouthful of words to convey that I love storytelling in all its forms. As someone who has anxiety with crowds, public transportation, change, and directions, studying abroad in London for six weeks seemed more like a daydream than a reality. When I finally found the courage to study abroad, however, I worked through these stressors and gained the confidence to explore London both with friends and by myself. In London, I saw musicals and plays at the West End, visited locations important to some of my favorite stories, and learned about history and culture in several museums or historical sites. I love the art of storytelling, and I feed this love through my fiction and playwriting, blog writing, and tutoring.

“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning” ~ Gloria Steinem

A I F S ambassador Morgan Tracey
  • Morgan Tracey
  • Miami University
  • London, England
  • Spring 2020

Hi! My name is Morgan Tracey and I am a senior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I am a digital marketing major with a minor in entrepreneurship! I studied abroad with AIFS during the spring 2020 semester in London England. Studying abroad gave me the opportunity to experience new cultures while gaining an education. Each day abroad I was forced to step out of my comfort zone and in turn gain some of the most amazing experiences. I am so thankful to have gotten to study abroad through AIFS and want to share my experiences with other students! A quote that I try to live by every day especially while abroad is “do one thing a day that scares you.” Whether it is trying a new food or traveling to an unfamiliar place, studying abroad is full of ‘scary’ things that lead to the most amazing memories.

A I F S ambassador Alexis Voisard
  • Alexis Voisard
  • Wright State University
  • London, England
  • Fall 2019

Hello, everyone! I am a senior at Wright State University, and I am majoring in English with concentrations in creative writing and professional writing in addition to minoring in music and Spanish. I was that person who thought I would never be able to afford to study abroad, but my program fees were 75% covered by financial aid and scholarships! I’ve been obsessed with British culture for a long time, and I knew the AIFS semester-long program was the perfect amount of time to soak up experiences and memories while also getting to travel to 6 other countries in Europe on fun weekend trips! My classes were unlike those offered at my home institution. Every week, I went on field trips led by expert faculty, like seeing where Shakespeare’s original Globe theatre was built, and I never thought I would receive credit for watching Doctor Who or discussing Harry Potter in my British Fantasy Writing class! I also found unexpected opportunities for professional development, including creating digital content for GBMag and presenting a paper at the annual fantasy conference hosted by Richmond and Northampton Universities. Throughout my time abroad, I gained so much confidence, and I was totally surprised at how comfortable I felt in London from the moment I landed. AIFS was truly supportive of my entire journey, and I am excited to join the Alumni Ambassador team to give back to AIFS for giving me the best four months of my life and to help future students overcome barriers and commit to study abroad!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined” ~ Henry David Thoreau

A I F S ambassador Alyssa Tolentino
  • Alyssa Tolentino
  • Seton Hall University
  • Grenoble, France
  • Spring 2020

Bonjour! My name is Alyssa Tolentino and I am a senior at Seton Hall University where I am studying Diplomacy and International Relations with a double major in Modern Languages and a minor in Economics. One thing I knew I needed to do during my four years of college was study abroad and in the spring of 2020, I was able to do so through AIFS! I studied at the Université Grenoble Alpes in Grenoble, France, surrounded by the stunning views of the French Alps. Every day was an opportunity to learn and grow. Not only was I able to improve my French, but I also learned more about myself by opening myself up to new experiences and new cultures. The most valuable lesson I’ve taken home with me after studying abroad is to seize every single moment and live it to its fullest. As an AIFS Alumni Ambassador, I hope to encourage students to set off on their own adventure of a lifetime!

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough” ~ Mae West

A I F S ambassador Rogelio Larios
  • Rogelio Larios
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • Paris, France
  • J-Term 2020

Salut, toute le monde! I’m Rogelio, a Senior Sociology major and double minoring in Psychology and Criminal Justice. I am currently attending California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson California (20 min away from Los Angeles). When I was 14, I had a goal that one day, I was going to go to another part of the world and become part of a new culture and create tons of memories. Thanks to AIFS, my goal came true since I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Paris France during the J-Term. I had the opportunity to have class in famous sites that I only ever saw in pictures. It’s quite amazing that those unique things you see in, one day you’ll be taking a picture with it. Being a first generation college student and as well leaving the United States for the first time, brought me to assumptions that I was not going to complete this goal. However, with AIFS, they provided a smooth transition and the support I needed. Overall, during my stay, I enjoyed my time abroad, I made new friendships, lived in a different part of the world, spoke with locals all in French, and got outside my comfort zone. I am here to share my experience as well as mentor anyone who is under the same boat as me. At the end, all I can say is Merci Beaucoup Paris!

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it” ~ William Artur Ward

A I F S ambassador Emma Crowder
  • Emma Crowder
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • Cannes, France
  • Fall 2019- Spring 2020

Bonjour à tous! My name is Emma Crowder, and I’m a senior at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, working toward my degree in Philosophy and my minors in Cognitive Studies, French and Psychology. I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad with AIFS for both the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters in Cannes, France. Studying in another country was something I had always wanted to do, but now that I’ve done it, I realize that I didn’t just study in another country. I made a home there. I met some truly amazing people who have changed my life for the better. I met a new language that taught me a different way to think and communicate, and I met a new part of myself that has completed who I am. I’m thankful for this chance to have learned to have fun with struggle and to take life day by day. My experience in France was more than I could have ever asked for. I’m looking forward to helping other students find their nests overseas. Chloé, an incredible French woman whom I love dearly, taught me a French phrase that will stick with me forever: “Petit à petit, l'oiseau fait son nid.” (“Little by little, the bird builds its nest.”)

A I F S ambassador Whitney Wrolson
  • Whitney Wrolson
  • University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
  • Grenoble, France
  • Spring 2020

Bonjour tout le monde! My name is Whitney Wrolson and I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. I am currently majoring in General Management with an emphasis in Sports Management, and minoring in French! I studied abroad in Grenoble, France at the Université Grenoble Alpes where I took the Intensive French Language course. This class helped improve my French immensely because I had it for four hours a day, five days a week, and then on top of that, I went home to a host family where I continued to speak French! My experience was filled with seeing the world, making new friends, eating LOTS of gelato, staring at the French Alps, and learning that I am capable of anything I put my mind to (like going halfway across the world by myself!). I am so thankful for AIFS because it allowed me to go after a dream I didn’t know I had (aka to study abroad). My goal as an AIFS Ambassador is to encourage students to take the leap and go for it because why live life with regrets? A quote that I learned from my host family’s friend was “le goût de revenez-y”, which I like to translate as “wanting more” or “the feeling of home”. I hope to keep this quote with me to remind myself to always be wanderlust, and always see the world!

A I F S ambassador Sara Williams
  • Sara Williams
  • West Chester University
  • Grenoble, France
  • Fall 2019

Coucou! My name is Sara Williams and I’m a senior at West Chester University, double majoring in International Business and French. I knew I wanted to study abroad since high school and in college, I received wonderful guidance from both AIFS and my campus’ study abroad office which led me to live four transformative and exhilarating months in Grenoble, France. I left for France with no expectations and came home with experiences and insight that continually satisfy and challenge my intentional and inquisitive mentality. Almost a year later and I am still reminded of my time abroad nearly every day, and each time, I am filled with nostalgia and eagerness to return one day. I’m excited to be a resource this upcoming year for anyone who wants to capitalize on an abroad experience and hope that my adventures can help you navigate what program would be the best fit for you!

“Expect nothing, appreciate everything”

A I F S ambassador Sadie MacKinnon
  • Sadie MacKinnon
  • Champlain College
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Fall 2019

Hi folks! My name is Sadie MacKinnon and I'm an International Business major with a Foreign Language minor (in German and Mandarin) at Champlain College in Vermont. I'm originally from Boston and I studied in Berlin, which had been my main goal ever since I began taking German in school when I was fourteen. I lived with a fabulous host family who treated me like their own daughter, traveled solo through Germany, and came away fluent in the language. But the most important part of my time abroad was that it solidified my passion for international education itself. I want to make the opportunity that I had possible for as many students as I can— hopefully as a future career! I’m still dreaming of eating Käsespätzle and wandering around Mauerpark, but in the meantime, I’m eager to help out. In that spirit, I’ll leave you with my favorite words painted on the East Side Gallery wall in Berlin: “Viele kleine Leute die in vielen kleinen Orten viele kleine Dinge tun, können die Gesicht der Welt verändern.” or “Many small people who in many small places do many small things, can change the face of the world.”

A I F S ambassador Patrick Bouthillette
  • Patrick Bouthillette
  • Curry College
  • Florence, Italy
  • Spring 2020

Buongiorno a tutti! My name is Patrick Bouthillette and I am a senior at Curry College studying Communication with a concentration in Television/Broadcast Journalism. I was captivated by the idea of studying abroad ever since I went on a faculty-led trip to France my senior year of high school, after that I could not wait to have the chance to travel again. I studied abroad with AIFS in Spring 2020 and it was truly the most incredible experience. I grew so much through my experience abroad by being able to learn a foreign language, making amazing friends that live throughout the U.S. that I still keep in touch with and trying so many different and new types of food! My favorite experience from abroad has to either be the faculty-led weekend trip to Venice or the Italian cooking class where I learned how to make homemade ravioli and tiramisu and I got to take the recipe home to the U.S! My biggest advice to everyone who plans on studying abroad: Enjoy every moment you’re abroad it goes by way too fast, and (safely) expand your comfort zone!I cannot wait to be able to go back to travel through Europe again and visit my second home: Florence!

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal” ~ Paul Coelho

A I F S ambassador Dmitry Tereshenko
  • Dmitry Tereshenko
  • UNC Charlotte
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Spring 2019

My name is Dmitry Tereshenko and I’m from Concord, NC. I’m a junior at UNC Charlotte pursuing majors in English and Anthropology and minors in Linguistics and Russian Studies. I’ve wanted to study abroad and see the world since the beginning of high school. Last summer, I studied abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa and I just finished a semester in St. Petersburg, Russia with AIFS, and let me tell you, I don’t think I will ever complain about cold weather in North Carolina ever again! One of my favorite moments from Russia was when a couple of classmates and I took a weekend trip up to Murmansk (the largest city in the Arctic Circle) to hunt down the Aurora Borealis – and we found them! – where the temperature got as low as -24ºC (-12ºF)!! I decided to study abroad in Russia to work on improving my Russian and to connect some with my ethnic Ukrainian heritage. Being and living in the culture that my dad grew up in was an incredible experience that helped me become closer with a part of myself. I even met family which was something I never expected when I bought my plane tickets and flew myself across the world!

“Every person has something meaningful to say in the conversation of life.” ~ Bryant McGill

A I F S ambassador Laurel Tollison
  • Laurel Tollison
  • Mississippi State University
  • St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Spring 2020

My name is Laurel Tollison and I am a senior at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi! I am a history major with an interest in Russian history. I studied abroad in the Spring Semester 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia with AIFS! AIFS gave me the experience to learn and grow all while making memories and friends that will last a lifetime. While I was in Russia, I was pushed everyday to be the best version of myself. I was able to learn Russia, teach English to Russian teenagers, volunteer at the Hermitage, make friends from all over the world, and try the best Uzbeki and Georgian food! I am truly grateful for the time I had in Russia and the way it forced me out of my comfort zone! I strongly believe everyone should have the opportunity to study abroad in their life and should be given all the tools to make that opportunity possible for them. My favorite movie series growing up was the Rocky movie series. You can see that since my favorite quote is from that movie series.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” ~ Maya Angelou

A I F S ambassador Olivia Becker
  • Olivia Becker
  • California Lutheran University
  • Granada, Spain
  • Spring 2019

Hi there! My name is Olivia and I’m a junior at California Lutheran University. I’m studying to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages, which I got to do in the form of an internship in an elementary school during my Spring 2019 semester in Granada! In addition to this priceless professional experience, my Spanish skills improved a ton while abroad by practicing every day with my host family, taking four classes in Spanish, and hanging out with new Spanish friends. I made a social life out of going to linguistic intercambios: organized language exchanges at bars. By the end of the semester, I felt that I had created a second life for myself because I felt so comfortable with the people and places I had come to know in Granada. That’s why I tattooed the quote “viajar es vivir dos veces,” which means “to travel is to live two times,” on my back during my last week in Granada. I feel like I packed a lifetime of adventures into my four months of living in Spain. I hope I can persuade everyone I come into contact with as an Alumni Ambassador to see the value in studying abroad to learn about a foreign culture, and consequently, about themselves!

A I F S ambassador Alina Zárate
  • Alina Zárate
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Granada, Spain
  • Fall 2018

¡Hola a todos! My name is Alina Zárate and I am a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley and will be majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies. My first study abroad experience with AIFS was when I was 10 years old in Florence, Italy thanks to my parents who headed a faculty-led program. Since then I have participated in AIFS programs five other times with my most recent experience being the Fall 2018 semester in Granada, Spain. Travel has always been central to my life and while every time abroad adds value, my decision to take a Gap Year with AIFS provided unique experiences that I would not have found alone. In Spain, I made strong connections with my host family, friends, and professors, played sports, volunteered within the city of Granada, took workshop courses, and completely immersed myself in the language and culture of my host country because of AIFS. I hope that as an AIFS Ambassador I can encourage other students to go abroad and see the value of an immersive program like AIFS.

“Vacation is a noun, Travel is a verb. Be a Traveler!” ~ M. Fitzgibbons

A I F S ambassador Laura Viarengo
  • Laura Viarengo
  • University of California, Irvine
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Fall 2018

Hi everyone!! My name is Laura Viarengo and I am a third year Business Administration major at the University of California, Irvine! Fall semester of 2018 I went abroad with AIFS and got to live in Barcelona, Spain for four life-changing months. Going abroad was one of the best decisions I ever made and allowed me to travel, meet amazing new people, and experience so many new cultures. Living in Barcelona and being able to experience Spanish culture firsthand was amazing and I miss it more and more everyday. I loved being able to take the metro all around the city after school and explore beautiful, historical sites all around me. I cannot wait for my next adventure abroad and look forward to returning to Barcelona in the future and reminiscing the wonderful city I got to live in when I studied abroad.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” ~ Mark Twain

A I F S ambassador Natalie Gately
  • Natalie Gately
  • The University of South Carolina
  • Salamanca, Spain
  • Spring 2020

Hola a todos! My name is Natalie Gately and I am a senior at the University of South Carolina where I am studying Marketing with a concentration in Business Analytics and a minor in Spanish. I spent my Spring 2020 semester at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain, and have loved every minute of it. Staying with a host family really enhanced my time abroad, and I love that even though the program is over I am still connected with my host family and know that when I return to Salamanca they’ll welcome me with open arms. I loved attending the world's third oldest university still in operation and immersing myself in Salamanca’s rich history and culture. I have learned and grown so much from my time abroad and want to help guide others on their path to study abroad. Thank you AIFS for this life changing experience!

“You’ll never get anywhere if you go about what-iffing like that.” ~ Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

A I F S ambassador Kymonie Thomas-Nagil
  • Kymonie Thomas-Nagil
  • Rowan University
  • Granada, Spain
  • Fall 2019

Hola todos! My name Kymonie Thomas-Nagil and I am beginning my fourth year at Rowan University as a Community and Environmental Planning major, with minors in International Studies and Sustainable Building as well as a Certificate of Undergraduate Study in Spanish. As a first generation college student the dream of studying abroad, at that time, was nothing more than a dream to me. It wasn’t until I truly understood, that no one would make these dreams come true for me. So from that moment forward, I vowed to myself, not to allow fear of the unknown and to control me and stand in my path of success. Fortunately, I made that dream become a reality, the fall semester of my Junior year when I studied in Granada, Spain. While abroad I began to grow within myself while making amazing friends and struggling with my Spanish skills at the same time. After countless moments of embarrassment and fails in Tapas bar, due to my little understanding of Spanish. I continued to persevere through all of my frustrations day in and day out, I was able to finish off my semester more fluent and much greater understanding of the language. With that being said, I hope to inspire other students who see themselves within me. I have one wish for you, and that is to never give up on your dreams and stay true to yourself throughout that journey.

“...the only distinguishing quality from me and whoever is going through this. Is that I ain’t quit, I went through every emotion to pursue what I’m doing...That's why I call my thing the marathon” ~ Nipsey Hussle

A I F S ambassador Rachel Ransom
  • Rachel Ransom
  • Hampton University
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Spring 2020

Hello everyone! My name is Rachel Ransom and I am a 4th year student in the 5-Year MBA Program at Hampton University. On campus I am involved in my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and the Admissions Office as a student recruiter. I studied abroad with AIFS during the Spring 2020 semester in Barcelona, Spain. While abroad I studied International Business. The cultural exposure that I gained from my experience has changed my life, how I view the world and what I wish to accomplish in the future. I am excited to encourage students to gain similar cultural experiences and more than happy to help anyone become more comfortable engaging with a foreign environment.

“Live in the moment.”

A I F S ambassador Natalie Joelle Peters
  • Natalie Joelle Peters
  • California Baptist University
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Fall 2019

Hi Guys! My name is Natalie Joelle Peters and I am about to be a senior at California Baptist University, currently majoring in marketing and minoring in graphic design. I had always wanted to go abroad since I was little because I just love traveling and having new experiences. Last fall, that dream finally came true. Having my study abroad experience through AIFS was one of the best things I could have done. It had been my first time in Europe and through AIFS and the other peers in my group, I felt safe and cared for through people such as my Resident Director and her staff. There were also so many cultural immersions and small trips throughout the semester that really allowed me to see a part of Barcelona that I did not think about. I had so many wonderful experiences and was able to learn so much about the world around me as well as myself! I came back a new person who was way more bold, adventurous and in love with the journey of life rather than just the destination. I miss Spain and the people I met there every day! I look forward to the day I can return to that beautiful place and make more memories. I am so excited to be a part of this program so that I will be able to aid others in having one of the most fulfilling experiences of their lives.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

A I F S ambassador Hayley Martinez
  • Hayley Martinez
  • Washington State University
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Spring 2020

Hola! My name is Hayley Martinez and I am a senior at Washington State University majoring in Journalism and Media Production. I have wanted to study abroad for as long as I can remember and I am so happy that I chose to study in Barcelona, Spain in Spring 2020. Travelling has always been a passion of mine, so getting to live in Barcelona was like a dream come true for me. Not only did I fall in love with the easy-going lifestyle in Spain, but I made amazing friendships that I will cherish forever. One of my favorite things about living in Barcelona was how easy it was to navigate the whole city through the metro. We could quickly go from getting tapas in the heart of the city to watching the sunset on the beach. While studying at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, I got to learn so much about how different cultures communicate in my Intercultural Communication class. I learned the importance of gaining intercultural competence and how useful it will be in my future. I always felt safe and comfortable knowing that there were people in the AIFS office in Barcelona there to help me with anything. Studying abroad helped me become a more confident person and showed me the importance of living in the moment. This experience changed my life for the better and I don’t think I will ever stop thinking about all the amazing memories I made living in Barcelona! I am so excited to help future students navigate this experience and help them choose the perfect program.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ attributed to St. Augustine