Monday, January 23, 2023

Studying abroad celebrates and promotes a culture of open-mindedness and inclusivity by providing individuals with the opportunity to experience different cultures first-hand, helping to foster a sense of respect and understanding for different ways of life, as well as breaking down stereotypes. It also provides an excellent opportunity to consider one's personal identity in a new cultural context. 

The Diversity Ambassador Scholarship was created to support the diversification of UI students who study abroad by providing awards to students from diverse backgrounds and identities, many of whom are traditionally underrepresented on study abroad programs. 

Up to ten $1,000 Diversity Ambassador Scholarships are awarded for the spring and fall semesters or academic year, and up to ten scholarships are awarded for summer and winter sessions. 

“Besides the financial support the Diversity Ambassador Scholarship provides to students, what I enjoy are the open letters students write after their international experience,”  said Kristine Djerf, senior advisor and program coordinator for UI Study Abroad. “The letters are addressed to prospective study abroad students but really can be read and enjoyed by all in the UI community. Students write about their experiences from a very real, open, and reflective perspective and they are amazing to read.” 

Many of this year’s scholarship awardees will also serve as Study Abroad Correspondents, sharing glimpses of their experiences throughout the semester on Study Abroad’s Instagram channel

Meet the 2023 spring recipients: 

student sitting on rock

Adrian Acosta, a third-year astrophysics and economics major from Skokie, Illinois, is studying this spring on the Iowa Regents Semester in Scotland program.   

“What I am looking forward to the most is my first experience in Europe. Scotland is a beautiful country with a lot of great activities to do and amazing sights to see. Not to mention the trips I have planned while there. I am a big fan of traveling the world, so having the opportunity to go to Scotland for the first time, especially to continue my degree, is a really great opportunity and I look forward to the next six months there.” 


student in field of flowers

Erin Bughman, a third-year psychology major from Dubuque, Iowa, is studying this spring in England on the University of Kent Exchange.   

“I am looking forward to becoming fully immersed in a new culture for five months and traveling to nearby countries and cities I've always wanted to see in person. I'm excited for all the opportunities I have to explore places I've never been before!” 


student in glasses smiling

Ramayana Kazazic, a third-year international relations major and Spanish minor from Urbandale, Iowa, is studying this spring on the USAC Madrid program.   

“I decided to study abroad because I believe it is important to understand and experience other cultures, places, languages, and gain a global perspective. Being an international relations major, I wanted to take courses related to my studies in a different country to get a multicultural education and better understanding of the world outside of the United States. I believe studying abroad will prepare me for my future by helping me develop skills like the Spanish language, adaptability, communication, and cultural awareness.” 


student with glasses

Orion Little, a second-year international studies major from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is studying this spring on the USAC Montevideo program.  

“I wanted to pick a program that wasn't as traditional while still being ethical. Montevideo is both a literature city like here and Uruguay isn't often talked about in terms of study abroad or global north politics, both major reasons for my choice. Outside of it being a challenge and somewhere I'm incredibly excited about, I also really wanted to be able to practice my Spanish and translation skills while being able to thrive in an environment that allows me to explore my own identity and learn about the world beyond what I'm used to. I also wanted to pick a program that would allow me to step back and  enjoy my learning in all its forms, granting me the time and energy to focus on growing and learning while abroad.” 


student wearing in white shirt and black pants

Josephine Mbaye, a third-year environmental science major, pursuing an MAT in secondary education, from Slater, Iowa, is studying this spring on the SIT Chile: Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development program.   

“I am so excited to spend a semester in Chile! I am most looking forward to improving my Spanish skills, embracing a culture different than my own, and building connections with my homestay family, peers, and the local community. I hope this once-in-a-lifetime experience will inform the way I work as a future educator and the way I live my life.” 


student with long brown hair and white shirt

Lindsey Pieper, a second-year marketing major from Mahtomedi, Minnesota, is studying this spring on the American College of Thessaloniki program.   

“I am super excited to attend the American College of Thessaloniki in Greece due to its rich culture, multitude of historic sites, and wide variety of course offerings specifically for business students. I am most looking forward to traveling to the Greek Islands, trying authentic Greek foods, and meeting new friends!” 


student in front of green wall

Isabella Rivera, a third-year Spanish and world language education major from Ankeny, Iowa, is studying this spring on the ISEP Direct Exchange program in Valparaíso, Chile

“Studying abroad is important to me because it will give me the experience, in my work as a future educator, to highlight different countries and cultures of all types and demonstrate how powerful language can be in bridging the gaps between them.” 


student at music festival

Tessa Smith, a second-year cinema and journalism and mass communications major from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa, is studying this spring on the IES Rome Film & Media Studies program.  

“Rome is a culture and history rich city that places no limitations on creativity. This is why I am most excited to pursue all my interests, academic and extracurricular, while abroad. I love art, music, fashion, cinema, food, and literature. In Rome, all those things are celebrated and appreciated with a sincerity that you cannot often find in the United States. I am most excited to be inspired by my surroundings and to learn all I can from my experience.” 


student in red shirt smiling

Ethan Snee, a third-year communications and linguistics major from Iowa City, Iowa, is studying this spring on the CIEE Open Campus Rome program.   

“When first looking at colleges, I realized I didn't really have an opportunity to go to a school out of state. And when considering the in-state schools, the University of Iowa simply made the most sense for my major at the time. I was disappointed I wouldn't be able to establish my life outside of my hometown like many of my high school classmates were doing. But then I started researching the study abroad program here, and I knew immediately that was something I wanted to do. Studying abroad has given me this affordable opportunity to go explore the world that I never thought I would have. I'm so excited to be able to spend a semester learning the history, culture, and customs of a new country.” 



To help support scholarships and provide assistance for future study abroad opportunities, make a gift today


International Programs (IP) at the University of Iowa (UI) is committed to enriching the global experience of UI students, faculty, staff, and the general public by leading efforts to promote internationally oriented teaching, research, creative work, and community engagement.  IP provides support for international students and scholars, administers scholarships and assistance for students who study, intern, or do research abroad, and provides funding opportunities and grant-writing assistance for faculty engaged in international research. IP shares their stories through various media, and by hosting multiple public engagement activities each year.