Lindsey Pieper, marketing major and Global Access Ambassador (formerly Diversity Ambassador), participated in the American College of Thessaloniki program in spring 2023.
Tuesday, January 16, 2024
Lindsey Piepe

My experience while studying abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece, is one that is hard to replicate. I was the first of my family to spend a long period of time abroad and that came with a lot of uncertainty. I went into study abroad with no close connections, but I felt ready for the adventure ahead of me. Specifically, I was unsure how I was going to be perceived as a Black and Native American woman, but to my surprise, Greece had more diversity than I imagined, and I felt very accepted. 

Greece, along with other countries that I traveled to during my study abroad semester, allowed me to experience others’ perspectives more than I had thought possible. Also, I studied at the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), and it had students from many different countries. In the classroom, I made connections with students from Albania, Japan, Germany, Greece, and many other countries spanning across Europe and Asia. Additionally, the ACT program is offered across the United States, so I met people from Rutgers University, Colorado Mesa, and Northeastern, along with many other universities. The friends I made along the trip spanned from all different backgrounds and I was able to learn a lot about different cultures and religions when I was abroad. These friendships were vital to my study abroad experience as we were able to learn from each other about our cultures and how they affect our daily lives. I am extremely thankful that I found such a great support system while abroad that have now turned into lifelong friendships. 

Studying abroad opened so many opportunities to reflect on my identity, but also others’ experiences with their identities which I had not been exposed to previously. I am now more confident in my identity than ever before and feel ready to travel anywhere in the world. I am super grateful for my four months spent in Thessaloniki and I wish I could do it all over again!


The Global Access Ambassador Scholarship (formerly Diversity Ambassador) program provides awards to study abroad for a summer, semester, or academic year. The scholarships are intended to support students who study abroad with the intent to serve as Global Access Ambassadors upon return to the UI campus. Upon completion of the study abroad program and return to UI, award recipients are asked to submit a photo and an open letter to prospective students or suggest an alternate means of sharing with prospective students.

Please note that the opinions and views expressed by ambassadors are solely those of the students and do not reflect or represent the views of International Programs or the University of Iowa.


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.