/stories/2019/05/global-ambassadors-promote-global-learning-to-peers

Global ambassadors promote global learning to peers

Global Ambassador Elizabeth "Lizzie" Knox, a recent gradute from the School of Communication, studied at the American University of Paris during her sophomore year. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami
By Ashley A. Williams

Global Ambassador Elizabeth "Lizzie" Knox, a recent gradute from the School of Communication, studied at the American University of Paris during her sophomore year. Photo: TJ Lievonen/University of Miami

Global ambassadors promote global learning to peers

By Ashley A. Williams
Undergraduate students who are part of the Global Ambassadors program draw on their experience to urge fellow students to participate in study abroad.

Imagine seeing the world and getting college credit for it. Then once you’re back at the University of Miami, you have a platform to tell others about the experience.

That’s the concept behind the Global Ambassadors program offered through the Office of Study Abroad. Each year about 30 undergraduates are selected to join the program, where students work together to create materials to promote study abroad and attract students to take part.

“We have learned that students love and enjoy getting firsthand experiences from other students,” said Tara George, program coordinator in the Office of Study Abroad.  

Global Ambassadors team coordinator Elizabeth “Lizzie” Knox has been fortunate enough to travel extensively since she was young thanks to her father, who is a photographer. During her sophomore year, she studied at the American University of Paris.

“When I was 12, my dad took my sister and I to Paris and stayed in an apartment and got to really experience life there,” said Knox, who recently received her bachelor’s degree in public relations and media management. “I think that experience had a big impact on me, and eight years later I wanted to go back and I got the opportunity through study abroad.”

Within the Global Ambassador program everyone is a leader. Ambassadors promote the program at events and in classroom visits, build connections through peer advising, and helping fellow students to see that studying internationally is possible.

“I have so many friends that have told me that they regret not studying abroad and I wish that I could have convinced them more to do it,” said Knox, who was an ambassador for two years. “It’s really nice talking to students who still have the chance to go abroad and I get to be a part of helping them make that decision. I’ve met a lot of people who have concerns—mainly financial. But, I’m here to tell them that it’s not out of reach.”

Ambassadors attend mandatory training where they are provided with resources and information to pass along. Throughout their time in the program they also receive professional development.

Erika Quinonez, assistant director of international service, works firsthand with the ambassadors to ensure they gain leadership, public-speaking skills, and public relations experience. Additionally, there is a workshop for the ambassadors to offer advice on including their study abroad experience on their resumes.

“Studying abroad does influence your academic and career path. It enhances you,” said Quinonez. “Whether it’s indirect or direct there is definitely a correlation.”

Starting in August, Knox will be a full-time employee with a multinational fast food holding company based in Miami.

“The highlight and one of the really cool things about being a GA has been meeting other people who have gone abroad,” said Knox, who enjoyed reliving her experience in Paris with others. “It’s also great to tell others about it so that they can join, too.”

Once the program concludes, ambassadors receive a certificate for student leadership at their end of the year luncheon.

“The events that are hosted by the Office of Study Abroad are really cool and an added bonus to being a GA,” said Knox. “Anyone who is interested should join.”

Are you interested in becoming a Global Ambassador? Applications for the 2019-2020 academic year are available here. For more information about the Global Ambassadors Program at the University of Miami, visit the Office of Study Abroad website.