TLU Student Receives International Education Award

February 16, 2015

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Alexandria Pruden is recipient of the Michael Owens’ NAFSA Award for Young Professionals, an award open to all students who work through the Institute For Study Abroad’s (IFSA-Butler) Student Ambassador Program. Based on her essay submissions and activities performed as a global student ambassador, the junior sociology major was chosen by the scholarship committee to be this year’s winner.

In May, Pruden will receive an all expenses paid trip to the NAFSA Association of International Educators conference in Boston, Mass. NAFSA is one of the country’s top professional organizations for all aspects of international education and the national conference typically has an attendance of approximately 10,000. While there, she will have opportunities to attend professional sessions, assist with the IFSA-Butler table and programming during the exhibit, and network with professionals in the international education field.

“Winning this award has really shown me that studying abroad is worth so much more than I could have ever imagined,” Pruden said.” “First, the ambassador program has helped me work on putting study abroad in the best light possible. It was a wonderful experience and The IFSA-Butler staff has been great through all of it. I’m really excited for the networking opportunities with people from all over the world that this conference will provide. This experience will show me, on a broader scale, what the international education world is about. I love the department here at TLU and I’m excited to see how other schools and organizations run their international education programs.”

TLU Director of International Education, Charla Bailey, said students like Pruden lead by example. “Alexandria has been, and continues to be, an excellent ambassador not only for IFSA-Butler and Northern Ireland but for TLU and study abroad in general,” Bailey said. “Being selected for the Michael Owens’ NAFSA Award for Young Professionals award is a great achievement and attending the NAFSA—Association of International Educators national conference will be a wonderful professional opportunity for Alexandria. Since she is considering this field as her career path, attending the conference will be a fabulous learning and networking opportunity.”

Pruden plans on pursuing a master’s degree in higher education with a focus on international education, working with university students to achieve their abroad goals.

“I’d also like to work with students from other countries and with IFSA-Butler more,” Pruden said. “IFSA-Butler has a great program and I’ll always be proud to be one of their alumni. Anything I can do to give back to them would be perfect for me, here or around the world.”

Pruden also completed a spring 2014 semester in Belfast, Ireland through TLU’s study abroad partner, IFSA-Butler. After returning to campus, she was chosen to be a global student ambassador starting the fall 2014 term. As an ambassador, she will help manage the @ifsabutler Instagram account for a week, spotlighting the Ireland and Northern Ireland programs, and host a TLU campus event during the spring 2015 semester.

She encourages students to seek out study abroad opportunities, pointing out the benefits it can provide on graduate school and job applications.

“Studying abroad shows initiative that recruiters like to see,” Pruden said. “People are constantly saying that you will never get a chance like this again and it’s true. Living in a different country, experiencing the culture while attending classes, and learning about its history is a unique experience. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Whether it’s two weeks, a whole year, or anything in between, I recommend going. It’ll get you outside of your comfort zone.”

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