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 March 27, 2019

Samekh Harris Reed named IES Ambassador of the Year

Samekh Harris Reed (They/Them/Theirs) | IES Abroad Tokyo | University of Rochester

"Studying abroad is terrifying but in a beautiful way. Even the thought of leaving home to travel to a country you have never been to before can make individuals nervous and hesitant, but where is the fun if you do not at least try to broaden your horizons?"

An alum of the IES Abroad Tokyo – Language and Culture program, Samekh used their role as an Ambassador to support students during predeparture as well as during re-entry.

Serving as a beacon of support, Samekh aimed to use their identities to increase awareness of study abroad to their peers. Samekh writes, “I spoke about all my identities and the intersectionalities of them…I found others who longed to go abroad but did not know how or were wary about traveling. In them I saw myself; someone who was eager to go but hesitant to leave their known comfort and travel to the unknown.”

To make study abroad accessible, Samekh worked with several on-campus partners to spread knowledge and awareness. Highlights of Samekh’s Ambassador involvements include organizing a study abroad panel sponsored by six campus departments and organizations, hosting pre-departure sessions regarding LGTBQ+ safety abroad, and most recently, contributing to the IES Abroad World of Difference Campaign.

In light of their experience as an Ambassador, Sam writes, “The unknown is intimidating, but no person has to go through the adventure alone. This is what I believe ambassadors are for: to offer a helping hand, to give that little nudge forward, and to pull the curtains back to say, “See? There’s nothing to be afraid of.” The first step to a journey is that, the first step. All it is is a leap of faith.”

Samekh received their Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Rochester and is currently pursuing a degree in Higher Education/Student Affairs Administration through the Warner School of Education at the University of Rochester. Upon completion of their master’s degree, Sam plans to go into the Education Abroad field as an advisor or student affairs coordinator.

Read what Sam has to say about common misconceptions tied to studying abroad in Tokyo. 

Congratulations Samekh!