Alumni Spotlight: Liza Maizel


Liza Maizel is a 21 year old from New Milford, Connecticut. She is currently a Senior at the University of Rochester, in Rochester New York, studying Psychology and Spanish. She plays university lacrosse, enjoys sports, traveling, movies, and hanging out with friends and family.

Why did you decide to study abroad with IES?

Liza: I decided to study abroad with IES Abroad because it seemed to offer the best program for me. I knew I wanted to study in Barcelona, Spain, and when I went to the career center at my school they advised me to go through IES. I was informed that I could easily transfer my grades and credits for classes, so that was very reassuring. IES also offered a lot of guidance with the whole application process, as well as the paperwork involved including getting my Visa. I was excited about the trips that were offered in my program, and I was very intrigued by the flexibility to take classes both at the IES center as well as local Spanish universities. IES offered me many opportunities to get the most out of my experience abroad, as well as support before, during, and after, so I decided to study abroad with them!

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Liza: My study abroad experience was very unique for various reasons. First off, being in the Advanced Spanish Program, all my classes were in Spanish. I was able to take classes at the IES center with other students from my program, at a local Spanish University with other American students from my program and other programs like it, and finally, at another local university with all Spanish students. The last school was for my internship, which was also a very special part of my study abroad experience. I had a social work internship where I was able to get to know members of a neighborhood as I worked at a center in their community. The class that met once a week to talk about everyone’s various internships was an amazing experience. It was challenging knowing that I was the only American not only in the class, but in the school as well, but it taught me a lot and was very gratifying in the end.

I also loved living in the dorm, where I made friends from all around the world, including Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, and other places as well. Lastly, I loved the trip to Morocco that IES offered us. We were able to go to Marrakesh and a small town called Amizmiz, where we stayed with Moroccan families and were able to truly experience what it is like to live in Morocco. It was absolutely a life-changing experience. Overall, I think studying abroad for me was very unique and I am so grateful that I was able to see, do, learn, and grow as a person as much as I did.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Liza: Graduating in the Spring, I am currently in the job hunt and going on various interviews. In almost every interview I have had thus far, I have talked about my experience abroad. I am able to reference various skills, like acclimating to an entirely new culture, being resourceful, and independent, as well as others that I gained while studying in Barcelona. These proficiencies have made me a more confident individual. While studying abroad, I bettered my Spanish language abilities, which is also extremely helpful for finding job opportunities.

I made many friends from all over the world that I am still in contact with, and even making plans to go visit hopefully very soon. Studying abroad opened my eyes to the world, and from these experiences, I am more knowledgeable and understanding of other cultures. Being an ambassador, I am able to talk with students who are thinking about studying abroad and tell them about my experience. I have loved being able to share my story with others. Studying abroad was an amazing experience that will continue to impact me throughout the rest of my life.