Alumni Spotlight: Jake Des Roches

Jake Des Roches is from Fairfax, Virginia and is a graduate of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. He is a Teach For America 2013 Corps Member and will be teaching High School Math in the Las Vegas Valley. Jake loves snowboarding, mountain biking, cooking amazing meals, and writing about his own and others' adventures.

Why did you decide to study abroad with IES Abroad?

Jake: IES abroad, and specifically the Barcelona program, offered the most classes relevant to my major and interests. I took classes in the fields of sports business and management, international management, entrepreneurship, and travel writing. In addition to having a great selection of course offerings, IES Abroad also had a huge number of field trips and cultural experiences lined up that I could participate in.

What made this study abroad experience unique and special?

Jake: My study abroad experience was highlighted by five spectacular trips snowboarding in the Swiss, Austrian, and French (twice) Alps and in the Spanish Pyrenees. I was able to experience my favorite activity in a completely new and absolutely beautiful environment. Going snowboarding in different countries let me experience the wide variety of cultures that make up Europe, while still enjoying the down to earth and friendly ski resort town atmosphere.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Jake: Studying abroad is something that I have been able to talk about with anyone. While networking for jobs, being able to speak about my study abroad experiences has been a way I can easily connect with people. Living in Europe also opened my eyes to the rest of the world. Before, I had thought Europe couldn’t be that much different than America (I was wrong). Realizing these differences made me want to travel further in my future, to South America, Asia, and Africa.