Assistant Dean and Director of UR’s Study Abroad Program Jackie Levine was recently awarded the Professional Development Award by the Institute for the International Education of Students at their annual conference in Chicago for her energy, enthusiasm and commitment to sending students to study abroad programs.
Levine has been directing the university’s study abroad program since 1982. IES distinguished her as one of the best study abroad directors in the nation for her commitment to student services and her creative use of resources to promote and support study abroad.
“I love doing what I do,” Levine said. “I really enjoy letting people know of the opportunities. The thing that I find very sad sometimes is talking to a senior and hearing, ‘I wish I had known about this. I wish I had known it was something I could actually do.’ Students have a list of excuses lined up, whether it’s ‘I don’t know a foreign language,’ or ‘I’m an engineering major.’ I love telling people about the program. I’m always telling people.”
UR has been a member of the IES college consortium since 1983. Several years ago the organization decided it would recognize study abroad directors for their accomplishments. These criteria include the education, outreach and encouragement of the student body to pursue study abroad, something to which Levine has devoted great energy.
Levine’s passion and enthusiasm towards directing the study abroad program was cited by students and faculty alike. “Jackie has developed a program that is comprehensive and coherent with the college’s academic mission,” University Vice President, General Secretary and Special Adviser to the President Paul Burgett said. “She is devoted to her students, and cares deeply about each of them. Jackie is a remarkable person. I have no doubt that this recognition is very well deserved.”
“No two students’ situations are ever the same,” Levine said. “Someone always has a different take, a different angle or different interest. When I sit down with a student I’m not thinking, ‘Oh, another student who wants to go study French in France. What I’m thinking is ‘This student’s interested in this program, this student can go here and have this research opportunity.”
“It’s something that you can be creative with so it’s a lot of fun. Another thing is that I learn so much from the conversations with students who studied abroad. It’s a constant giving back to the campus. Students who study abroad can come back and really contribute in a dynamic way to the dialogues that happen on this campus.”
“Jackie was great in comforting whatever fears I had about going abroad,” said junior Maria Guillily, who will be in the Italian studies program in Arezzo, Italy next semester.
“She told me stories about her own study abroad experiences, easing many of my worries. Her enthusiasm for the experience was wonderful.”
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