Junior Chosen for Education Abroad Gala in D.C.

Published on December 11, 2017

He spent this past summer studying abroad in Argentina, and recently returned from the Forum for Education Abroad Gala in Washington, D.C.

EKU junior Ivan Olivas is going places – figuratively and literally.

Olivas, a native of Lexington whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexoco, was one of only 13 scholars nationwide chosen to attend the Gala. His visit also included a visit to the U.S. Capitol and a tour of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture.

“The Gala experience was very beneficial to me in the sense of showing appreciation to the people who were able to make my study abroad experience possible,” said Olivas, who also received funding as one of three Gilman Scholarship recipients this year and from the SOL Education Abroad Program. “I spoke to countless people who were very supportive of education abroad and how it can really transform a person and make them see life in a different way, which was something I felt happen to me. Through telling people my experience in Argentina, and how I got involved in cultural activities and the volunteering project, it only strengthens their support for education abroad.”

Michelle Foley, senior program coordinator with the Fund for Education Abroad, called Olivas “a wonderful, enthusiastic and engaged scholar for us,” adding that Olivas was “chosen, in part, because of the high quality of his FEA Scholar blog” about his time in Argentina. (The entire blog can be accessed at fundforeducationabroad.org/author/ivan-olivas.)

Olivas’ travels are far from over. He plans to study in Puebla, Mexico, next fall.

“As someone whose parents are from Mexico, I’ve wanted to experience living there,” he said. “I’ve visited Mexico many times, specifically Chihuahua, but I also want to see other places in Mexico. Just like in the United States, there are differences in the culture, people and food within Mexico, and that is something I definitely want to see and experience. I can’t wait!”

Olivas, a network security and electronics and Spanish major and member of EKU’s Honors Program, served this past year as president of the University’s Latino Student Association.