KSA Student’s Study Abroad Story Wins 2011 Student Diplomat Video Contest

WASHINGTON, December 12, 2011 – NAFSA: Association of International Educators and STA Travel, a NAFSA Global Partner, are pleased to award the title of Student Diplomat 2011 to Ohio State University student Benjamin Hershey. Hershey won the 2011 Student Diplomat Video Contest, which includes a $1,000 travel voucher courtesy of STA Travel, by telling his story of learning and personal growth during a study abroad experience in Germany. The challenge to contestants was to tell a compelling story, in a video less than three minutes, about how they became "student diplomats" while studying abroad, by making a difference in the lives of others, connecting in a meaningful way with people and cultures in other countries, and building long-lasting friendships and mutual understanding.

Hershey traveled to Germany this past summer as part of a city planning exchange program. His studies were anchored in Dresden, a modern example of exemplary city planning since its recovery from complete destruction during World War II. Teaming up with students from Dresden Technical University, Hershey studied a proposed development along the city’s dilapidated riverfront. His team’s findings included a proposal for flood prevention techniques and were featured in a local Dresden newspaper.

Hershey says that while his purpose in Dresden was to learn about city planning and adaptation to climate change, he also learned a lot about himself and German culture and made long-lasting friendships. “I learned what it means to be a diplomat, and that is something that I’ll never forget. In the future, I know I can use my experience abroad to further myself in my career and in my studies. The world is what you make of it. Never stop exploring,” he says in his video. Hershey will graduate from Ohio State University in June 2012 with a degree in city and regional planning and plans to travel for a year to discover other foreign cities and learn more about his field before attending graduate school.

The 2011 Student Diplomat Video Contest was open to undergraduate students who studied abroad during the fall semester or had recently returned from a study abroad experience. Throughout the fall, students from across the country submitted creative videos that showed how their experiences while studying abroad shaped them as “student diplomats.” After an expert judging panel narrowed down the entries to five finalists in November, the public was invited to vote. More than 1,000 votes were cast and were combined with the votes from the panel of judges to determine the 2011 Student Diplomat.

To read more about the 2011 Student Diplomat and to watch the finalist videos, visit www.connectingourworld.org/studentdiplomat. To learn more about the KSA many study abroad programs, see knowlton.osu.edu/travel.