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Manuel Colón

Manuel Colón

Program specialist | Peace Corps | Class of 2010

He’d taken family trips to Mexico and Puerto Rico in his younger years but Manuel Colón had long desired to travel somewhere a little bit more adventurous.

Enter Andrea Bohn.

The former ACES assistant dean, Bohn was the one who “oversaw all study abroad programs for the college — and was a big advocate for all students engaging in an experience,” Colón says.

“Thanks to her championing and strong support, I studied abroad shortly after my freshman year and have been non-stop since then,” says Colón (BS '10, natural resources/environmental sciences; M.Ed. '15, human resources development).

It started with a six-week trip to South Korea, where he studied at Seoul’s Konkuk University, and ultimately led to him taking a job with the Peace Corps after earning two degrees at Illinois.

“The international study program at Konkuk pushed me to grow personally and academically in ways that I could not have imagined," he says. "Not only did it bring to life things I had previously researched and learned about, but it completely opened my eyes to experiences that I would have never been able to engage in otherwise.

“Even now, years later, it’s one of the biggest highlights I mention when meeting with prospective students. Your college experience does not need to be confined to the four walls of a lecture hall.”