IE University is a proud member of the European University of Social Sciences, CIVICA. Aligning with our aim to be the benchmark of higher education based on innovation, diversity, sustainability and more, the 10-university alliance works to build the European university of the future.

As part of our alliance, our students have the opportunity to serve as CIVICA ambassadors. As part of this opportunity, they work with a variety of students from other leading universities and educational backgrounds toward a common goal: implement lasting change at the university level. The alliance is financed by the European Commission and is funded by the Erasmus+ program. 

A passion that is carried beyond the classroom

Known as a university full of opportunities, Isabel de Valenzuela started studying at IE University this year and decided to dive into any and all activities available. A first-year Bachelor in Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence student, the Spanish native checked the newsletter for things to join and saw the role. After reading about the alliance and what it meant to be a CIVICA ambassador, she decided to apply.

One of the many benefits of working as a CIVICA ambassador is talking to a wide range of people who are incredibly talented. Every day there is a new discussion, a new perspective and a new story. “We have people from all different corners of the world with amazing success stories that truly inspire you to grow within your own university,” notes Isabel.

Isabel explains that CIVICA’s goal is to “build a European-university identity of the social sciences while creating cross-campus synergy by allowing students from different universities and cultures to interact, research and pitch ideas.” Isabel finds it incredibly meaningful to have the chance to work with people from IE University as well as with like-minded students and staff members from around the world. “You can absorb so much from your surroundings and just by getting to know different types of people around you.”

The alliance recently completed the preliminary round of the futurEU Competition 2023 focused on climate change and social transformation. Isabel and her teammates are waiting on the results of their idea, but she walked away from the competition overjoyed to have had the chance to participate in such an interesting and cool process. 

Projects with a purpose

As an ambassador, Isabel had the honor of representing IE University at the CIVICA conference hosted in Poland. Explaining that the experience is nearly impossible to describe in just a few words, Isabel was in disbelief that she was heading to Poland until she stepped off the plane. While there, the team discussed many new initiatives, specifically pushing sustainability with the Green CIVICA project, as well as the exciting launch of the CIVICA Instagram page, which will be run by Isabel and her fellow IE University CIVICA ambassador.

Isabel attends monthly meetings as part of her ambassador duties, but her time in Poland was the first time she was able to meet everyone face-to-face. Now back at IE University, Isabel and the other CIVICA ambassadors are working toward launching Work Package 10, an initiative in which each institution is responsible for a work package to show their structure. As the project is still under wraps, Isabel couldn’t say much other than it really gets the message and spirit of CIVICA across. 

As the alliance is only three-years-old, the ambassadors, coordinators and other faculty members are building from the ground up. And the ambassadors’ role is to, “give a student perspective on what is working and what isn’t, as well as how to make people aware of what CIVICA is doing.” Isabel stands firm in the idea that the alliance is “trying to build a legacy for the long-term,” and hopes that students get on board and gain awareness of what’s going on with the initiatives. 

Inspiration and impact

Isabel’s passion for her work is obvious in the way she talks about the projects and the initiative itself: “One of the most inspiring things about being part of CIVICA is that you really feel like you can have an impact. The work you are doing is real and it is changing lives—or hopefully, it will change lives for generations to come.” 

It’s difficult for her to choose just one thing to focus on as her favorite part of working with CIVICA. As an ambassador, she feels driven to do something beyond academics for her university. Drawing the connection between IE University‘s values of entrepreneurship and innovation with CIVICA’s aim to build a better future, Isabel has a “big sense of purpose to get involved. We are privileged to attend an amazing university, and the opportunities we have are unique. If we have the chance to do something great and beautiful, we should jump.”

Although the application process was intense, Isabel believes every moment was worth it. She would encourage anyone interested to apply and grow both personally and professionally. 

When asked to describe her experience as a whole in three words, Isabel chose “eye-opening, inspiring and international.” For more of Isabel’s insights, stay tuned to the Instagram page or reach out to her personally.

What it means to be a CIVICA ambassador: a deep dive with Isabel de Valenzuela