Discover our Student Services department and how they help international students make a new home at IE University.
Studying abroad is an exciting prospect, but one that comes with its own unique challenges. At IE University, our international students are an integral part of our diverse community. But they often face many unique challenges, including but not limited to culture shock, language barriers and navigating the complex immigration and visa requirements.
What sets IE University apart isn’t just our commitment to education, but the ecosystem of resources we’ve put in place to ensure our international students’ academic success, well-being and positive experience overall. Heading our efforts in this arena is our Student Services team comprising professionals like Helena Reyes. The former IE University student is now the junior manager of undergraduate student services and we recently spoke to her to find out more about their work.
Student Services at IE University
IE University’s Student Services department was born out of the very real need to provide international students with adequate support during their move to Spain. With such a large global community present, representing over 140 countries around the world, it soon became clear that immigration and relocation assistance were critical for their smooth transition to university life.
“We assist them before they even arrive in Madrid or Segovia,” Helena explains. Specifically, this support involves helping international students through the visa process and all the bureaucratic aspects of traveling to Spain. It also includes assistance to secure housing, health insurance, bank accounts, phone numbers, Wi-Fi and more—basically, ”Anything you need to be able to properly move to Spain,” she says.
But this support doesn’t stop once these students successfully make their way to IE University. Rather, the Student Services team offers continuous support throughout their academic programs and beyond through various postgraduate visa options. “We are part of their entire student experience, practically from the moment they get accepted until well after graduation,” Helena adds.
A curated experience
She calls the department “unique” because of its highly personalized approach, tailoring every service to each student’s needs. After all, immigration depends on many factors that change from one case to the next, such as nationality, professional background and place of residence. On the other hand, the details of relocation hinge on individual student preferences: “Some prefer to stay in student housing while others prefer to be in an apartment,” Helena explains.
Through their work, the team invariably comes into close contact with these students’ families. As Helena points out, “We’re also a helping hand for their families abroad, who might be worried about any relocation or immigration issues.” Their involvement often has a bearing on decisions like housing, private health insurance and other details of relocation.
Lending a helping hand
Helena knows this all too well firsthand. Originally from Colombia, she traversed the ocean to join the Bachelor in International Relations at IE University. Not only was this her first time living on her own, but she would be doing it thousands of miles away from home—and her mother was far from amused. Fearing for her well-being abroad, “I can honestly say if it wasn’t for IE University’s assistance, or how Student Services provided a lot of support during my relocation, I don’t think my mom would have dropped me off in Segovia!” Helena quips.
It’s an understandable concern for any parent with their child starting a new life in a new country. However, Student Services made the whole process much smoother for Helena and her family. Their close contacts with Spanish consulates in different stations around the world made her visa application fast, easy and convenient. With pre-selected options verified by IE University representatives, they also helped her find housing her parents would approve of. She admits, “It was definitely thanks to the support of Student Services that I was able to make a smooth transition from my life in Colombia with my mom, and with so much help from my parents, to live completely on my own in Spain.”
Now on the other side of the table, Helena is determined to deliver the same comfort and peace of mind to international students and their families as they join IE University.
The Student Services department makes it easy to get in touch. With three office locations—the Segovia campus, IE Tower and our María de Molina Campus—current and prospective students can access face-to-face assistance quickly and easily. Alternatively, booking a video call will grant them the same one-on-one attention without having to visit the department’s offices. They can also reach out via phone or email.
“Student Services is basically your partner and ally throughout your student journey to ensure that your entire life in Spain is as easy as possible,” Helena states. They do their best to make IE University a home away from home, fostering a sense of belonging and creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for international students.
To learn more about Student Services and the important work they do at IE University, listen to the full podcast here.