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Rachel Leake sight-seeing during her time abroad.

Spanish Embassy honors CU senior as Student Ambassador of the Year

by Natalia Kirychuk, Public Relations Writer

Rachel Leake, senior Spanish education major from York, New York, has been named “Ambassador of the Year 2017” by SiS: Study in Spain, an education service of the Embassy of Spain-Trade Commission Miami.

Leake traveled to Valencia, Spain, to take part in a study abroad program for her sophomore year. She was seeking a way to become more fluent in Spanish and jumped at the opportunity to spend an entire year in a Spanish-speaking country.

“I loved getting to know so many people from different countries and seeing the dynamics of another culture,” said Leake. “I loved my professors, who were so intentional, my host mom, who invited me home with her for Christmas, and the opportunity to worship with other believers at a Spanish church.”

After returning home, Leake was contacted by the director of Institute of Spanish Studies, where she had studied in Spain. He suggested she apply to be a student ambassador with the Spanish Embassy of Miami, promoting the study abroad programs in Spain. Leake applied and was accepted, volunteering as a student ambassador from January through August 2017.

During her time as a student ambassador, Leake created blog posts, set up an informational table, hosted an event and posted on social media. She won “Best Student Ambassador” three of eight months in the program, then was selected as “Ambassador of the Year 2017” and won the grand prize of a week trip to Spain, which she will take this summer.

“This honor is well-deserved,” said Barbara Loach, senior professor of Spanish. “The experience Rachel had with Cedarville's study abroad program in Spain was truly life-changing for her, enabling her to grow in her understanding of other cultures and deepening her walk with God. She embraced the experience and people in a way that gained her this recognition as student ambassador that only a few U.S. university students attain. Our students continue to benefit from her experience as she shares her love for Spain and prepares for her student teaching experience this year.”

“Spain holds a very special place in my heart,” said Leake, “I grew so much in my year of study there and it really prepared me for where I want to go in life. I can’t wait to go back.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,963 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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