Notable U.S. Study Abroad and Peace Corps Alumni

 

Study abroad opportunities provide unrivaled access for students to gain a global perspective, deepen cultural understanding, and learn other languages. Study abroad experiences have helped shape the lives of many past students, including U.S. presidents and members of congress, poets and actors, executives and journalists, and just about everything in between. This page highlights some of those study abroad and Peace Corps alumni who have gone on to accomplish great things.

If you know of other notable study abroad alumni that should be added to this list, please email us at govrel@nafsa.org.

Business

Business leaders who studied abroad  

On his Peace Corps experience:

"It was an extremely satisfying experience...Once you have hitchhiked across Africa with ten bucks in your pocket, starting a business doesn't seem too intimidating."

Reed Hastings
Founder and CEO of Netflix

Entertainment

Leaders in the entertainment industry who studied abroad  

"...it's impossible to list all the influences of one's work…there's travel – which really made me love the world, it's vastness and variety. How moved I was to know that there is no center of the universe. Entebbe, Uganda, or Bratislava, Czechoslovakia, exist no matter what we are doing here."

Alice Walker
Author

Elected Officials

Elected officials who studied abroad  

On being a Rhodes Scholar:

"Overall, it gave me a perspective that has proven very valuable, now that the world seems to have become very different for Americans after 9/11. And I owe a lot of that to the experience as a Rhodes Scholar."

Russ Feingold
Former U.S. Senator

Government Officials

Government officials who studied abroad  

On lessons learned as a Rhodes Scholar:

"It was about diversity, dealing with people of different backgrounds. To be successful in life you have to have a purpose and you have to have discipline to work for it. Oxford was a proving ground for that"

Wesley Clark
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander

Media

Leaders in the media who studied abroad

On studying in Sevilla:

"I will never forget singing with a choir at the gorgeous cathedral in Sevilla, taking classes alongside Spanish students and having the time of my life! Studying abroad opened my eyes and taught me things you can't learn from a book."

Kate Snow
Correspondent "Rock Center with Brian Williams"

Other

Other national leaders who studied abroad  

On her exchange with AFS:

"At NASA, we have a very international team, and all of those skills I first started learning in Norway are vital."

Catherine Coleman
NASA Astronaut