Meet Keyana Pugh (she/her/hers), our new University Relations & Assistant TODOS Coordinator! We’re thrilled to have Keyana on our team as of May 1st and recently had the opportunity to get to know her a bit better.

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born in Norwalk, Connecticut and I was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Growing up within the Northeast megalopolis, I was always exposed to various cultures and having this exposure peaked my interest in traveling abroad.

After I graduated high school, I moved to North Carolina to complete my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. During my undergraduate experience, I had the opportunity to do mission work in St. Ann’s, Jamaica. While completing my master’s degree, I studied abroad in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala with North Carolina State University’s Ethnographic Field School.

Before I came to Barcelona SAE, I worked at three different universities serving U.S. study abroad students as well as international students studying in the U.S. on F-1 visas.

Keyana in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, where her host family also hosted a Spanish school so she was able to take a few lessons.

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies include traveling to different places, trying different types of food, cooking, dancing, and spending time with loved ones. I also really enjoy watching movies and TV shows from other countries as well as reading and learning about African American History.

Tell us about your role at Barcelona SAE.

In my role, I am responsible for building and maintaining relationships with our university partners. I have the opportunity to interact with students at study abroad fairs, classroom visits, and other events universities hold related to global education.

I also get to work with students during their pre-departure process to ensure that they have all the resources they need particularly as it relates to navigating their identity while abroad.

Why did you choose to work for Barcelona SAE, and what do you love most about your job?

Keyana in Antigua, Guatemala during her grad school study abroad – where she visited a site remnant of the colonial infrastructure. 

I wanted to work for Barcelona SAE because I have a passion for encouraging students who are underrepresented in study abroad to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. I believe that study abroad opportunities should be accessible for all students, not just students of a particular cultural background or economic status. In my role, I will be working specifically with minority serving institutions and historically black colleges and universities introducing them to what Barcelona SAE has to offer as a study abroad provider.

One thing that stood out to me about Barcelona SAE is our award-winning diversity, equity, and inclusion committment, TODOS. TODOS aims to reduce barriers to study abroad for underrepresented students. This strategy aligns with my personal values and I am excited to be part of a team that cares deeply for students holistic well-being while they study in a new country.

I hope to increase our partnerships with minority serving institutions and increase the presence of students who study at minority serving institutions on our programs. I also hope to continue to enhance our TODOS strategic plan and participate in professional development opportunities related to DEI.

Why is DEI important to you both personally and professionally? What is the value in being in an organization that embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion?

DEI is important to me because of my own personal identity. I identify as a black woman who grew up in a diverse area of the United States and I have witnessed first hand how growing up with diverse groups of people can positively impact a person’s life. For example, being in an environment where people speak a variety of languages encouraged me to pursue opportunities to learn another language and to travel abroad. Having the ability to speak another language and the privilege to travel abroad opened doors for me both personally and professionally. I consider myself to be a life-long learner, thus learning about different perspectives, ideas, lifestyles, and values are absolutely crucial for my learning and development.

Moreover, I am part of a community of people who have experienced the brunt of American racism steeped in white supremacy which is based on exclusion and inequity. Systemic racism was and is a major catalyst that caused my community (and others) to be treated as second class citizens for decades, having a profound impact on us spiritually, physically, socially, and financially. Members of our community have fought and died to provide the foundation for the diversity, equity, and inclusion work international educators and DEI practitioners do today. In the words of former President Barack Obama, “There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America {..}”. We are all Americans and systems set up to disenfranchise people from particular cultural groups must be dismantled. Maintaining systems that create barriers for different groups of people limits creativity, innovation, and stifles life-long learning. The value in Barcelona SAE being an organization that embraces DEI is that we have the ability to engage and recruit staff with diverse backgrounds that have unique ideas and perspectives that help the organization engage with students in meaningful ways. Not only are students able to learn from faculty, staff, and the local environment, but Barcelona’s local community can learn about the United States and the different cultures that exist within our borders through our students.

Barcelona SAE

Barcelona SAE

Barcelona SAE is a boutique study abroad and internship program that provides personalized attention and focuses on this beautiful Mediterranean city that we call home.



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