Santa Clara University

Jenna Tucker '12

Peer Advisor: Special Projects Coordinator

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?

I really enjoyed my experience studying abroad and would like to encourage others to do it as well. I think that I could provide useful information for people planning to go abroad and give them the support that is so crucial while preparing for the transition. The ambassadors were really helpful for me last year when I was nervous about going to a new school and living in a totally foreign environment by myself and I would really like to return that favor. In my experience, that support system is crucial and I would like to be a part of it for others.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I decided to go to Dublin, Ireland for multiple reasons. First of all, I wanted to go somewhere where English was the primary language. Second, I thought I would get the most out of my study abroad experience by going to Europe, where I could easily visit many countries and experience different cultures. I also thought it would be fun and interesting to live in a big, international city. Finally, I travelled to Ireland a couple of years ago to visit family and I fell in love with the people and the culture. I really wanted to go back and spend more time there, immersed in that environment. Ultimately I wanted to go to a place that was new and different, but not so unfamiliar that I would have trouble getting by. The Arcadia program for Dublin fit all of these requirements and I loved my time there!
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
A defining moment for me was talking to Irish students about the United States. I realized that people outside of the United States know so much about other countries, whereas I was comparatively oblivious to other cultures and ways of life. The people I met were so cultured and interested in global issues. It really opened my eyes to how diverse the world is and how small my own world view was. Personally, it inspired me to explore other cultures and ways of life more extensively, noticing the differences between my way of life and those of others. Especially shocking to me was how much more environmentally conscious other cultures are. It really opened my eyes to other perspectives.
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?

A huge struggle for me was definitely packing. I packed way too much and it was a hassle to transport at the beginning and end of the semester. I would emphasize the fact that you can buy many things there so you don't have to pack everything. Additionally, I would suggest traveling as much as possible and seeing as many things as possible. I was able to go on a few weekend trips, but I wish I had made that more of a priority in my budget because the ease of going to other countries and cities for a weekend is a once in a lifetime experience.