Santa Clara University

Pearl Wong '12

International Ambassador

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

I want to help other students make a well-informed decision on studying abroad. Far too often, students think they can have the same experience after they have finished university. However, I completely disagree with that belief since studying abroad is an experience in and of itself and no amount of vacationing can ever replace what I have gained in the past semester alone.
 
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 
Definitely the university I was going to attend (LSE) and the length of the program itself. I didn't want to go to London for 4 months and then leave it all behind. I knew I wanted to study abroad for the year because it would be more meaningful and I would learn much more about the city, the culture, the people and myself.
 
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
 
One particular moment I recall quite freshly right now was when I received my first graded essay (not too long ago actually). At the LSE, your entire year's work is based on an exam held in the Summer Term. Therefore, during the year, there are very few graded coursework and you must be truly self-motivated to stay on top of your readings and problem sets. Needless to say, I have never received a lower essay grade in my life - granted that the grading system in the UK is dramatically different from the US. At that moment, I realize I ought to shape up or be a potentially "average" student...It was also the moment when I realize I was in London to study, and I have been doing far too little of that.
 
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?

Study abroad! Regardless of your financial situation, your academic situation, or your personal interest in traveling, studying abroad is an experience you will never regret. Perhaps the only thing you may regret is regret for not being able to stay abroad! Further, if you are already convinced that studying abroad is the path for you, then study abroad for the year! It is tempting to only apply for the semester - safe even - since it is only a 4 month commitment and then you can freely return to your comfort zone. However, the American friends I have met here so far all wish they had chose to stay longer, and many of them are returning someday for postgraduate studies!