Santa Clara University

Margaret Brezinski '12

International Ambassador

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

I want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University because I had a great time on my abroad program and feel that I can share helpful information to prospective study abroad students. I want to serve as a advocate for the Study Abroad program and share my experience with fellow students. I learned a great deal about London as a study abroad student and I want to prepare students who are also traveling to London about the encounters they will have and recommend places to go see. I would like to be a face for the Study Abroad program because of my positive experience in London and I want to work with other International Ambassadors to promote the study abroad experience to prospective study abroad students.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I decided that London would be the best place for me to study abroad because of the living situation in a flat with my fellow students from Santa Clara. I felt most comfortable in this dorm-like living situation. I choose to study abroad in London because of the city's history and the well-balanced classes the program offered along with the excellent internship opportunity. In addition, I did not speak a foreign language so I did not choose a country with a language barrier for me. I also wanted to live in a urban downtown setting and London offered a great location which helped me decide to study in London.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
The defining moments that challenged me to grow as a person in the aforementioned categories happened when I would travel to different countries on some of the weekends in Europe. It was physically and emotionally challenging to absorb a new culture in a short period of time and it was exciting to see so many different countries. Traveling around the continent tested my organizational abilities and endurance. From buying plane tickets, organizing buses and trains, hostels and transportation along with tours and maps while keeping my passport and money safe as I took photos, I learned a great deal about myself, my limits and the world as a whole. I traveled to 7 countries in 12 weeks in anywhere from a 6 person group to just 2 people. I will remember this abroad experience forever.
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?

I recommend that prospective study abroad students maximize their time abroad by getting to know the country they travel to very well while exploring other cultures on the continent they travel to as well. I would prepare them to let keep an open mind to opportunities that arise when they are abroad and make a list of things they want to accomplish in the first few weeks for their whole stay. I recommend that they try new things that seem foreign but may be the most fun thing they will ever experience. They should maximize their time by letting themselves be immersed in the culture and try to adapt in the short time that they have by taking public transportation and talking to local people. Maximize you time by being as organized as possible and try new things!