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Luis Carrillo '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
First, sharing my experiences with people going abroad next year is something that I would love to do. I want to answer any questions that they have about anything. The people last year did a great job and now I want to do the same and return the favor. There's a lot great things I have learned in about being abroad that I want to share with students.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I decided to come to Barcelona because for several reasons. First, speaking Spanish fluently was something that I wanted to develop further and Barcelona would be the best place for me to do that. Also, knowing that I was going to receive credit for all of my classes was a big factor. I was going to be able to finish up both minors while abroad, which was great. I also applied for an internship and once I got it, I was very excited because I was going to have the opportunity study and work abroad. My Spanish speaking skills at my internship also helped a lot. Finally, knowing that I was going to live with a Spanish Family was something very exciting. I wanted to experience another culture first hand, and with the host family I was able to do that.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
While abroad, one of the most defying moments in Barcelona was being in a home stay. Being part of a family while abroad changed a lot for me in terms of getting an actual cultural experience. While living with the host family, I was able to absorb a different culture first hand on a day-to-day basis. I was able to understand their opposing views on certain world issues. They became interested in my culture and loved to learn about it. In a sense after living there for months, I became attached to them because they genuinely cared for me. Having that experience while in Barcelona was more than I could ever ask for. Another defying moment while abroad just happened through traveling. Going from one country in Europe to another and finding out about their culture impacted me a lot. Values vary in every country, and being able to experience those values mind blowing. Also, stereotypes about countries change when you are there.You compare everything to the United States and sometimes think some things should change back home. Lastly, having an internship and working with Spanish people impacted me a lot. I was able be in workplace different to the United States and create relationships in the office with people from a different culture. Things such as the two hour mid day lunch breaks are normal in Spain, but would never happen in the US. It's great to be in middle of it all.
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
First, I recommend that people going abroad choose a location where they can have a home stay. For me it made my experience unforgettable. I also recommend that if you have the opportunity to get an internship, do it. It helped me gain valuable experiences about working in another country. Lastly, also would recommend that people choose a location truly because they want to be there not because of other reasons. In terms of preparing differently, there isn't much because the study abroad programs do a very good job in letting you know everything about where you are going to be. But knowing about the people in the city where you are going to live is something that could help. Also, having a good idea of your budget before going abroad is very important. Saving up a little more than I had originally thought would have been helpful in the last weeks.