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Christine Frea '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
Studying abroad in Madrid was one of the best experiences of my life because it challenged my beliefs and helped mold me into a much more independent and accepting person. In the months leading up to my departure, I tried coming up with so many different excuses not to go abroad. I was nervous to be leaving America for the first time, as well as to be abandoning the school, language and people I knew so well. I think these doubts are common for students and as an International Ambassador, I would have the opportunity to be there to calm other students who are experiencing these fears and to answer any questions and give advice. Having such an amazing experience studying abroad, I would encourage all students to seriously consider participating on one of the many incredible international programs that Santa Clara has to offer.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I wanted a program in Europe, preferably where the language spoken was Spanish and students lived with a host family. After attending their information session, I was impressed by Syracuse-Madrid because it allowed me to meet students from other schools in addition to participating in a service learning program and a required pre-program traveling seminar.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
I feel that the experience that impacted me the most was my weekend in Morocco. During the weekend we visited a Moroccan family on their farm in the countryside. This family lived in simplicity and had only recently obtained electricity, yet they were all so utterly happy and took nothing for granted. While studying abroad opens one s eyes to things that may be seen as better in other countries, it also allows you to appreciate all the amazing opportunities that you, as a college student in America are provided with.
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 would advise every student to study abroad and to talk to former study abroad students. When choosing their program I would suggest something different that they think they would enjoy. You shouldn t worry about where your friends are going, but rather where you can optimize your personal growth and development. Take advantage of your study abroad program s school trips and immersion events. If possible, staying with a host family allows for the best cultural immersion because you are able to witness first-hand the daily habits of a particular culture. Before leaving I wish I would have brushed up on my Spanish a little more, because sometimes it can be frustrating when you are unable to effectively communicate with the people around you.