Santa Clara University

Todd Lane '12

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
 
I think that by serving as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University, I can best share my passion for travel and new cultural experiences with other students who are thinking of embarking on an international experience themselves. While one can only prepare so much for going abroad, I would like the opportunity to help guide and advise those who are deciding where to go, if they want to go, and help put them at ease with any apprehensions they may have. The opportunity to go abroad is a very special privilege and in order to best get everything out of it, it helps to talk to someone who is willing to share their own experiences, offer advise, and be there as a resource. I would like to be that someone.
 
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 
I knew that I wanted to go to a Spanish speaking country, narrowing my location and program choices to Spain or Latin America. I also needed a program that would offer English business classes that would allow me to keep on track with my major, because my Spanish fluency was not high enough going into my study abroad experience to be taking all Spanish classes. This greatly narrowed down the list and I settled on Syracuse Madrid because of the numerous outside the classroom opportunities it had for its students, the many business class offerings, and the quality of its reputation.
 
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 came while actually in my European Union Politics and Economics class. We were discussing the role that Europe plays in the world as a promoter of human rights and social justice and the means by which it accomplishes this. We then contrasted this with the approach the United States takes in tackling similar issues. The differences couldn't be greater and it forced me to reflect on the way our country approaches all issues of foreign diplomacy and I began to recognize very interesting contradictions. No one does it all right, but I came to see the importance of critically examining all issues of foreign diplomacy and how different countries approach the same issues.
 
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
 
Depending on where you study and how the program is set up, it can be easy to stay in a English speaking, American bubble. No matter where you are, force yourself to get outside of that bubble and fully engage with the culture. Make friends from your host country, speak the language, attend cultural events and see all there is to experience and learn from. Don't be afraid of going new places, meeting new people and doing things you've never done before. Those are the things that will leave the greatest impact and allow you to get the absolute most out of an already amazing time abroad.