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Ryan Diemer '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
When I arrived in Lille, I felt like I knew what I was doing and that I could be completely independent. In the end, I came to realize that while I did just fine being independent, there were still several aspects about the French culture, schooling, and lifestyle that would have helped me to better adapt and acclamate myself to my abroad experience. I want to serve as an International Ambassador because I know that I have helpful advice to give to those studying abroad in Lille, and in France in general. Whether it is which train pass to buy, what to bring and what not to bring, or even whether or not the Lille program is right for a particular student, I think that my experiences can have a great impact on the students who hope to study abroad.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I knew that I wanted to study in France in order to brush up on my French skills and also immerse myself more deeply into the French culture. I ended up choosing Lille mainly because the program was smaller, allowing me to be more independent. In addition to that, I was able to get helpful business credits on this program.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
One defining moment while I was abroad was during my trip to Dublin. At that time, I was about mid-way through my study abroad and time was flying by. I felt like I had just arrived in Europe and did not want my experience to end any time soon. It was at the point when I was on the coast of Ireland when I had the time to reflect on all of the opportunities I had during my study abroad trip up until that point. I realized then that even though time seemed to be flying by, I had experience more in those two months than I could have ever imagined. It was not just about travelling to different places which I would not otherwise have been able to go to, it was about the people I met, the friendships I had made, the cultures I had learned about and actively participated in, it was about learning about myself. Since then, I have come to learn that studying abroad was more than an experience which helped me grow at that time, but instead an experience that will help me to continually grow even long after I have returned from Lille.
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 definitely feel that I can offer a lot of advice to those hoping to go on the Lille program. In retrospect, I wish I would have known more about my school and its international club, who planned several weekend trips. Everyone had told me to plan way in advance and buy tickets ahead of time for my trip, but when I did that I was then unable to participate on any of the trips through our international club. It was through that club, still, that I was able to meet so many people. For this reason, I would also encourage students to enroll in the IESEG school if it is feasible. I would also have good advice as for what to bring and not bring when they pack. I also had a lot of experiences travelling by train and plane (both good and bad) which will be very useful for those travelling abroad. I would be willing and able to make a cheat-sheet for things to remember while they are abroad for the students with information about travelling around the city and outside of it. I know I would have appreciated something similar when I went abroad.