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Kimberly Ratto '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
I want to participate in making the experiences of future students who are going abroad extremely memorable. Keeping my study abroad experience alive through talking about it with other student will help me to preserve my memories and help me to reflect on my time spent in another country. I would like to give advice to people that I would have found helpful before leaving. The experience was an unforgettable one for me and I want to give back to others and keep it alive.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I knew I wanted to study in Italy, but choosing which city was hard for me. I did not want a huge city like Rome, but was not sure about Florence or Milan. I have never traveled outside the US before and did not know how to approach the process. A key selling point for me was the home stay aspect of the Florence program. I loved my host family and they were vital to the positive experience i received. Florence was an amazing city and will be part of my heart forever.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
I have never been away from home because I live close to Santa Clara, therefore this experience taught me a lot about independence. A moment when I first saw Florence from the famous view point overlooking the whole city I was so overwhelmed. I never saw anything more beautiful, it took my breath away. I began to tear up and realized how fast this experience would fly. I realized how fortunate I am to be in such an incredible place and wanted to take advantage of every place I traveled. On my last weekend in Florence I went back to this point and saw the view in the winter time. It took me back to that first weekend and I began to cry. This scene will forever be in my mind and is a moment I will cherish forever. I really realized how fast the semester went and stood there wishing I had more time in that incredible city.
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 give advice about packing, budgeting and classes. I would give adive about how to travel and adjust to the cultural differences. Most importantly I would tell them to enjoy every moment, even the bad ones, because it goes too fast and to live in the moment at all times. I learned it is important not to stress the small stuff and how important the experience will be to their growth asa person.