Santa Clara University

Andrew Valencia '12

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
 Before I studied abroad I had never left North America. After studying in Europe I am dying to get back. During my time abroad I learned about new cultures, ideas, art, food, and places all over Europe. I was able to study in one of the greatest cities in the world and it completely changed my outlook on life and my education. I want to share my experience and encourage others to do the same. Because of my time abroad I now see the endless possibilities that are out there, and how many amazing places there are to experience throughout the world. Before my trip I didn't have a lot of desire to learn new things, see new places, and even live in other countries, but now I find myself thinking about these things all the time.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 I wanted a city that had a lot to offer, but was not too large, so that I could truly experience all that the city had to offer. Florence offered all of these things and more. I also wanted to study in a city that was in a country that I wanted to travel throughout. My other deciding factors were food, culture, and art. Florence exceeded my expectations in all of these criteria.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.---
 I will always remember my first day in Florence. Walking the streets, looking at all the statues, museums, beautiful buildings, the Arno River and the Duomo. Before this day I had never seen anything so historic or a city filled with so much culture and history. After walking the city for hours I sat down for my first meal. The pizza, pasta, and wine were all amazing. With all that I had seen, eat and experience my eyes were now open to the world. That day has left me with the idea that there is so much out there to see and experience. I have a much different outlook after studying abroad, I now want to see and do as much as possible.
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 recommend that a prospective student be ready for something new and to always have an open mind. Packing, studying and your housing arrangement are all arbitrary. There are so many experiences, big and small that will change your life while living in a foreign country. In order to maximize my study abroad experience I would have done more traveling. Every country I visited was so different and amazing in its own way, each trip was like a visit to a new world.