Santa Clara University

David Rebd '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
As a student in my first two years at Santa Clara, I enjoyed playing intramural sports, going to a few club meetings on campus, and participating in many of the RLCA activities and the like, however being an upperclassman Bronco to me means taking on more roles in active leadership and contribution to SCU. To serve that end, I hope to serve as an International Ambassador, to assist younger students in their process and decision in studying abroad, to reflect on my own incredible experiences there, and to better actively serve my community of peers. In addition to these more serious goals, being an International Ambassador sounds like an excellent bonding opportunity with some of my classmates I might not be as familiar with.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
More than anything, my decision to study abroad in Istanbul derived from my desire to explore, and do something off the beaten path. As tempting as a location like Barcelona, Rome, or London sounded, it was an experience I felt had already been had the majority of students who study abroad, and I hoped to go somewhere with an environment and culture as radically different as possible, and thrust myself into the mix. As a finance major, there were less programmed specifically suited to my major, so I felt comfortable simply picking Turkey as my country of study based solely on the cultural and historical educational opportunities I would have there.
Defining Moment Abroad?
In Sultanahmet, Istanbul s historical architectural center lies the majestic Hagia Sophia, one of the most gorgeous buildings in the world, and at points in history both a Christian cathedral and an Islamic mosque. Stepping through the doors of this religious center I was awestruck by the sheer scale of this building made over a thousand years ago. The pillars of stone holding up the colossal structure were over ten feet in diameter, and yet the intricacy of the countless mosaics and carvings lining the whole building was to a level of detail rarely displayed, and even more rarely put into practical use in contemporary times. The queen of Russia at the time was so astounded by the majesty of the Hagia Sophia cathedral, that she returned to her homeland converted, and effectively started the Eastern Orthodox Church. Experiencing this breathtaking piece of history for the first time was one of the most profound and inspiring experiences of my life, and just a taste of the wonders uncovered while studying abroad.
Advise to Prospective study abroad students?
Going abroad is an experience unlike any other, so the best way to prepare isn t through perfectly packing your suitcase, it s by having the right mindset. The best frame of mind when abroad is a relaxed and go with the flow kind of attitude. Even the most nominal of activities will be conducted in a manner that is entirely strange to you, and the ability to be positive and productive will largely depend on your ability to adapt to whatever unfamiliar circumstance is at hand, and turn it into an enriching and enjoyable experience.