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Joanna Mendoza '13
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
My experience abroad has been so empowering that I would love to share it with people considering study abroad. I also was really involved with the program in Barcelona and got to interact with the staff, the students, and all of the people at the center that I feel I can be a good resource to prospective students studying abroad. There is a lot of information I wish I would have known prior to going abroad so I would love to help students with the same questions I had and actually be able to help them get a good understanding of what it's like to study abroad and specifically what it means to study abroad in Barcelona.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I was starting to get tired of the same everyday routine I began to have. I also really love traveling so I felt like getting away for a quarter would benefit me in so many ways. I wanted to go to Spain to learn more about their culture because it really fascinates me but also because of it's beauty and easy access to other parts of Europe.
Defining Moment Abroad?
The entire experience has affected me in so many ways. I learned so much about myself being abroad. A lot of my habits started changing, and I started doing things I never thought I would do or like. I got to interact with many locals and these experiences gave me a broader sense of the world as a whole. I feel like I lived in a bubble prior to going abroad but now I have been able to explore a new culture, and see the differences and similarities and all of this helps us to grow a perspective of the entire world in a way we wouldn't have been able to if we had stayed inside our bubble in the United States. I also got the opportunity to travel and see lots of parts of Europe and all the traveling has given me a better sense of who I am since you become aware of your own culture when you are exposed to so many different cultures. I feel very blessed to have had such great experiences and I wish everyone got the chance to go abroad because it truly is an amazing experience.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
I would have liked to have known more about the city I was going to, I didn't do too much research on it which would have been helpful but I still loved it and wouldn't have chosen a different location! I would recommend many things to students. I would advise them on how to deal with atm's and the whole money situation because this is something I wish I had more guidance on to avoid paying so much in international fees and all that stuff. I would also let them know about cheap airlines but not just tell them the cheap airlines but also give guidance on the airports because often times the cheap airlines take you to an airport really far away from the city and I had to learn this the hard way! I would also give them tips about the city in general and the public transportation and give them good recommendations of things I really enjoyed and noticed that other study abroad students also really enjoyed. I would also advise them to interact with locals as most study abroad students just stick to hanging out with other Americans but they can benefit in so many ways by interacting with locals! Most importantly, I would advise them to enjoy every second of it because it goes by too fast and it's such a wonderful experience that literally changes your life.