Santa Clara University

Mary Kate Planek '13

International Ambassador


Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I want to serve as an International Ambassador at SCU because I want to help fellow Broncos have an abroad experience that they will never forget. My experience in Rome and traveling in Europe was more than I could have ever dreamt of. I know that having friendly faces to talk with at SCU last year really helped me calm my nerves about going to a different country and experiencing an entirely new culture. Seeing their enthusiasm for the JFRC really got me even more excited to ship off in the Fall!
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
The main factor in choosing Rome was that I wanted a central location. I wanted to be able to travel to other parts of Europe easily but I also wanted to get around Italy. I wanted to know the Italian culture and experience the hill towns, the seaside, the leather markets, and the water alleys. Rome was the best city that allowed me to do all of the traveling I wanted.
Defining Moment Abroad?
One of the most defining moments in my abroad experiences that affected me was when during my program's orientation trip. We were in Umbria and decided we wanted to explore the town's night life. This town had nothing compared to what we had experienced in our first days of Rome so as every group of friends headed out in their own separate search for a crazy night, we all ended up at a simple Jazz concert on the steps of a quaint Church. My friends and I sat down around everyone else who had inevitably found the hopping nightlife of Umbria. As I sat there on the steps listening to the calming music, I knew I was the luckiest girl in the world and that my semester was going to be more than I could have ever hoped for. I've never been more content just sitting and appreciating everything I was able to do and see. I was surrounded by new friends, listening to a new language, and enjoying a new found peace.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
Have alone time in your city and claim it as your own. At least once a day, I went into Rome to meet up with a friend for dinner, to go on a run to St. Peter's, to window shop, or just to explore. It's when I wrote my best journal entries, found the best sandwich shops, the cutest churches, precious cafes and when I learned where I was going. In a city like Rome, you need a map - and a compass! Don't be ashamed to use it-you will more than likely regret not...Know it as best you can - when else in your LIFE will you be able to explore an entire city on your own with nothing but time to hold you back? You will feel so independent and proud when you can be the navigator of a group and show friends and family different places that you have stumbled into. You can be your own Rick Steves!!