Santa Clara University

Samantha Riley '13

International Ambassador


Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I would like to serve as an International Ambassador because I feel that everyone should take the opportunity to study abroad. It is an absolutely amazing experience where you not only learn about another culture but you also learn a lot about yourself and grow as an individual. It is completely different experience than anything I have ever done before and I want to show students that studying abroad is not a scary thing. I want to share my stories in the hopes that others will be inspired to study abroad as well.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
When I was trying to chose my location and program, I first needed a place that spoke English. I had never taken another language before and was pleasantly surprised by the number of programs that did not require a language specification. Once I narrowed that down, I starting looking at programs that offered a lot of real world experience and hands-on learning. Even though I believe classroom learning is very important, I also think it is important to be able to see real life examples of how you major can be applied to the work world. That is how I stumbled upon DIS - Copenhagen, Denmark. This program has field trips called field studies or study tours all around Europe that show your major and its ideals being applied to real jobs. For my major (communications), we traveled to London for a week because that was the media capital of Europe. We were able to visit Bloomberg headquarters and the Al Jazeera news station. This program was a perfect fit for me because there was a great balance of learning inside the classroom as well as learning outside the classroom.
Defining Moment Abroad?
The defining moment in my abroad experienced actually happened half way through my abroad semester. We had just visited London with my program as part of our long study tour and throughout the whole trip I had taken small videos here and there from the places we had visited. Eventually, these videos were going to become part of a video project for my communications class in which we had to brand London and make it appealing to students looking to study abroad in London. Before we completed this video, I decided to make a video on my own in which I captured our trip to London and shared it with my fellow classmates. While putting this video together, I became overwhelmed with joy and pride. I was watching videos of us participating in a discussion at Al Jazeera, riding the London eye, meeting with a journalist, and going to Phantom of the Opera at Piccadilly Square. While watching these videos, I realized how independent we had all become and how much we had learned so far on our abroad experience. We had all matured immensely in just the few short weeks that we had already been abroad. It was amazing to see how much the abroad experience changes a person and these videos portrayed it perfectly.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
To prospective abroad students, I would say go for it! No matter where you study abroad you are going to have an amazing time, meet new people, and experience things that you could never experience in the States. You will come back with many memories and stories. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you should not pass up.