Santa Clara University

Stephanie Lucas '13

International Ambassador


Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
My abroad experience was absolutely incredible, but it was also an experience that required many difficult decisions and a lot of preparation. I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed and nervous during the beginning of my abroad endeavors, and I would like to offer my advice and assistance to any student who is experiencing the same emotions. My time abroad surpassed all of my expectations and will remain some of the best months of my life, and I would love to encourage anyone who is curious about studying abroad to pursue their interests because it truly is an experience of a lifetime.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
My second major in French was certainly a main factor; I wanted to make sure that I would put my semester abroad to good use and receive credits that would transfer to my degree progress here at SCU. Secondly, I was always very intrigued by the French culture. I had visited Paris once before and absolutely loved it, but I really wanted to explore what such a place is like from a resident's perspective, rather than that of a tourist. I wanted to really integrate myself into the culture and discover the real Paris.
Defining Moment Abroad?
Upon my arrival in France, I remember realizing just how different the culture is. I thought I would never fully adjust and feel entirely comfortable there--forever a tourist in a big city. Yet, halfway through my abroad experience, I took a weekend trip to a different country for the third time. It was a great trip, but I was really excited to return to Paris. Once I had arrived back in my abroad city, I distinctly remember stepping off of the bus and walking towards the metro with my small luggage in tow. I was overcome with an odd feeling that I had not ever expected to feel: I was at home. I remember feeling so entirely comfortable walking down the streets of Paris; it was like that feeling when you return home after being away for an extended period of time. I never expected to reach that point, where I would actually feel "at home" in a foreign country. At that moment, I realized that you can always adjust to a new place. Always try new things, because sometimes you'll be surprised what you find and learn.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?

I would strongly advise to follow your gut. I was debating between a few different study abroad locations, but I ended up simply following my gut and choosing Paris, and now I couldn't have imagined being in any other city. I would also advise students to take advantage of all the opportunities once abroad. There are plenty of times when you are tired and all you want to do is return to your room, get some work done, and not want to go out and explore. But a semester flies by so quickly! Take advantage of every moment! Travel and explore, but be sure to balance that traveling with time spent in your own abroad city.