Santa Clara University

James Sontag '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I had an awesome experience in Australia and would like to encourage other students to be able to share the same adventures. I gained a lot of knowledge about Australian culture and travel tips and if I don't pass it on to someone else a lot of it will go to waste.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
My decision came down to England or Australia. I knew I wanted to go somewhere English speaking so those are the two obvious choices. I expect that in the future I will have opportunities to go to Europe but Australia is so remote that I wasn't sure when I would get another chance to go. I am a big explorer and Australia offered a lot of adventures and because I would be there in their spring and summer I figured that the weather would be optimal.
Defining Moment Abroad?
At the school I was at there is one week before finals that most classes don't meet. Most of my friends had a clear schedule and decided to do a trip to Bali. Unfortunately I had to give a presentation in just one class and as a result I could not go. After realizing I would be at school essentially alone I decided to plan a trip to the Great Barrier Reef which I had not gotten to see yet. So I researched the best things to see and the best places to stay and then booked my plane tickets. Now I consider my self a very competent traveler, but never really travel alone. I would always be with my family or friends in case any problems ever arose a solution could be figured out. After everything on my trip went well I realized that that trip was the greatest adventure I had ever done alone. I am now confident that I can do things on my own and will have no fear when it comes time to live independently.
Advise to Prospective study abroad students?
The biggest problem every person I talked to is money. Before I left I was warned that things are expensive and I will run through all my money, but I hear this warning so much that I didn't fully prepare myself. I went through my whole life savings and would absolutely do it again, but there were some experiences I missed out on due to a lack of funds.