Santa Clara University

Philip Witt '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I benefitted greatly from the advice I received from the students who informed me about the study abroad experience before I left. I would like to be given the same opportunity to help those who will study abroad in the future and I feel that I have some valuable insight as a result of my experience.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I had some ability to speak Spanish before leaving for Spain so I felt that immersing myself in the culture would be a good opportunity for me to improve upon those skills. As well, I had met two friends from Barcelona when I was younger and they had only great things to say about their city. I would say the icing on the cake was SCU's affiliation with the Barcelona program, which made me feel more certain that my classes would transfer adequately.
Defining Moment Abroad?
Living in a homestay probably would not have been my first choice, but being required to live in one actually ended up being a tremendously valuable part of my experience. My host mother spoke no English and so I was constantly forced to improve my Spanish speaking in order to interact smoothly. In addition to the language factor, I believe I learned a lot about Spanish/Catalan culture by conversing during dinner. At first our conversations were very basic, but as I moved on throughout the semester I was able to gain a greater understanding and the talks became more meaningful. I have no doubt that the homestay contributed to my overall experience in Spain.
Advise to Prospective study abroad students?
I would have packed less, I didn't need as many things as I thought, especially because my host mother did laundry very frequently.    I would have tried to learn more about the Barcelona area before leaving in order to have a grasp for the layout of the city by the time I arrived.