Santa Clara University

Julia Hirt '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
  Studying abroad in Barcelona has been one of the most life-changing experiences I think I will ever have in my life. Being able to expand my worldview and learn in an international setting has made me grow so much as a person. I would love to serve as an International Ambassador because I want to be able to share my experiences and enthusiasm with Santa Clara students who are hoping to study abroad.

What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
  I studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain and it was most definitely the best choice for me because I knew I wanted to be in a Spanish-speaking country. Before studying abroad, I had been lucky enough to visit other parts of Europe with my family, however, I had never been to Spain. Being able to immerse myself into a completely unknown culture was one of the most appealing reasons why I chose Barcelona.

Describe a defining moment in your abroad experience.
  One of the most defining moments in my abroad experience happened while I was going about my normal everyday activities. As I was walking on the Metro, I was stopped by a police officer who was checking to see if everyone had their tickets. I handed her my ticket and she immediately asked for my passport and told me to wait on the side of the line. The police officers informed me that they believed my ticket was stolen since I did not have my passport to prove it was actually mine. At first the officers were very serious, wanted to confiscate my ticket, and fine me 50 euros. However, through pleading my case and begging in Spanish, I was able her to let me off with just a warning. This was a defining moment during my time in Barcelona because it forced me to really use my Spanish skills and remain calm while talking to foreign authorities.

What advice would you give to prospective study abroad students?
  I would tell prospective study abroad students to expect the unexpected. With travelling and navigating your way through a new city, there are always bound to be bumps in the road and sometimes nothing goes as expected. In retrospect, I wish I would have been a better planner; my friends and I sometimes waited a week before we booked flights and hotels. If I had been more organized I could have traveled to more places as well as saved a lot of money.