Santa Clara University

bloggers abroad

Meet the Bloggers

The bloggers are Santa Clara students who are currently studying abroad in a Fall 2010 term while participating in a Global Research Fellowship in partnership with Dr. Dennis Gordon (Political Science), Mr. Vid Raatior (International Programs). Funded by a research grant from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara, the Fellows are conducting research on the impact of study abroad students on the local communities. These blogs are their reflections on the six research questions for which they are conducting field observations. Be sure to click on the "More Information" to read the blogs.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the SCU Global Research Fellows and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Santa Clara University or any employee thereof. Santa Clara University is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by these student bloggers.

 
Brigitte in New Delhi, India

Brigitte M. Clark

Global Research Fellow

Brigitte is a sophomore at Santa Clara University where she is a contracted cadet in the Army ROTC, and is majoring in liberal studies. She will be participating in the IES Delhi program in India in hopes that she can bring back what she will learn for both her military and teaching career.  She is excited to explore the cities, converse with the people (in Hindi), and completely immerse herself in the cultures and traditions that India has to offer.  So dress her up in a sari and bring on the spicy food, because she is ready to start her adventure!

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Michelle in Vienna

Michelle D'Arpino '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Michelle D'Arpino and I am a student at Santa Clara University currently studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. Just a couple things about me... I am a History and Communications major, and love to seek adventure. I'm overjoyed to be embarking on this adventure and look forward to all of the wonderful adventures that come ahead. I have yet to understand the Austrian culture in its entirety. I plan to fully immerse myself in Austria's chamber music nightlife, visual arts, scenic landscapes, rich history, and heavenly desserts such as apple straudel. For three months I will seek to personify what it means to be a study abroad student in Austria, and to also see the world through another way of life. As each day passes and draws nearer to my arrival in Vienna, I can't help but feel more and more apprehensive, overwhelmed with excitement, confident, and intellectually awakened. It almost seems unbearable to know that fact that I will have to wait over ninety more days as to what exactly my adventures will embody as I anticipate to travel, in a whole new setting.

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Anne in Shanghai, China

Anne Deng '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Annie Deng. I will be a sophomore studying abroad in Shanghai, China for Fall of 2010. I am a Marketing major with a minor in Environmental Studies. I chose to study abroad to further my knowledge of the chinese language and to gain a deeper understanding of my culture. I am looking forward to the new experience ahead. I am excited to immerse myself into a different environment, to learn about the culture and try new things. I am a little worried about adapting at first, but hopefully, I will learn to adjust quickly. One of the things I am most looking forward to is trying all the different cultural food. I am a little scared about being on my own in a different environment, however, this experience will also contribute to my personal growth. Lastly, I am excited to go travel around and be an active tourist.

 
 
Diana in El Salvador

Diana Fitts '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Diana Fitts, an English major and Philosophy minor, and I will be a junior studying abroad in El Salvador with the SCU Casa de la Solidaridad program in the Fall. Reaching the end of the school year, I have never been more excited or nervous about the prospects ahead (and I am sure this feeling will only grow stronger as August approaches!) I selected the Casa program because of the way in which the required community service element will force me out of my comfort zone, allowing me to discover what it really means to be abroad in a foreign country. I am looking forward to the language blunders, connecting with SCU students and students from around the country who share my passion for social justice, and expressing my experience through my academics with classes in Spanish (eek!) and a Creative Writing Independent Study.
I have never felt such a bizarre combination of nervousness, apprehension, curiosity, awe, and EXCITEMENT!! Although I will be surrounded by the always supportive SCU community, I am anticipating the challenges ahead. I have never had to live in a country where the primary language is not English, which naturally makes me nervous. I keep thinking, what if I am in a restaurante and the waitor askes me whether I want pollo o pavo and in my confusion I order pescado and end up with a big fish head on my plate? I guess that would make for a good blog post, right? However, not only do I feel nervous and apprehensive about the prospects of these mishaps, they make me extremely excited. From where else will I come away with life-long stories, memeories of people and connections I will never forget. I'm sure I will be in awe of what I find. I am probably ignorant of how big the world actually is and cannot wait to be in awe of its grandeur.

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Rebecca Gonzalez '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Rebecca and I will be studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain next fall. I come from a Mexican family in which I am the oldest of three kids. I am a Psychology and Spanish double major with a minor in Urban Education. I look forward to being a Junior in the upcoming year.

I am really excited to be studying abroad because this will be my first time traveling to Spain. I am a huge fan of FC Barcelona and I look forward to attending some of their games (hopefully even see Messi!) Although I have this huge excitement in me, I also feel nervous and scared. This will be my first time going away from my family. I live 30 minutes away from SCU so I see my family every weekend. Knowing that I will be away from my friends, my family, and my little nephew for a semester makes me nostalgic already. I will be missing birthdays, Halloween, and Thanksgiving! Living in a whole different country is somewhat scary. How do other people live? What do they eat? What are their customs? Will lack of diversity affect me in any way? Most importantly, will I fit in? So many questions are racing through my head just waiting to be answered. Now, I have to start packing and get ready for a memorable experience! :)

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Kristyn in Barcelona.

Kristyn Heath '12

Global Research Fellow

I am a current sophomore business management major. I was born and raised in Fremont, CA and live there with my parents and younger sister when not at school. I was a member of the school's Multicultural Center executive board this past year and really enjoyed my involvement there and the opportunity to learn about other cultures. In my free time I like to hang out with friends, watch movies, and read books (Toni Morrison and James Patterson are my favorite authors). I also love listening to music and learning about the different artists and genres that my friends recommend.

I am nervous, curious, anxious, impatient, and extremely excited to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain. It's amazing to think that I've been preparing for this trip for almost a full year now. I've done my research and now it's just a matter of figuring out the logistics (ie applying for my visa and determining where I'll live once I get back). I find myself researching Barcelona during "study breaks" and I can definitely see myself there next fall. I know I'd love it there and I can't wait for August 31st, the day I depart. I've never traveled abroad without my parents and I've definitely never been away from home for 3 1/2 months. So, the idea of going to Spain by myself is scary, but at the same time, it's thrilling. I'd compare it to riding the Invertigo at California's Great America theme park. When I look at the rollercoaster while standing in line, waiting for hours, it seems huge and terrifying. But after I finally ride it, I feel a sense of accomplishment and want to get back on the coaster. Somehow all of the fears and anxieties I once had disappear. I believe I'll feel the same way upon returning to SCU in the winter. Wish me luck!

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Katharine in Kenya & Tanzania.

Katharine Kurtz '11

Global Research Fellow

My name is Katie Kurtz and I am currently heading into my senior year, majoring in Bioengineering and Biology.  I realized this year (junior year) that my SCU experience needed something more before I graduate; so by talking with advisers and professors, I was able to make the fall of my senior year possible abroad in Kenya and Tanzania!  For almost four months, I will be exploring and examining African wildlife, the beautiful environment and scenery, as well as focusing on how to manage and conserve these animals and ecosystems.  I will be spending the majority of my time outside in the wild, sleeping in African huts called bandas within the field stations.  It's sure to be an unforgettable adventure, and I hope I can share the experience with you!

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Sean in Amman, Jordan.

Sean Lawrence '12

Global Research Fellow

Sean Lawrence is a senior at Santa Clara University studying political science. Sean grew up in Seattle, WA, and long intended to study film in college. Upon introduction to coursework in political science, Sean quickly realized that the study of governments and public policy was where his interest lay. He still loves film, as well as reading, camping, music, and especially travel. The Middle East and its political organization is of particular interest to Sean as he is also a student of the Arabic language. Sean hopes to work for the U.S. State Department as an advisor on relations with Middle Eastern nations when he graduates in the spring of 2011.

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Izzy in London, England.

Izzy Malouf '12

Global Research Fellow

I'm extremely excited about studying abroad; I've never had an extended stay longer than 2 weeks anywhere besides my hometown so this is a new and challenging event.  I'm a little apprehensive about what will happen once I'm there in a whole new world: will I like it? Will people like me? Will I be prepared to react in the appropriate manner?  I'm definitely engrossed in planning the logistics of the experience (storing stuff, what to pack, etc.), which is a little overwhelming considering it's finals week and I won't be back at SCU until September of 2011.  I'm intensely curious about what new opportunities await me: I've already found a rock climbing gym in London that is about a half hour Tube ride away from Foundation House.  I can't wait to get there!  I'm also wondering what people I'm going to meet and what experiences I'm going to have.  Think about it: you never could have imagined the world you stepped into when you went to college. At least not me: I am the first person to come to SCU from my high school ever. I didn't know a soul coming into college.  Supposedly, you meet the friends you'll have for the rest of your life here, which is a daunting concept when you're looking at moving clear across the country to place you've never seen and people you can't even imagine.  The same principal applies to study abroad: I suppose everything I'm feeling now I felt the summer before I came to college as well.

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Jada Marsden '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Jada Marsden. I'm a sophomore at Santa Clara University majoring in Sociology and Women's & Gender Studies. I'm am studying abroad in the exchange program at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby in Canada. I love editing photos on Photoshop, watching vlogs on YouTube, reading free scholarly articles online, trying to play the guitar, running, and playing tennis with my family.

Right now, I'm feeling excited, nervous, ambivalent, scared, and hopeful about my trip abroad -- all at the same time! I'm happy that school is ending but that just means that the next big thing in my life is study abroad. While I'm excited for a new adventure, I'm also nervous and scared about starting what is basically a new "me" in a different country. In all honesty, I had a rather hard time adapting to life at Santa Clara my first year. When all of my high school friends went to college with people they knew, I was at college all by myself with no friends and family to rely on. Only now, two years later, do I feel more myself. Even then, I often ask myself, "Can I ever feel truly comfortable being me?" I worry about these thing for my time studying abroad since thirteen weeks in a foreign country is hardly a gradual change. But I guess adapting and going with the flow is part of the learning experience. As the She & Him song goes, "Change is hard, I should know."

 
 

Jessica Mendence '12

Global Research Fellow

I am a sophomore Accounting and Psychology double major who is also trying to minor in Religious Studies. In the fall, I plan to study abroad in Florence, Italy for three and a half months. I have very little experience traveling; the farthest place I have been is the Caribbean Islands. I chose to go to college close to home, so the longest I have ever been away from my family is two weeks. Also, I don't know one word of Italian.

Five adjectives that describe my feelings as I prepare for my abroad experience are terrified, nervous, unprepared, confused, and excited. I am terrified because I do not like being in places that I am not familiar with and I do not like being far from home. Also, I am afraid that I will not enjoy myself and will want to come home early. I am nervous because I feel uneasy about traveling, especially alone; a part of me is dreading going and just wants to get it over with. Additionally, I am completely unprepared since I do not speak the language at all and I have no idea how I am going to communicate with the locals there. I am confused because I don't know what the culture will be like in Italy and I don't know what to expect. Lastly, I am feeling excited. This is a great opportunity for me and I know it will be an adventure that I will remember for the rest of my life.

 
 
Nimo in London,England

Nimo Sheikh-Ali

Global Research Fellow

My name is Nimo Sheikh-Ali and I am a sophomore at the Santa Clara University. I have a large family and I am of Somali decent and have grown up in California for the majority of my life. My interests vary greatly from playing basketball to watching classic movies to playing sports. I am an open-minded individual who tries to see the positive aspects of life and not let complications hold me back. I enjoy adventures and trying new experience wherever I might be.

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Riva in London.

Riva Sutanto '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Riva Sutanto, an international student from Indonesia. My nationality constitutes an integral part of me because I love my country. I love the spicy foods, the cool places to see, and of course, the loved ones I left behind. But I'm also an avid traveler and so far, living the USA for my college education hasn't been too much of a challenge. My other great love is anything to do with books. I'm an English major and I always look forward for anything new that I can read (although I have a soft spot for travel writing so I can indulge in some armchair travel when I can't fly).

I'm excited to go to London for Fall 2010 because the only other time I went to London I only stayed for four days... Not enough to experience a city!

 
 

Sarah Tkach '12

Global Research Fellow

Sarah Tkach is a senior at Santa Clara University pursuing a major in
history and a minor in French & Francophone Studies. Like many of you,
she was unfamiliar with Burkina Faso, and as a Francophile, she had
anticipated studying abroad in France. However, this opportunity seized
her attention. Sarah loves asking questions and is excited to learn
about Burkina Faso. Her interests include going to museums and playing
sports, so she’s hoping to go to a Burkinabé soccer game! Currently, she
feels open to whatever is going to happen abroad, and ready to dive into
summer preparations (rounds of vaccines anyone?).

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Philip in New Zealand

Philip White '12

Global Research Fellow

My name is Philip Brown White, and I am a Political Science major with an Econ minor.  I am from Honolulu, Hawaii and I will be studying abroad at the University of Auckland in the north island of New Zealand starting this coming July.  I am also part of the Student Ambassadors program, as well as being the president of the men's Club Volleyball Team at SCU.  Along with volleyball, I am an avid surfer and bodysurfer and hope that New Zealand will bring me good surf. I love Hawaiian style food and a good steak is the way to my heart.

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