Meet the Spring 2017 ambassadors!
Name: Douglas Stubbs
Study Abroad Programs: ISEP – Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia
Why I decided to study abroad: I wanted to experience new cultures and challenge my world perspectives.
The highlights of my study abroad trip: My highlights include participating in a traditional class, white water rafting, traveling Thailand, and spending time with other international students in the dorms.
My favorite quote from abroad: “Life is a journey not a destination”.
Best piece of advice that I received while I was abroad or that I have for people going abroad: My advice would be to research the country’s cultural customs before you leave and try your hardest to follow these customs.
My biggest concern before going abroad and advice for prospective study abroad students who may have the same concern: My biggest concern was not knowing anyone attending the university abroad. My advice is to have an open mind and seek opportunities to meet the locals. Also, attend all international events to meet other international students in the same position as you. Have fun and relax. You will make friends.
Name: Josephine Lampe
Minors: Actuarial Science, Statistics, and Linguistics
Study Abroad Program(s): Shanghai University Exchange Program, China
Why I decided to study abroad: To immerse myself in a new culture, to expand my world view, to gain an international education, I had the room in my schedule, to make the most of my time at college
The highlight of my study abroad trip: Visiting Beijing and hiking on the Great Wall, Seeing the thousands of Terra Cotta Warriors staring back at me, making friends from literally all over the world since I was the only American in my program, being able to be my mom’s tour guide around Shanghai at the end of the semester since I had become so familiar with the city
Best piece of advice that I received while I was abroad or that I have for people going abroad: Take the adjustment to the new culture one day at a time.
Skills I learned abroad: I learned to be way more flexible, which helped my problem-solving skills improve. I also became more confident in my ability to travel alone, be spontaneous, and interact with people from all sorts of backgrounds.
My biggest concern before going abroad and advice for prospective study abroad students who may have the same concern: My biggest concern was being unable to go to church while abroad, but Shanghai has many churches that are open to foreign visitors.
Name: Thomas Mattek
Study Abroad Program(s): Moroccan
Why you decided to study abroad: Because I wanted to experience a north African country steeped in a rich culture, and experience a piece of the Islamic world firsthand. Because I wanted to challenge myself and push my own limits. Because travel is a catalyst for change.
The highlights of your study abroad trips: Visiting the far north and south ends of Andalucia, the Arabic-speaking, multi-religious culture that once encompassed Morocco and southern Spain. To the far south lies the Talifat oasis, a gorgeous rural region with long-ruined palaces and sand dunes. The the far north is Cordoba, the Spanish city at a crossroads between the Christian and Islamic worlds. As a student of history seeing these far flung ends of a vibrant and enduring culture was nothing short of incredible.
Your favorite quote from abroad: There’s a simple phrase in Arabic which I find is endlessly useful: “Insha Allah.” It means ‘if God wills it’, but it’s applied to any uncertain situation. “The Taxi will arrive, insha Allah.” It’s a way to remind yourself to relax, to avoid stressing over things that are out of your control. But it can also be used to express sincere hope and long- “I will make it home, Insha Allah.”
Best piece of advice that you received while you were abroad or that you have for people going abroad: Don’t sweat the small stuff, but guard your most important possessions(credit cards, passport, ID, phones) with your life. If you need it to get back home than you need to know exactly where it is. As a corollary, be prepared to lose something if it’s not as important to you-especially if it’s not insured.
What kind of issues (political, cultural, etc.) did you experience while living in a new culture (specific events, cultural practices, etc.): Hitting upon faux pas through false assumptions is hard to avoid without careful observation, and in particular with sensitive Moroccan political issues I would voice certain statements from ignorance. The issue of Western Sahara, a country annexed in 1974, was a raw nerve which I touched more than once. The only real way to avoid these situations is to know everything you could possibly do wrong, which is impossible. Much better to be respectful and willing to apologize than to be paralyzed from fear of offense.
What was your biggest concern before going and what advice do you have for prospective study abroad students that may have the same concern as you: My biggest concern was that some catastrophic change in my preparations would happen. And it did! My airline lost my luggage that I had carefully packed, but it wasn’t the end of the world-I bought new clothes, washed my carry on luggage frequently, and got it back. The biggest thing I’d say is if you think something could go wrong then prepare for it if it does. Have a backup plan, but also realize that it’s not the end of the world, and that every problem can be solved.
Post-graduate plans: I have neither a plan or a backup yet. It’ll work out, Insha Allah.
Name: Enrique Eskeda
Major: Orchestral Conducting (Music)
Study Abroad Program(s): Lucca, Italy
Why you decided to study abroad: The international experience is always unique and allows you to grow personally, professionally and academically.
Your favorite quote from abroad: Do everything you want to do. Don’t leave it only in plans!
Best piece of advice that you received while you were abroad or that you have for people going abroad: Go everywhere, do everything, experience it all! Travel!
What (kind of skills) did you learn abroad: Been able to communicate in more than two languages, learn universal history and world culture, learn how life works from different perspectives, different ways to do music in different languages.
How will you apply your study abroad experiences in the future: I’m currently applying for a doctorate program in Europe.
Post-graduate plans: Doctorate in Music.