Meet the Spring 2018 Study Abroad Ambassadors!
Study Abroad Ambassadors are students who have recently studied abroad and are eager to share their experience, wisdom and advice with prospective study abroad students. If you need information about a particular country, program or have concerns about traveling to a new place feel free to contact an Ambassador!
Name: Leah Baird
Study Abroad Programs: Sacred Healing in Peru (Faculty-led Program)
Why I decided to study abroad: I decided to study abroad because it truly is the best way to get to know another culture, as well as expand your global knowledge!
The highlights of my study abroad trip: My favorite memory from my trip was doing service learning for a rural school in Ocopata. While my classmates cleaned up the school yard and put a fresh coat of paint on the equipment, I had the opportunity to translate for a gentleman working to improve the irrigation systems of the town. It was an extremely rewarding experience that I am so grateful for.
My favorite quote from abroad: “When I was in the Sacred Valley, an old woman told me, ‘little by little, one walks far.’ It was a very inspiring, special moment that really stuck with me throughout my study abroad experience. Progress can be gradual, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!”
Best piece of advice that I received while I was abroad or that I have for people going abroad: Honestly, just relax. Studying abroad is such an amazing opportunity. Don’t get too stressed out over the little things, like language barriers or getting a little lost. Everything will work out just fine!
My biggest concern before going abroad and advice for prospective study abroad students who may have the same concern: My biggest concern before studying abroad was probably just general safety. I had never been out of the country before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As I got there and explored around, however, I realized that I was for sure being overdramatic. I went in a group of students, so there were planned activities that we all did together. When I would get lost, everyone was extremely helpful and kind.
Post-graduate plans: I am getting my yoga teacher certification and moving to New Mexico to work as a translator!
Name: Delani Carani
Minors: Disabilities Studies
Study Abroad Program(s): Transcultural Nursing Experience in the Philippines (Faculty-led Program)
Why I decided to study abroad: I always knew I wanted to study abroad to have experiences I knew I could not get stateside. I wanted to fully immerse myself in another culture and connect with people across the world.
The highlight of my study abroad trip: Delivering a baby during a 24-hour shift; meeting all our Filipino nursing buddies; scuba diving; and island hopping!
Your favorite quote from study abroad: “You go work in America, 5 years BMW”
Best piece of advice that I received while I was abroad or that I have for people going abroad: You don’t have to go abroad with your best friends; it forces you to go outside your comfort zone and make relationships that you might not have otherwise.
What kind of issues (political, cultural, etc.) did you experience while living in a new culture (specific events, cultural practices, etc.): Jeepneys are the main mode of public transportation in the Philippines and the government is trying to phase out the older models. While we were in Iloilo, the jeepney drivers had a strike.
Post-graduate plans: After I graduate, I’ll either move to Chicago or St. Louis to work as a pediatric emergency nurse.
Name: Lauren Kammerer
Major: Romance Languages
Minors: English, Linguistics
Study Abroad Program: Exchange program at Burgos University (Spain)
Why I Decided to Study Abroad: Travel, to be honest, was the salient reason. I had wanted to experience cultures outside the US for years and this is how I finally got my chance. Also, being a colossal language nerd, I knew that full immersion would provide an important step forward in my Spanish fluency. (I was also curious about the experience of taking other foreign languages in a second language, so I took French and German classes as well. Needless to say, the struggle was very real, but I’m glad I did it.)
The Highlights of My Study Abroad Trip: I made friends from Spain, Japan, Italy, Hungary, and Sweden, just to name a few. I think that speaks for itself. I adored every single cathedral I saw, and have a hard time simply choosing a top three. And honestly, just learning how to travel on my own was very rewarding. I am also obligated to mention that my favorite place I visited was Rome.
Best piece of advice that I received while I was abroad or that I have for people going abroad: When traveling, always make sure you know exactly where you’re going. Do not be afraid to ask to make sure, even if you think you already know. And if something goes wrong, don’t panic—you’re in a foreign country. Not everything is supposed to go right. It’s all part of the experience, and disasters make the best stories anyway.
Skills I learned abroad: Navigation of public transport, which words and phrases are the most important to know when traveling, confidence in just asking for help when it’s needed, budgeting, general independence, analyzing ecclesiastical architecture, patience, hunting down free Wi-Fi in desperate situations, getting lost gracefully.
My biggest concern before going abroad and advice for prospective study abroad students who may have the same concern: I was petrified of train stations. Had no clue how to navigate them. I ended up living in a place where buses were the most efficient travel option anyway, but at this point I know that if it had been trains, I would have gotten used to it. Don’t worry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions the first few times you have to navigate unknown environments, and soon enough, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.
Name: Aurora Chen
Major: Design/ Visual Communication
Study Abroad Program(s): Lorenzo de’ Medici (Florence, Italy)
Why you decided to study abroad: Traveling has always been one of my passions and Italy has always been one of my dream places to visit. Besides, which art student would ever say no to visiting the home of Renaissance?! In addition, meeting new people around the globe, being able to survive on your own and submerge yourself into another culture without disrupting your education sounded like the dream.
Your favorite quote from abroad: “Exchange isn’t a semester in your life but a life in a semester.”
Best piece of advice that you received while you were abroad or that you have for people going abroad: “Be yourself, accept who you are and those around you, then be happy”
What (kind of skills) did you learn abroad: Handling everything – grocery shopping, paying bills, communicating with schools and locals – on my own, basically being totally independent without help from a university or parents in another country.
What was your biggest concern before going and what advice to you have for prospective study abroad students that may have the same concern as you: My biggest concern was to not prepare enough. I was stressed on what to pack, what to bring and what to expect. I made lists, watched dozens of YouTube videos and did a ton of research. Eventually, I talked to one of the girls who studied at the same place who told me just relax and bring the minimum. All you really need is the necessities because you will go shopping, you will find convenience stores all around town and you will be just fine. Worrying too much before hand only puts a lot of pressure on you and ruin all the fun. Take it easy on the shopping though, airlines are tricky, you will want to pack light leaving and returning.