Santa Clara University

Jessica Dickey '12

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
 
I want to serve as an International Ambassador at SCU because I want to make sure that anyone else looking to go abroad has an experience like mine - something more than I could have ever expected or asked for. Personally, nothing could have gone more perfectly when being abroad in Rome, and traveling throughout Europe, and for that reason I want to make sure that future students studying abroad experience nothing but the same flawlessness that I myself did.
 
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 
There were two main factors in my decision to study in Rome. The first was language. I had taken Italian all of my sophomore year at Santa Clara, so I already felt comfortable and confident speaking the language. I think having this ability really helped in the first weeks of being in Rome because for a lot of students language was the most intimidating as well as frustrating aspect that we had to adapt to. In a way, I felt as if I was a step ahead of students who had no previous experience with Italian. The second factor in choosing Rome was that I wanted a central location; one that I could not only travel to other parts of Europe rather easily from, but more importantly one that I could travel to other parts of Italy from. It was very important to me to get to know the Italian culture, from the Northern to Southern regions, for being abroad could have been the only opportunity in my life in which I truly got to know a culture outside of the United States.
 
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
 
The defining moment of my abroad experience took place on the first day of a ten day trip to Greece with my school. Sitting on a hill in the area of Sounio, with the Temple of Poseidon behind me, and the Sea of Crete in front of me, I realized that I was the luckiest person in the world (in my eyes at least).     I was surrounded by new friends, in a country I had only dreamed of visiting one day, and was only half way through my abroad adventures. As I sat there, I realized that although I was comfortable with my life back in the United States, I needed something more. So at that moment, I made a promise to myself to always throw myself out there - to try new things, to travel as much as I could, to talk to complete strangers (for you truly never know when someone may become your new best friend), and to never, ever hold back. There is SO much that this world has to offer, and now that I know that, I have realized that I have only just begun what will be lifelong journey.
 
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
 

Throw yourself out there! Don't hold anything back, because I promise, you will blink and it will all be over. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience - you grow as a person, you learn things you thought you never would, you meet people who are absolutely irreplaceable, and you make memories that can never be forgotten. Try to speak the language. Eat the food that looks disgusting, but that locals love. Be patient. Take a million and a half pictures. Explore on your own. Get lost. And overall, don't be ashamed to hold that GIANT tourist map.