Santa Clara University

Tiffany Lee '12

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
 
I had an amazing quarter abroad and would like to share my experiences and tips to other students. It would also be a wonderful opportunity to reflect back on my time abroad.
 
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 
I chose to study in Barcelona mainly because I wanted an opportunity to practice and improve my Spanish. I had taken 4 years of Spanish in high school and a quarter at SCU and wanted to apply what I had learned. Also, Barcelona and Spain is a location rich in history and art, which are both subjects I am very interested in. I was also very interested in learning about the Spanish culture and lifestyle.
 
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
 
A defining moment in my abroad experience was when I was able to attend one of the most famous festivals in Barcelona-La Merce. My initial impression of Spaniards was not a pleasant one, and because of this, I had stereotyped all Spaniards as being cold and rude, and had the mindset that my culture was superior. However, seeing Barcelona's culture come alive during this festival changed my views, and taught me to be more open minded. At the festival, I was touched at how the public came together and celebrated their city. Their pride and spirit was uplifting, and I fell in love with the citizens of Barcelona, realizing that I had to put all my views aside and see things from another point of view in order to understand and appreciate others.
 
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
 

To prepare for the study abroad experience, I would definitely advise students to have a budget and to plan ahead. While abroad, I would advise them to arrive with an open mind, and to be willing to try new and unfamiliar things. Without an open mind, one cannot fully appreciate and absorb the amazing cultures that exist in the world. Because I had arrived with a strong view of my own country, it was not until I had come back from my experience that I realized how much more there was to each individual culture.