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Lauren Murray '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
I LOVED my experience abroad and I think it is very important to educate those students interested in going about exactly what the experience has to offer. I would have to have a student miss out on this opportunity and I would love to share my experience and help those who want to go make that a reality. I also want to meet other student who went abroad and hear about their experiences.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I wanted to go somewhere I could be challenged. That required two things. The first was a place that I did not know the language. That is why Italy was perfect. Second I wanted to go somewhere where there would not be a lot of SCU students. I wanted to have my own experience. Along with those factors, I knew I wanted to go to Europe , I knew that I was interested in a big city and I knew that I wanted to live in an apartment. This gave me the opportunity to live just like a young adult would that living in the city. I made the perfect choice!
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
I think the whole experience changed as soon as I would walk down the street, or be in the metro, and someone would as me for directions. This was important to me for many reasons. First, I was able to speak the language and help people. Second, I looked like I was Italian! I was starting to fit in. I became a part of the city. I rode the metro to school and to friends houses and I walked the streets just like any other Italian in the city. Living or working abroad can be scary but, after my experience, I know that when I go to work/live in Europe later in life I can do it. It took going abroad for me to realize that spending more time over there is important to me. I love the challenge.
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
Research but leave some things a mystery. I think I could have done a little bit more research on logistical things. For example, how to get a cellphone (and not get scammed) But I think it was a good idea to go in with a fresh start. Make things challenge and learn as you go. On that note, I would advise a prospective student to travel as much as possible. You only have 4 months and they need to make the most of it! Also, it is so important to get to know your city! I would have figured out the cell phone before I got there. I ended up going with a bad one just because it was convenient but I ended up paying for it down the road. Looking into the weather would have been helpful. Packing was hard, especially since you get every kind of weather in Milan. When I got there in August it was VERY hot and when I left it was snowing. I had to pack for everything. I ended up packing too much summer stuff even though the summer weather didnt last much long after I arrived there.