Santa Clara University

Julianne Parayo '12

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara
University?


As an international ambassador at Santa Clara, I want to share my personal experience to other prospective study abroad program students. I have grown tremendously through this experience. By advocating the study abroad program, I can reflect fully not only on my experiences in London but also guide others in their decision to study abroad.

What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?

While cultural enrichment and easy assimilation were significant aspects for me to keep in mind when deciding on my study abroad location, my predominant reason for choosing London was its all-encompassing relevance to my English major. Going to London was a literary pilgrimage for me, as I got to study Shakespearean literature first-hand through multiple dimensions (I even had the privilege of watching four unique theatre productions of the literature I was studying at Shakespeare’s Globe in Southwark). I also wanted to explore my options with my Music minor, so I thought the internship program would be a good opportunity to get involved in London's cultural scene.

Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.

Several factors added to my overall experience abroad: traveling to other European countries, my internship with Concordia Foundation and my British Life and Cultures academic course all helped me contextualize my identity as an American student studying in a foreign country. While these experiences helped me to approach each new circumstance in an open-minded manner and taught me independence and self-sufficiency, perhaps my most defining experiences abroad were when I had the opportunity to interact with the British locals and youth on a daily basis. Through my internship at Concordia Foundation, a non-profit organization providing concert platforms for upcoming musicians and music education in the local scene, I had several opportunities to help teach underprivileged primary school students music in the East End of London. Teaching these children music allowed me to actively interact with them through an artistic medium intrinsic to their culture. I also was able to connect with students my age my joining a choral ensemble at Imperial College, a local university in the Kensington neighborhood where I lived. Learning, singing and connecting with these individuals daily gave me a chance to completely and immerse myself in London’s local cultural scene. These opportunities I received through my study abroad program in London gave me the chance to with other people in ways I never imagined, and even helped me redefine the way I perceive myself as an American with Filipino heritage, a woman, a student, and an
artist.

What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?

I would advise any prospective study abroad student to be always open to new opportunities and to maintain a positive attitude regardless of obstacles and difficulties they may encounter. Any experience, good or bad, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Showing resiliency in the face of adversity is one of the most indispensable traits I have developed during my time abroad. In retrospect, I would not have "hidden behind the camera" as I did during the first few weeks of the program. I was so preoccupied with recording my memories that I did not have the opportunity to immerse myself fully in the experience of the "now." Living in the moment is essential for any study abroad experience to help you grow as an individual.