Santa Clara University

Alexander Ray '12

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
 
After I returned from abroad I spent some quality time trying to reflect and discover a greater meaning hidden in the cumulative experience. After awhile I felt a little disappointed because I couldn't define what I felt in a single word or sentence. I finally concluded that what I experienced was not a cumulative event, but the collection of the most interesting and exciting independent experiences of my life. It will be many years before I forget rafting in Cairns, watching a sea turtle give birth, or the people I was with. I want to serve as an Ambassador because I want to talk to and see students before they endure this life altering several months.
 
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 
I chose Bond University primarily because I wanted to spend my time abroad in Australia, and Bond's prestigious business program allowed me to stay well on track for graduation. I also liked the proximity to the beach, the good weather, and smaller school with smaller class sizes.
 
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
 
During Halloween weekend I traveled south to Sydney. While there I stayed with a friend from back at Santa Clara who was also studying abroad. We decided to take the train out to the Blue Mountains and do some hiking as this is an activity we both enjoy. We were hiking around Wentworth Falls and found some of the most beautiful views of the mountain range. After hiking on surrounding trails we followed stairs carved out of the cliff side that descended about 200 meters the third and last pool of the waterfall. We jumped in the water and swam under the cascading water. I then sat in the fading sun and listened to my own thoughts as talking was difficult over the rumble of the water. During that reflective period I realized how far in life I had come just in the last several years. I realized that my life at Santa Clara was half gone. And as someone who worries too often about meeting my own future expectations, I realized I was capable and ready to start truly working towards substantial goals. The only thing I have figured out was why my initial response to this epiphany was to chuckle.
 
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
 
My advice for students planning on studying abroad has two parts. First I discourage people from planning on studying somewhere with friends from Santa Clara. It might be scary and uncomfortable at times, but it is not until one is significantly out their comfort zone that they are truly capable of learning about yourself. Second, as cliche it sounds, be open-minded. When you are in vulnerable situations being open-minded can be the difference between an amazing trip and regret.