Santa Clara University

Alyssa Salcido '12

International Ambassador

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

I would love to serve as an International Ambassador at SCU to give a first hand experience, testimony and advice to students considering going abroad. I had an amazing experience abroad, and I would like to encourage others to do the same!
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I chose Madrid, Spain because I wanted to explore my Spanish heritage, improve my spanish and be in a big city. Syracuse University's program was recommended by my sorority sister and after researching it my best friend and I knew it was the best choice for us! We were looking for a culturally rich experience, smaller program, and organized activities and opportunities which the Syracuse program offered.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
I experienced many defining moments abroad. However, one that sticks in my mind is when my friend and room mate spent our first week with our Senora in Madrid. My roomie and I had some trouble adjusting to our strict, old fashioned Spanish Senora and her rules and particularities. Initially we felt unwelcomed and uncomfortable with her house rules and the fact that she did not speak one word of English. My roomie and I considered talking to the housing coordinator to switch to another Senora. Frustrated with our living situation and the unfamiliarity of the Spanish world around us, we went out to have a glass of sangria and talk our frustrations over. That night we decided we would give our Senora more of a chance and try our best to engross ourselves in the Spanish culture and lifestyle. After another week, we were both so happy we overcame that hurdle and were enjoying developing our relationship with our Senora and with Spain. I think having an optimistic outlook while studying abroad is key to getting the most out of your experience and maturing!
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 recommend students to thoroughly research the programs offered in the location they want and to contact students who have been on the programs they are interested in, in order to get first hand knowledge from an SCU peer. I also recommend to go into the study abroad program completely open minded, and enthusiastic! There is so much to learn, experience, grow from if you are open and easy going to all the differences and experiences.