Santa Clara University

Morgen Oswood '12

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
 
I would love the opportunity to share my abroad experience with others and encourage future abroad students to take this chance of a lifetime. I believe I have many perspectives and helpful information that would help students in their abroad experience and in adjusting at first. I would love to stress that such an experience forever changes you for the better and helps you grow as an individual.
 
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
 
I always had the desire to study abroad and have always wanted to travel to Italy. My cousin studied there in college and could not say anything but positive remarks. In addition, I took Italian here at Santa Clara and that got me excited about a new culture and wanting to experience it first-hand. I also enjoy history, art history, museums, and sightseeing. Italy has all of this and so much more! The program I went through also offered the home stay experience and that was an aspect I wanted to try, and absolutely ended up loving. It truly made my experience abroad.
 
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
 
One of the most important moments for me abroad was when my parents came to visit Florence and had dinner with me and my host family. My parents do not speak Italian and my host parents do not really speak English. Nevertheless, words meant little that night because it was apparent that everyone had the desire to interact, learn and understand, and be there with one another. In this moment my two worlds combined for the better. Each person was enthusiastic about being there together and through hand gestures, smiles, and laughter we all came to know one another. This moment will forever hold a special place in my heart because not only were two groups of people that I hold dear getting to know one another, but in that moment I witnessed the ways in which people and cultures are so similar. All one needs to understand is taking the time and effort.
 
What advises, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
 

Live in the moment...I have never had time go by so fast in my entire life. Take each day, each trip, and each experience for what it truly is and how it may influence you personally. Try new things, whether it is food, traveling, or a variety of activities. Be open to people and take the time to get to know your host family or the many people you meet along the way. In retrospect, less is more when it comes to packing. Look into potential trips or locations before you leave and brush up on your language. In addition, review your application and make sure everything is set up the way you wish (ie: rooming situation-single vs roommate). Most importantly, live with a host family because you truly learn the culture and will develop life-long relationships.