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Douglas Renfro '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
I had such a great experience while I was abroad that I want to be able to share it with other people. Both my brothers studied abroad and were able to give me advice that allowed me to have a great time. I want to be able to do this for other people so they can have an amazing time as well.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I chose Edinburgh, Scotland because I wanted an English speaking location and I wanted to be in Europe so that I could travel to other countries. I also wanted to go somewhere different than the usual places people go like England. Finally, the University of Edinburgh looked like an excellent school.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experiences and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
The defining moment for me was when my flight back to Edinburgh from Paris was canceled and I could not get another flight back for two days. This whole experience allowed me to realize how much I can rely on myself and I grew to trust my own judgment more. Not only did I have to figure out a place to stay quickly, in a country whose language I did not speak, but when my flight was canceled a second time I had to figure out an alternative way to get home. I learned that I can get myself through more difficult situations than I thought I could.
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 tell students to have a general idea of what they want to do while abroad ahead of time. They do not need to have everything planned out but the time abroad is so short that you do not want to miss anything because you realized too late that you wanted to do something. If I were to prepare differently I would have a better idea of what I want to do in the early part of study abroad. About a month in I had everything figured out but I missed a couple things because I did not do them early on and ran out of time.