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Meghan Weinreich '12
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador at Santa Clara University?
I want to serve as an International Ambassador at SCU in order to provide my personal insight into the value of a study abroad experience, and to encourage fellow Broncos to take the great opportunity that Santa Clara offers to study abroad. I also want to be able to help students who will be studying in Madrid/Spain, and give them advice that I feel would be helpful to know before departing.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I have known since my high school Spanish classes that I wanted to study abroad in Spain as a college student. After lots of thought, I decided that Madrid would be the best place to work on my language skills, immerse myself in the Spanish culture, and give me the greatest ability to travel throughout Spain and Europe. I was drawn to Madrid because it is a big city with so much to offer, with a mix of modern life and lots of history as well.
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 earliest defining moments that I can recall is one of the first few times on the metro, when I realized that EVERYONE was reading something. Nobody was on their cell phone/blackberry/laptop, etc., but they were all reading. Young people and old people alike. I'm not from a big city and I'd never experienced much public transportation before going to Europe, but I was so used to people being plugged in to some sort of device or technology at all times. I'm definitely guilty of constantly texting, facebooking, and listening to my iPod, but it was different in Spain. Most read newspapers, and others read novels or homework assignments. Some metro stations even had small kiosks where you could rent books. It made me realize that people in the United States, particularly our younger generation, is generally uninformed about what is going on in the world on a daily basis, and has lost the desire to read for pleasure because of our fixation with technology.
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 them that they should definitely take the opportunity to study abroad because it is an amazing experience that will open your mind to new perspectives and cultures. It is also a wonderful opportunity to be able to travel, which is something I never would have been able to do had I not gone abroad. In retrospect, I would have PACKED LIGHTER. I brought way too much with me that was just unnecessary. Being abroad and traveling a good amount helps you learn how to only bring the bare minimum and still be able to get by.