Santa Clara University

Rachel Davidson '13

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I want to share my incredible abroad experience with students interested in following the same path that I did. This is a huge decision and may change some students lives, whether or not they realize it, and I want to be apart of their preparation. My dad still tells me stories from the semester he spent in Spain, and I now realize that these last few months are what I'll be telling my children about. I remember how helpful the international ambassadors were when I was going through the preparation process before leaving the country and want to provide the same help to others this year.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I was really only looking at English-speaking programs, I wanted to go to Europe to be able to travel to other countries, I wanted to explore my own Irish heritage by getting to know the country my grandparents had emigrated from, and most importantly, I wanted to go somewhere where I didn't know anybody so I could feel fully independent.
Defining Moment Abroad?
Of the many great moments I had while in Dublin, one of the most memorable was on my twenty-first birthday when my five housemates, who were all Irish students I had just met, surprised me by decorating our apartment and lighting candles on a birthday cake with my name. Even though I had known them all for only a month, I realized how kind and sweet they were to try to make me feel at home on such an important day when I was so many miles away. Their actions reflect the general warmth and endearing nature of all Irish people.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
One key recommendation I would give to any prospective study abroad students is to not go into this experience with any preconceived ideas of what to expect and how you think your time will be. So many people say that studying abroad is both amazing and indescribable, but not everybody will have these same feelings. I found myself depressed and homesick many times because my day-to-day life didn't compare with the expectations that I had going in. Looking back, I realize that I did have the time of my life there, but that in the moment it was difficult to discern these feelings because I kept comparing my time with others who were abroad with a large group of friends. Going to Dublin alone for me was terrifying, but it turned out that the freedom and independence I found there was more liberating than anything I'd ever done before.