Santa Clara University

Marie Adams '13

International Ambassador


Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I really enjoyed my study abroad experience, and I want to share whatever information I can with future students wanting to study abroad in Madrid, Spain.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I actually applied to another program first and then found that it was missing a course I needed.  I was really jazzed when I found out that IES - Madrid offered the class I needed, because going to Spain for study abroad has been my dream since I first started thinking about it prior to freshman year.  I have always been really interest in learning Spanish and am happy that I had the opportunity to vastly improve my language skills. The Spanish people and culture were familiar aspects of study abroad as far as reading textbooks, but no textbook can substitute the actual experience.
Defining Moment Abroad?
When I first got to Madrid, the first thing I noticed was the transportation system. It was efficient, cheap, clean, and really well planed out. I was completely in awe and wondered why I have never seen any transportation system this well planned out in the US. It re-enforced my decision to be a civil engineer, and has steered me in the direction of transportation as my emphasis. Throughout the Study Abroad experience, I took notice of how people (Spanish, American, ect.) viewed the world and life it's self. Many of these views I will take with me on my journey through life. However, what I really learned was how I view things. I see the world through the eyes of an engineer or a physicist; I seem to always leap to a way to explain events and objects using physics. For instance, a friend and I were watching the clouds in Madrid during sunset and commenting on how pretty it was. I explained the beauty in terms of refraction and reflection (light), where as he explained it in terms of color and nature. I had never noticed this side of me before.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
I feel that I was almost completely prepared for my study abroad experience. The one thing that I was not prepared for was getting homesick three months into study abroad for the first time ever. But this was not homesickness for home or my family in Washington, this was homesickness for SCU and the friends that were still there.  I hope to prepare students for what to expect in Madrid, for classes, traveling, and the unexpected events that may occur (i.e. homesickness).  Also, if you have the opportunity to live in a home stay, I highly recommend it!  It was the best way to get to know the language and culture, and I would not have had this opportunity had I lived in an apartment.