Santa Clara University

Xochitl Davila '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
Studying Abroad in Alicante, Spain was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. I learned so much not only about the Spanish culture, but about myself as well. I have definitely grown from the experience. I have a different perspective about the world and about life. And I have also developed a greater passion for learning about other cultures. I decided to become an International Ambassador so that I do not forget my experienceand so that I am able to share the knowledge I gained from studying abroad with prospective students. 

Deciding factor for studying Abroad?
I always knew I wanted to study in Spain, but I did not know exactly where in Spain I wanted to study. At first I wanted to go to Barcelona, but I ended up choosing Alicante. I chose to go to Alicante because it was a city that not many people go to, so it was not hugely influenced by tourism like bigger cities are. This was a huge factor for me because I really wanted to get immersed in the Spanish culture and I definitely feel that I did. I was always speaking Spanish, I lived with a homestay family, my classes were taught by Spanish professors, and I even took classes at the Universidad de Alicante with other Spanish students. I'm glad I chose Alicante because it was an Amazing experience.

Defining Moment Abroad?
There were many defining moments abroad for me. I think my experience as a whole is a defining moment. My entire life I have only heard and studied about other countries, but I have never had the opportunity to visit them. It is one thing to learn about a different county and to see pictures of it, but it is an entirely different experience living in a different country for an entire quarter. One of the things that just blew my mind away was the rich history in Spain and in all of Europe. While abroad I had the wonderful opportunity to travel throughout Europe and visit historical sites. I cannot help but remember my first reactions when I saw the the Eiffel Tower in Paris, or the Coliseum in Rome, or even the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy. It was just unbelievable. And now that I am back in the United States I look forward to being a "tourist" here and to see  all the wonderful things our country has to offer.

Advice?
One recommendation I would make is to maximize your opportunity abroad. Get involved, immerse yourself in the culture, do no't just stay within the "American bubble" make friends who are not American, do not speak English all the time, try learning about the culture, explore, step out of your comfort zone, and most importantly have fun. "You only live once!"