Santa Clara University

Nicole Kelly '13

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I think that studying abroad is the opportunity of a lifetime. Travel is essential in this day and age to understand our increasingly global world, and to take the opportunity to incorporate it into you studies will only help you understand where you want to go in life and how you can fit into the rest of the world. Traveling helps you understand who you are and your own culture much better becasue you are able to step outside of your usual mental and physical framework. I have had an incredible experiance abroad, so I really want to help other Santa Clara students find an experiance of their own. I also would love to see more Santa Clara students come to Spring Hill Bologns. I cannot say enough good things about the program, and I think it is a good fit for Santa Clara students overall.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I chose my location because I have always wanted to go to Italy, yet I did not want to go to a city like Rome or Florence where most Americans tend to study abroad. I wanted a city with a lot to do, but also a place where I could really practice my Italian and build relationships with the Italians and the community around me. I liked the Spring Hill Bologna program becuase Bologna sounded like the perfect, small, Italian university city, and I was given the opportunity to live in a dorm with other Italians. I also wanted a program with a social justice focus because that is something I am very passionate about. At the Spring Hill program, I was able to travel to human rights conferences, take social justice focus classes, have an environmentally focused internship at WWF and form relationships with the immigrant and Rom minority communities around Bologna.
Defining Moment Abroad?
For our fall orientation, we traveled to Croatia and Bosnia to focus on social justice, human rights, and the history and aftermath of the war in the Balkans. In Bosnia, we visited the small, isolated town of Screbrenicia, the site of genocidal killings during the Bosnian war, where thousands of men and boys had been brutally murdered by Serbian forces. It was there, visiting the graves and new memorial sites, and speaking with people my age who held memeories of the atrocities that I realized I was meant to be there. Hearing the stories of these people truly solidified in my mind that I want to use this time and my education in general to fight against these horrendous human rights violations and help prevent them from occuring anywhere else. The experiance was incredible, and nothing made me understand more the opportunities I have been given in my life, and how hard I want to work not to waste them.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?

I would have spent more time researching and preparing my understanding of the history and cluture of Italy, especially the region I am living in. I feel that learning these basics have enriched my experiance, and I would have gained more much sooner if I had prepared more before arriving. i would also practice the language much more early on. I can be quite shy, so I tended to not practice until I got to know people better, yet this definitely impeded my learning of the language.