Santa Clara University

Danielle La Torre '13

International Ambassador

 

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I want to serve as an International Ambassador because I have the desire to share my experience abroad, as well as all that I learned. I know that there are many people in the Santa Clara community that share the same interests as me, and I would love to talk with others about life abroad. Living abroad for even just one semester definitely changes everyone's life, and it is amazing that we can all come back to Santa Clara and be united once again. Therefore, I would love to enhance that unity and share my experience with others, as well as help to prepare others for their future experience abroad.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I am an Italian Studies minor and love the Italian language. I am also fifty percent Italian, which made me interested in experiencing the genuine Italian culture. When choosing a specific city in Italy, the Syracuse University in Florence appealed to me for many reasons. The most prominent was the availability of homestays. I wanted the full immersion experience, and I knew this would not be fully available when living in a dorm with other Americans. Also, Florence as a city is both large and small at the same time, offering me a welcoming vibe while still being a active city.
Defining Moment Abroad?
A defining moment in my abroad experience was when I learned to cook with my host mother. My host mother was a traditional Italian older woman, very strict to old Italian culture. It was very eye-opening to work with her in her space, the kitchen. It allowed me to fully see how much different life really is in her house. We spoke about values and life experiences, which made me understand where she comes from and how she has built her lifestyle. This was an opportunity of a lifetime, as was the entire homestay experience. I would not replace that experience with anything, as it was fundamental to my overall semester abroad.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?

I would tell prospective students to mentally prepare themselves prior to their trip. I found that many students became caught up in the excitement and were not mentally prepared to embrace the entire study abroad experience. It is overwhelming at first, and it would be best for prospective students to acknowledge this prior to leaving. Also, it would be very helpful for prospective students to learn about the culture and landscape of their location. Without any knowledge of the city of country, it is also very difficult to become immersed the in the culture and traditions.