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Andrea McGann '13
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
Traveling to, living, and studying in London was one of the most exciting yet overwhelming times of my life. Luckily, I felt I had been prepared before traveling to London because of the study abroad orientation and hearing the experiences and advice of previous study abroad students. I want to make sure, help, and advise future study abroad students so they can be as prepared as I was. Feeling comfortable and prepared will no doubt help when it comes time to deal with any culture shock upon arriving, and be able to take full advantage of all the opportunities studying abroad has to offer.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
As an accounting major, the opportunity to have an internship while studying abroad and in London, the world's leading financial center, was the most significant deciding factor in my decision. Having the international internship on my resume and the professional relationships I have made have made the experience incredibly rewarding. The direct link with Santa Clara University also attracted me to the program as I knew I would be living with a good number of Santa Clara students while also still having the opportunity to meet other international students studying abroad. Lastly, I knew the cultural diversity of London would help me further develop my ability to interact with people of different backgrounds and cultures than my own.
Defining Moment Abroad?
About a month into living in London, I took a short trip to Brussels with one of my roommates. It was an amazing city and much different from London. On our way back to London I turned to my roommate and said, "Great trip, but I can't wait to get home!" Suddenly I stopped and thought to myself, "What did I just call London? My home?" But I honestly had felt London became my home in less than a month and while living in a flat with 10 other people I had never met before. I had felt so overwhelmed during my first week living in a new country with different cultural traditions and norms. I was impressed with what I had realized about myself. Learning to live in a completely new and different environment would be easy, if I opened myself up to experiencing new traditions with a good attitude. I felt so blessed to have the opportunity and happy, knowing I had grown to love the place I would be living for four months so quickly.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
I would advise students to find out who they will also be studying abroad with and get to know them before leaving. That way when you are abroad you already know some people that you can explore your new city and book travel to other countries with. I think it would also be helpful to have some familiar faces during the adjustment process. I wish I had spent time researching places while I was still home over the summer I could have traveled to over. That way, once I got to London I could have asked people if they wanted to join and wouldn't have to spend my valuable time in London doing research!