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Danica McGuire '13
Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I want to serve as an International Ambassador because I want to be able to talk about my experiences and provide advice for those prospective students. My experience abroad was life-changing and I want other students to have the same, rewarding experience I did.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
First and foremost, I chose to study abroad in Costa Rica because the program interested me. I knew that this program offered two classes that I had genuine interest in and the fact that I could work with and study primates in Costa Rica was a dream come true. Costa Rica itself is a beautiful location and perfect for taking the things I had learned in my biology and anthropology classes and applying them in the field. Another factor was that this study abroad opportunity was during the summer. I knew that I wanted to study abroad but did not want a program during the year because it would have had a harsh impact on my classes that I would take during the regular school year. I talked with an adviser and she suggested this program because I would still be able to give me that unique study abroad experience, and I did not have to stress about my classes during the year.
Defining Moment Abroad?
A defining moment in my summer abroad in Costa Rica was definitely the time I spent in the field. We were asked to prepare, research, and analyze our own research projects and this was an experience that greatly affected me academically. The process of creating your own research and research design allowed me to strengthen my critical thinking skills and provided me a new found confidence in myself that I could do something this intense on my own. Having that opportunity was immensely rewarding and impacted my academic future in a positive way. Being abroad in Costa Rica also impacted me personally which, in turn, impacted me vocationally. From a young age, I knew that I wanted to work with animals; I just didn't know how I wanted to go about this. But, this experience has made all that clear. Being in the field and conducting research is something I know I want to do as a career. There is something about being free to go into a forest and see everything there is so offer; the trees, the animals, the sounds. This experience made me grateful for the world we live in and personally, made me feel good that I was contributing (even if my contribution was small) to the world of primate studies with my research.
Advice to Prospective study abroad students?
I would definitely recommend doing research on your program country and learn about the culture and customs of that particular place. It helps to know what things are different to avoid problems while your abroad. I would also recommend talking to someone who has gone on your program or has been to the place you will be going abroad. From this you can get a sense of what it's like and learn first-hand what to expect and maybe even some things to avoid. This is also helpful when you're getting ready to pack. Talking to someone can ensure you have all you need and they may be able to ease your nerves. Most importantly, have fun! This is a once in a life time experience and it's up to you to make the most of it. Looking back, I would have explored Costa Rica more when I had free time. Do not hold yourself back from utilizing your surrounding and absorbing as much as you can because you may not get a chance to go back.