Santa Clara University

Joelle Santos '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I want to provide students with feedback from such a unique abroad program, so that there is more interest in other locations that SCU Abroad has to offer. Since I was the first one ever to attend Syracuse Strasbourg from Santa Clara, I think my experience should be shared so that there is more interest towards programs that students have not yet been exposed to.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I wanted to stray away from a conventional location (i.e. not a very big city, etc.) and Syracuse Strasbourg offered a lot of interesting international studies programs as well as political science and law classes. Strasbourg was just such a refreshing location as compared to the other locations offered. There was also a very rewarding internship position opportunity offered by the program.
Defining Moment Abroad?
When I started my internship at a law firm in Strasbourg, I was faced with the challenge of working professionally in a different language. It was a language and professional skill building experience as I had to translate legal documents, attend court hearings and examine client dossiers of which I was to write a report on for my supervisor. In addition to this, there were many cultural boundaries between working in France and the American standards I was so used to. Professional life in the two countries is so different, and I was given the opportunity to not only think outside of my comfort zone, but adapt to a different lifestyle and approach to the workforce in a different country.
Advise to Prospective study abroad students?
Go abroad to learn about a different culture and lifestyle. Even if the country is english-speaking, there are still numerous cultural differences that may surprise, or even shock you. But the beauty of learning first-hand is that you gain a deeper appreciation for the culture that you are living in, as well as a better understanding of your own culture as an American student living abroad. If I could change one thing about my study abroad experience it would be to leave all my previously established conceptions of France behind, and come with an open mind (and an open stomach).