Santa Clara University

Elizabeth Morgan '13

International Ambassador

Why do you want to serve as an International Ambassador?
I want to serve as an International Ambassador at SCU because my experience abroad has been hands down the best experience of my life. I want to encourage others to take this experience for all that it is worth and advise them on how to go about doing so. I have incredible insight to share on the amazing city I studied abroad in and I hope to be able to share it with everyone who is interested. I would like to help students understand why studying abroad is important and why it should not be taken for granted. In particular, I would like to share my experiences abroad and inform others on how it changed my perspective of the world and such a different culture.
Deciding factor for studying abroad?
I am an Art History major and I was very interested in the Italian Renaissance, so Florence was the best option for me. Syracuse has an incredible campus and Art History program in Florence, and I could not have made a better decision. Not only was I enthralled by the academics of the program, but the city itself was a perfect fit for me. Florence is big enough that you won't get bored, but small enough to be (almost) conquered in four months. It really felt like home after just one month. There is so much to do, see, and eat that the city's charm will never get old. I must say I had my doubts about the homestay option, but after living with such an amazing Italian family and meeting my friends' homestay families, I could not have been happier with my decision to do the homestay. You really learn and understand the culture and language so much better in that environment.
Defining Moment Abroad?
While in Florence, I became obsessed with the 'Lost Leonardo.' There has been a Leonardo da Vinci painting missing for 500 years now, and just my luck--while I was there, it was found. I became incredibly involved in the search for the lost da Vinci and followed the entire mystery every second of every day. This reinforced my love and passion for art and gave me another outlet to focus on even back in the US. This affected me personally by giving me something that I really cared about. It affected my intellectually and academically because it tested my knowledge and limits. I learned more about Renaissance Art History just through my experience in searching for this lost painting. In one semester, I learned more about art, history, Italian culture, and myself than I have anywhere else.
Advise to Prospective study abroad students?
I don't think I would have prepared any differently. I was excited, but didn't hold expectations. I would advise students to really take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity. Living in a foreign country for four months is something that not many people are fortunate enough to do, so really put your all into it. Don't hold back. Do absolutely everything. See all the sights, learn all the history, learn the language, eat the food, meet people who are not American, and really live the lifestyle. Sit in your room as little as possible--take advantage of everything the city has to offer!