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Santa Clara University

Faculty, Staff and Alumni Profiles

Picture of Duane Voigt
Duane Voigt

How would you define your international education experience? 

  • Study Abroad Student
  • Long-time Educator Abroad

What was your international education experience like?

I spent my junior year of college on a full year study abroad program at the University of London, Bloomsbury. This was in the early years of studying overseas, with very few undergraduates taking advantage of this opportunity. Having grown up and attending college in rural Minnesota, this was indeed an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. Living in a large house with other students from across the US and other countries, and then experiencing daily new life adventures in a very cosmopolitan city was fascinating and at times challenging. But I loved it. In addition to the academic classes, London’s dynamic environment and daily intercultural interactions proved to be the best learning experience I could ask for. Returning to central Minnesota for my senior year required some readjustment, but as a Resident Assistant during my final year, I was able to promote my overseas study experience to a good number of enthusiastic first-year students.

What message do you have to share with students and community members about the importance of international education?

That year of study abroad transformed my life and helped shape my values in so many ways. Opening my eyes to new ways of thinking, and experiencing divergent viewpoints from what had been a narrow-focused mindset facilitated a more empathetic attitude to those different from me. I was able to better appreciate what I had previously often taken for granted. It also opened up my interest in exploration and study of diverse cultures and my appreciation for travel. Since then, I’ve worked in an education capacity with various cultures and in various settings, including living and working for twelve years abroad, in Taipei, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. I have been active in facilitating diversity and multicultural education programs for a number of years, and I owe this to a large degree to this invaluable study abroad experience.