Study Abroad Ambassador Program
Meet the 2013-2014 Study Abroad Ambassadors!
Program: Peking University, China
Majors: International Business, Marketing, Chinese
My Story: During Golden Week in China, everyone has the week off from work due to holidays, so it is the premiere time to travel for many families. As a part of my term in China, I gathered four of my friends, and we all made the trip to the mountains of ZhangJiaJie where Avatar was filmed. As I was the only one in the group that spoke Chinese, it was definitely an adventure. None of us saw another foreigner during our entire trip, and nobody spoke English, including our tour guide. I quickly had to learn the local slang, listen attentively, and focus on times and locations. Our bus driver and tour guide would often drop us off and tell us to meet at another location, so I had to make sure what I heard was correct, or my friends and I would be stranded. In our time there, we were able to sit atop mountains that were thousands of feet in the air, ride in cable cars that gave us an amazing view, and experience the local traditions and customs. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I was able to give my friends and I an experience they won’t soon forget. I’m so happy I went on this trip because I was able to see a beautiful part of China that few foreigners have ever seen, and everyone returned to Beijing safely.
Program: Macquarie University, Australia
Major: Biology, Sociology minor
My Story: While abroad in Sydney, Australia, I had the opportunity to experience a trip that so many people are never able to do throughout their lifetime. I chose to participate in the One Fish Two Fish Spring break during the last 2 weeks of September 2012 which was a bus tour from Brisbane, Australia to Cairns, Australia. Our trip began at the Steve Irwin Australia Zoo which has always a dream of mine to visit where I was able to pet kangaroos, hold koalas, and see the saltwater crocodiles that the “Crocodile Hunter” has made so famous. After our visit to the zoo, we spent the next 4 days on Fraser Island, the Whitsunday Islands, and sailing back to Airlie Beach. During this time we spent hiking around the island, swimming in a freshwater lake, and snorkeling some of the inner reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. Once we returned, we drove to Cairns which is home to one of the largest backpacker populations in Australia where we prepared for our final activities. We bungee jumped from 164 feet, swam around a rainforest waterfall, and dove an outer reef of the Great Barrier Reef where we were able to get up close with clownfish, giant clams, and the amazing coral structures. There is no wonder why this trip was one of my greatest experiences while in Australia and I am so blessed I was able to visit such an amazing country.
Program: Liverpool Hope University, England
My Story: Hello, my name is Lindsay Crawford. I am a senior and will be graduating in the spring with my bachelors in Sociology with a minor in Psychology and Public Change and Advocacy. Last fall I studied abroad in Liverpool, England and had the most memorable experiences. Apart from my studies I planned trips around the UK and Europe with friends that I met abroad. I love to travel because I love to discover what’s unique about each culture and I believe it is very important to not only learn about them, but to share in those experiences as well. I look forward to being a Study Abroad Ambassador to share and encourage all students of different backgrounds to engage in these experiences and to witness what the world has to offer them. North Central has many incredible programs on campus for students and it is important that the students learn what opportunities are available so that they can reach out and take advantage of them!
Program: American College of Greece, Athens, Greece
My Story: To be honest, I had no idea that studying abroad would have this much of an impact on me. Traveling by myself to a country where I didn’t speak their native language, is the most terrifying thing ever, so who knew that I would fall in love with the country. Personally, my experience has been the highlight of my life so far. I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. I would say, my favorite part of studying abroad was meeting people from all around the world. I didn’t only meet native greeks, but people from Denmark, Egypt, Yemen, South Africa and the list goes on. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend 8 months learning about all these cultures, traditions and their languages. As a person, I feel like I have grown, becoming more independent, spontaneous, open minded and educated. In my eyes, the opportunities I am willing to take now include traveling all over the world, instead of just staying in the states, which is very exciting. My first step might be heading back to Greece for graduate school, or even moving abroad to a different country to have another experience of a lifetime.
Program: University of Dundee, Scotland
Majors: Political Science, Global Studies
My Story: It sounds cliché but studying abroad was the most incredible experience of my entire life. I had never even been on an international flight let alone to another country before I studied abroad! Visiting Scotland was a dream of mine since I was a little kid. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I would be studying abroad in the place I had dreamed of visited for so long. It is hard to describe Scotland without describing its beauty. On our way to Dundee from the airport, I was in awe at how beautiful everything was. There is so much green and hill after hill after hill. Coming from Illinois, the land of flat, Scotland was a different world. Right on the coast of the North Sea, Dundee and much of its surrounding cities have the luxury of being on the waterfront. One of my favorite things to do was wake up early and go for walks near the water. The best thing about studying abroad in Dundee was the city itself. Dundee, the fourth largest city in Scotland, is a truly Scottish city. There is very little commercial or outside influence. Most of the people you meet and their families have been Dundonians for generations. Dundee is an industrial city and as such, the people are down to earth and incredibly kind. It doesn’t feel touristy at all but genuine and warm. I can’t wait to go back and re-explore Dundee again! My fourth months went by too fast. Enjoy it while you are there and take advantage of every opportunity!
Program: Freie University, Germany
Majors: Management, German
My Story: During the six week break between semesters I started an internship at die Ballschule Heidleberg (HBS), an after school fitness program for kids. Although I started off as a marketing/consulting intern, I soon started working with the kids. I still translate documents for HBS, and recently applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to return to Germany to teach English and further my work with the HBS. It was and continues to be the most rewarding work/experience of my life.
Program: University of Glasgow, Scotland
Majors: English (Literature), Theatre
My Story: I've been really enjoying exploring the beautiful Scottish landscape. During our international student welcome week, the international student office at Glasgow organized a number of trip options. I decided to visit Stirling Castle and Glengoyne Distillery. Stirling Castle is beautiful; it sits right on the border of the highlands and the lowlands. While we were there, I decided I needed to climb a craig before I returned to the states. Stirling Castle itself is rich in Scottish history. I stood on the spot where Mary, Queen of Scots's coronation took place. It was also James VI of Scotland's final living space before he moved to London and became James I of England. The distillery was also wonderful. It was really interesting to learn about how Scotland's favorite drink is made.
During a trip to Edinburgh, my flatmates and I climbed Arthur's Seat, a craig situated right in the middle of the city. As you're climbing the inactive volcano, if you look in front of you, you can see several more Scottish hills, but if you look behind you, it's all Edinburgh. Once you get to the top, there is a beautiful view of the city. That view has probably been my favorite part of my trip so far.
Program: University of Limerick, Ireland
My Story: The famous Johny Cash praised the country of Ireland for its aesthetic beauty “Forty Shades of Green” tells the story of a gorgeous landscape; a place to fall in love. I got to experience this sentiment in a very “the road less traveled” sort of way through the outdoor pursuits club at the University of Limerick in Ireland. We traveled to the west coast and hiked a seaside mountain. Needless to say the views were spectacular. From the Atlantic Ocean to the towering green mountains topped with the ironically stereotypical rainbows, it made a memorable trip. I also made some great friends on the 6 hour hike and even got to practice my Irish accent. I learned so much about the country of Ireland and myself during my Study Abroad experience. Studying Abroad allowed me to reevaluate my goals in life and I am more determined than ever.
Program: University of Essex, England
My Story: One of the experiences that has stuck with me the most from when I studied abroad was when I traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland with some of my flat-mates from the University of Essex. It was freezing cold and it rained during our city-wide tour, but the view and sites we saw made our runny noses and numb fingers seem inconsequential. I got to see the restaurant/coffeehouse where J.K. Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter Series and found out that many of the names she used in her books were actually taken from people who once lived in that town. But the best part of the trip was the Halloween Pub Crawl that we went on while there. We got to see live bands, visit some of the best clubs/pubs in Edinburgh, and I met lots of amazing people who I am still in contact with today.
Program: Freie University, Germany
Majors: Health, Physical Education
My Story: Hi! my name is Caroline Struthers; I studied in Berlin, Germany during Fall 2012. Studying abroad allowed me to live life outside my comfort zone. I experienced situations that challenging and unimaginable. At first, my biggest hesitation was living with a host family; this turned out to be my best decision I had made. I know have a "second family" in Europe and will carry on a special relationship with them. I was able to become deeply immersed in the German culture and language through everyday interactions. Study abroad is about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and growing as a person. Study abroad has greatly enriched my life and I encourage everyone to pursue their own experience abroad!
Program: Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
Major: Japanese & East Asian Studies
My Story: A particular time when the hard work I put into preparing to study abroad was affirmed was during a once-in-a-lifetime trip I took with a Finnish friend to visit the mountainous hometown of one of our mutual Japanese friends. Up until that point, I had traveled locally around my host city, but this was a unique opportunity for me to expand my horizons even further. Being able to take all the knowledge of Japanese I had built up before studying in Japan, four summers saved of babysitting and dog-sitting income, as well as the desire to forge multicultural friends were the reasons why I was so eager to go to Japan in the first place. Thanks to all of my academic and financial efforts, I could finally say I was able to travel somewhere by my own means. And as a perk, I was even able to see the splendor of Mount Fuji up close! In all, my study abroad in Japan was truly a wonderful and unforgettable memory. My experiences are a constant reminder of what I am capable of achieving if I put forth my greatest effort.
Program: Freie University, Germany
Major: Studio Art and Global Studies
My Story: I went to Berlin without knowing German, and left with the ability to converse with Berliners and not only rely on English. I could not have done this without the support and guidance of my host family. Not only were they patient with my language learning, they were also there to encourage me during those frustrating grammar lessons! With their help, I was able to communicate in German -- and to my own surprise, it would happen suddenly. Then I would realize that I wasn't speaking English!
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