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Global Ambassadors - Fall 2017

During the Fall 2017 semester, the Office of Study Away had a team of dedicated Global Ambassadors to assist interested students through the pre-departure study away process. We would like to spotlight each Global Amabassador as they share their enthusiasm for their particular programs and study away in general, and their experiences while studying abroad.​

 ​Kimani Bishop '19, Music, Trinity in Trinidad  

I am from the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I have studied at the University of the West-Indies (U.W.I) in my freshmen year. With an interest in the Musical Arts, I registered as a music major at U.W.I, with focus on the steelpan and choral singing. I had a great academic year at U.W.I mainly because of the island-life experience. It was relaxing and mind-blowing knowing that there was warm Caribbean ocean a few miles from the campus. In the spring semester of my freshmen year, I decided to participate in the study abroad program to Trinity College. I was successful in gaining a full financial grant to embark on the experience and Trinity welcomed me with open arms. On completion of my academic year at Trinity as a Sophomore, I applied to the admission office at Trinity to transfer my academic accreditations from U.W.I and for admittance as a Junior year, Trinity student with the graduating class of 2019. I am continuing to pursue my music degree and I am much involved in the music department at the Austin Arts Center. Also, I am excited for any given opportunity to share my culture with others.

The locals of Trinidad and Tobago are laid back and very festive. The diversity and rich culture of the people is phenomenal. The Indian heritage is very prominent on the island. There is a great presence of the Hindu culture, practices, dishes and cuisines. Other races and cultures include the Syrians, the Chinese, the Spanish, the French and the African population. The Syrian’s and the Chinese have their own local mouth-watering cuisines and dishes that areonly found on the island. The Spanish is well-known for their parang music and festivals. This festival traditionally occurs during the Christmas holiday season. The French’s presence is found in the names of the town’s, cities and streets before the island was colonized. The African race is the dominant race on both islands and their Creole food is very famous, and they use a mixture of local herbs, spices and seasonings. The food is often exploding with wild, exquisite, exotic flavors. It is a very festive island and the locals use every opportunity to be festive, or as the locals would say: - “Let’s lime” or “Leh we fete”. According to Wikipedia, Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is ranked second place in the world. Living on UWI campus is a great experience and it supports the social aspect of learning the dialect among the locals. The professors are well trained, easy to work with and they are very proficient in their field. Transportation on the island is very simple and efficient due to the size of the country and the busses, they are funded by the government. There are even water ferries as a means of transport from the northside to the south of the island and vice versa. Including ferries that travel to Tobago from the main island (Trinidad) and back. Tobago is the island known for its beautiful beaches and agriculture. The warm and friendly people from the island of Tobago have a slightly different dialect from the people of main island. There is a very distinct and different accent that separates each island. Tobago was a country on its own until they joined with Trinidad in 1889 under the rule of the British forces as an administrative word unit.

Trinidad and Tobago is a beautiful country and I guarantee an experience you won’t forget.​

Brandon Blaise '18, Political Science, Trinity in Barcelona  

Being in a different environment from an academic standpoint can be massive in regards to your development as a student. Getting off of Trinity's small campus for a few months and sitting in lectures given by highly accredited professors is by no means a bad way of spending the semester academically. My group had 13 students which was small, but a fantastic way to be quickly acquainted with different members of the Trinity family. Meeting new people from all over the United States, and obviously Europe, while traveling to the most beautiful historic locations was an incredible way to spend four months. Barcelona is the most unique city I've ever set foot in and I visit New York City often. After my four months there in the city, I felt I still needed time to see everything there was. You will never get sick of hanging out in Barcelona, attending classes and seeing beautiful artwork, and I want to make sure the next group of students going knows that too.

I had an amazing time being pushed out of my comfort zone and experiencing new things both by force and by choice. I haven't stopped raving about the experience since and I have used every opportunity I've had since to spread the good word about the Trinity in Barcelona program.

Erika Grad '18, African Studies and Human Rights Studies, Trinity in Cape Town  

I had such an amazing time during my year abroad and I want to share my experiences and knowledge about the program with other interested students. I think it’s a great opportunity to help students gain a better understanding for expectations of and preparation for their time abroad. I honestly believe that you learn more from exploring the world than from a textbook or lecture. Having exposure to other cultures and people has been the most enriching aspect of my life and has made me into the person I am today.

I recommend the Cape Town program in particular because Africa, with all of its stereotypes, doesn’t seem like a place where students would gravitate to for their study abroad. However, I always tell people that Cape Town is the European jewel of Africa. South Africa is an ideal place for venturing outside of one’s comfort zone, while still being able to maintain the familiarity and amenities of home. Also, I always hear my fellow Cape Town peers raving to others about how it is one of the most unique and beautiful cities on earth, all the amazing things they did and saw while abroad, and most students on other study abroad programs were envious of all the awesome experiences we had. I want to give other students the opportunity to have those incredible memories.  That being said, I think everyone should take full advantage of their time there; Get involved on campus, make an effort to meet and interact with locals, always try and participate in the excursions that the program offers, don’t be afraid to try new things. South Africa has so much to offer and you have to make the most of your time there.  

Victoria Harvey '18, Anthropology, Trinity in Paris

Everyone who studies abroad comes back with a new and different experience to share and I am no different. Studying abroad was an unforgettable experience and I want other Trinity students to be able to go through an amazing and life changing process that will stay with them forever. Being away from campus and friends obligated me to go out on my own and learn the city myself, which helped me become more independent and aware of what I wanted and where I wanted to go. The Trinity in Paris program did a phenomenal job and the director, Francie, is a woman with vast knowledge and truly cares about the students and our experience while we are away and even now while we are home. The program is highly organized and the director and teachers at Trinity in Paris go above and beyond in class scheduling, group outings, etc.  

I believe that the most important aspect of studying abroad is being aware of culture shock and how to deal with it. The first week of orientation and classes, I was so distraught; it was nothing like I expected it to be. I quickly learned that studying abroad wasn’t necessarily what the movies portrayed and I was on my own for a whole semester in a country where I didn’t speak the language. Like many other students, it was my first time being away from home for that long . When I arrived at Trinity in Paris, I realized that I was the first person in the entirety of the program that chose a homestay with no experience of the French language. However shortly after meeting the other students in the program and slowly becoming more familiar with the city, I realized that I was more scared of it than it was of me. I set goals for the semester to go to as many museums as possible and find quirky events that local Parisians attended such as a life-drawing class and going to the weekly markets with my host mother. I made Paris my home away from home, which was a big factor in my success abroad.  

Sam Holley '19, International Studies and Public Policy & Law, Trinity in Vienna  

I believe every undergraduate student should have a study abroad experience. The Trinity in Vienna program was the best semester I’ve had at Trinity thus far, it was an absolutely amazing experience. It was an amazing opportunity to delve into different cultures, and was a great way to learn a new language in an immersive environment. In particular, Trinity in Vienna was the best program I could have chosen based on what I wanted in a semester abroad. I wanted a Trinity program that wasn’t too big, but still sent me to a European city. For those students who want the same things as I did, there is no better program. Vienna has been voted the most livable city in the world for many years, and it’s not hard to believe.

To any student that’s considering studying abroad but might be nervous about it, I say go for it! I was nervous about spending five months in a foreign country, and I almost declined my acceptance because of it. I’m so glad I didn’t. I began learning German at a rapid pace, made so many new and very valuable friends (both Trinity students, other study abroad students, and Austrians!), and ate foods I never thought I would try (horse!). Studying abroad may sound daunting, but it’s well worth the nervousness.  

Jess Hom '18, International Studies, Trinity in Shanghai 

I truly had a special experience in Shanghai. I was the only person on the Trinity program spring semester and thought that would be a setback because I didn’t know anyone, however it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was able to explore Asia and feel truly independent and proud of myself when the program ended. I think that feeling alone is what makes going abroad worth it.  

I would most definitely recommend that students study away. I believe that being able to hold yourself accountable, especially in another country, is crucial to maturing into young adults. Following the rules of another country and representing not only your school but your country was something that I thought was very cool during my experience studying abroad. I think one of the most interesting things to share is the culture shock. I thought it was so interesting how the smallest things that changed culturally add up and it is important to not let things get to you. Certain things that would be considered strange or rude in American culture, could be considered completely normal in Asian culture, and I found it was really important to understand that and let yourself adapt to it instead of pushing it away.

Mathilde Sauquet '18, Art History and Italian Studies,  Trinity in Rome 

I just had the best year of my life living on the Rome Campus and I really want to encourage other students to choose this program for their study abroad experience. I spent a full year in Rome and therefore got to know the program, staff, city, and culture very well. Being in this situation with other people on your program also makes for stronger friendships. The friends I made while in Rome remained my closest friends when I got back to campus.  I particularly enjoyed the Rome program because the staff and faculty are absolutely amazing, they were always available, helpful; the great diversity in classes offered on campus; the location of the campus, which is absolutely ideal; the mandatory Italian classes, being able to communicate with the local population truly made the experience more enjoyable; and The Roman/Italian culture is absolutely 
fascinating . My highlights from my time in Italy include Carnival in Venice, mass with Pope Francis, and swimming in Capri. 

I think studying away is one of the best decisions to make while in college. You get to experience life in a brand new way: through another culture, possibly another language. Studying away had a tremendous impact on me as a student and as a person. As a student, I realized that you can learn and remember so much more about something when you experience it in person. Being able to see the art and the architecture in Italy really solidified my understanding and appreciation for them. When it comes to Italian, I realized that my classes had been a good basis for my vocabulary and grammar, but that I did most of my learning out in “the real world.” As a person, I learned a lot living in a big, busy city, which I had never done before. I had to get used to the Roman public transports, to figure out which parts of the city to avoid, to communicate with the locals in everyday situations (pharmacy, cellphone store, taxi…) in Italian. Although I felt a little uneasy in the beginning, I realized that even when I had missed my bus or mispronounced an Italian word, it was always a learning experience. As I traveled around Europe throughout the year, I became a lot more confident when approaching strangers for directions or trying to speak a different language. The people that I met in Rome and during my travels always made me feel comfortable about trying, making mistakes, and learning and this really restored my faith in humanity quite honestly! Watching the news these days, I understand why many people might be scared of traveling to Europe. However, during this past year in Rome and other European cities, I felt completely safe, comfortable, and welcomed wherever I went. It was a good reminder that the great majority of people are GOOD people and that together, we must keep on living life to the fullest. 

Rachel Therrien '18, Public Policy & Law, Trinity in Buenos Aires 

To be honest, I had a hard time choosing where to go abroad. I was apprehensive about spending a semester in Buenos Aires, a city completely unknown to me in a country and continent I had never visited. I was worried that Argentina would be too foreign, too challenging, and too distant for me to ever feel truly comfortable. But my gut was telling me to take the plunge, and I'm glad I listened. Studying abroad in Argentina was one of the best choices I've ever made. The experiences I had in Buenos Aires (and in the places I traveled to during my stay) opened my mind in ways that simply wouldn't have been possible before.By the end of the semester, Buenos Aires had become a second home.

Studying abroad was rewarding in so many ways. Not only did my semester in Argentina make me a better student and more confident Spanish speaker, it transformed me on a personal level. I learned how to live more independently, how to adapt to a radically different culture and lifestyle, and how to overcome unexpected challenges. Every day brought something new and exciting to the table. I miss Buenos Aires every day and I am so happy that I took a leap of faith and decided to spend my semester abroad here.