Study abroad ambassadors are here to help

Have you ever thought about studying abroad but don’t know how to save up the money or fit the trip into your schedule? Study Abroad Ambassadors are Maryville College students that are ready to help you figure all that out! 

Study Abroad Ambassadors typically meet Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. in the international house; the meetings are times when students who have studied abroad can share their experiences. Students who have no overseas experience can sit in on these “Travel Tales,” learn about what the programs are like, and ask questions. 

“I really don’t want any student to feel like they can’t study abroad because they don’t have support,” said Brandi Coley, the international program coordinator. “The Study Abroad Ambassadors program is an attempt to demystify the process.” 

At the most recent meeting, sophomore Ana Tisdale shared some of her experiences from studying abroad over the summer. 

“I studied at the University of Roehampton in London, England for three weeks over the summer,” Tisdale said. “I was also able to visit Oxford, which is such a beautiful town, and Brighton, which was definitely my favorite part of being over there. I think the hardest thing I had to do was trying to plan meals … the program didn’t supply a meal plan for the students so trying to find stuff that was cheap and nutritional was difficult. 

“My advice is definitely don’t let money be an issue. There are so many scholarships, and Kirsten Sheppard and Brandi Coley will help you in any way they can. Go out of your comfort zone and try things you wouldn’t typically do,” Tisdale said. 

Any student who has studied abroad has something positive to say about their experiences.

“Students are sometimes oblivious to the opportunities here at Maryville College,” said international exchange student Zaya Amarjargal, the co-chair of the study abroad ambassador club. “I’ve come from Mongolia all the way to the United States, and I also went all the way to Austria. All those experiences have enriched me so much; I have the travel bug now.” 

“Personally, I just love traveling,” Tara Flinchum said. “I studied abroad in Germany this past summer; I was there for about two months. If you have any willingness to go abroad, I would highly recommend it. It’s an awesome way to learn a new language, whether you’ve had language classes in the past or not. As far as scholarships go, there are a lot of resources to help you out.”

Many of the Study Abroad Ambassadors are also involved the Global Citizenship Organization on campus. Ahmed Etman, an international exchange student from Alexandria, Egypt, stated that you can have a cultural experience just by interacting with international students on campus. 

“You can get to know other cultures by getting to know people from those cultures,” Etman said. “This ties into liberal education because you experience other perspectives. It can also be helpful if you study abroad because you will have an idea about how to interact with people that are not from your culture.” 

Katherine Zacapa, the president of the Global Citizenship Organization, is also a Study Abroad Ambassador. 

“These clubs are all about breaking stereotypes,” Zacapa said. “We encourage everybody to travel to represent their own cultures. We have very strong friendships here, and we want you to be a part of it.” 

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