Where did you go to school?
Arizona State University
When and where did you study abroad?
1989: Western Europe & North America with Up With People
What was the BEST part about studying abroad?
The people, the cultures, but most of all the adventure. When you are abroad, everything is an adventure and even something as simple as breakfast in your host country is something that you can write home about. You never know what each day will bring, and the only thing that becomes routine is the adventure itself.
What did you learn about the rest of the world from studying abroad? What did you learn about yourself from the experience?
A year abroad brought not only lifelong friendships with people all over the world, but also a much greater understanding of the world, and of America’s role and responsibility in it. At the same time, I gained a tremendous amount of self confidence as well as some clarity of my own personal vision.
What was your BIGGEST challenge when studying abroad?
I studied abroad before the Internet, so for me the biggest challenge was the distance. Calling home was a luxury that occurred perhaps once every 2-3 months, so (snail) mail was the only communication available. I once had a ‘fight’ with my parents through the mail – it took weeks to play itself out! Before I left I was worried about the food and the language barriers that I might experience, but those turned out to be very minor issues. There was amazing (and gross) food wherever I went, and as for the language barrier, I learned that an amazing amount of communication can occur between people using just gestures and facial expressions.
How did studying abroad change your life? How did it help you personally and professionally?
Before I went abroad my plan was to move to California, live nearby some friends from high school and get a job as a stockbroker. Instead, I’ve spent my live in the field of International Education. I’ve lived three years in Australia, worked for the Olympic Games, met the Dalai Lama (I was present when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo), sung a solo for Audrey Hepburn, watched the wall fall down from inside the German border, run through the streets of Paris dressed as an elf (longer story there) and experienced countless other adventures. Best of all though, I have had the opportunity to touch the lives of countless young people and send them along the same road of adventure that I experienced.
What have you been doing post studying abroad?
Currently I work for GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, an International Education Organization that provides opportunities for students to experience Semester/Year, Summer, Internships and Degree Programs in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. Prior to my time at GlobaLinks, I worked for the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, and prior to that I spent 10 years with Up With People.
What’s your BEST piece of advice for a student who is thinking about studying abroad?
Just do it! (Sorry Nike…) There are hundreds of ways for you to get abroad, and no matter what program you choose, spending time abroad will have a profound impact on your life. While your experience may not impact your life the way it impacted mine, there is no doubt that it will provide you with a better perspective of the world you live in, and make you a more interesting and well-rounded person.