Come meet our amazing group of study abroad alumni who work in our office. They can help get your questions about study abroad answered as they themselves have studied abroad. Whether about budgeting, program choice, scholarships or program specifics they are a great first-hand resource for you.
Come visit them during walk-in advising hours (Spring 2019):
- Mondays - 12:00pm - 2:00pm
- Tuesdays - 1:00pm - 3:00pm
- Wednesday - 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Global Center Ambassador
I am a Junior studying English Literature and Italian Language at Loyola University Chicago and a proud alumnus of the John Felice Rome Center. I am a second-generation Italian- and Greek-American, and European culture has been a source of fascination for as long as I can remember.
Coming from an ethnic background with European origins, I had a natural desire to learn more about the culture of my ancestors and the places they came from. A significant portion of my family still lives in Italy, so studying abroad in Rome gave me the ability to connect with them in a way I never had before. On top of that, becoming fluent in Italian is one of my biggest personal goals, so I saw studying abroad as a unique opportunity to improve my skills by being immersed in the language. These, among other factors of general interest in travel, culture, food, and history, are the main reasons I chose to study abroad in Rome.
My fondest memory from my time abroad is that of the first time I went into Saint Peter’s Basilica by myself. I decided on a whim to take a morning before class and head down to Vatican City just to experience the basilica at my leisure and ended up spending a few hours just wandering around in that space—about 30 minutes of which were spent locked in an uninterrupted stare at Michelangelo’s. I had visited the basilica prior to that day, but this was the first time it really set in that I had all of this amazing art and culture at my fingertips. From then on, I took solo trips to Saint Peter’s almost every week, and it truly never got old.
My greatest piece of advice to study abroad students is to embrace the unfamiliarity of the experience. Some people arrive in Italy expecting it to be just like America but with more spaghetti, but, in reality, it is so much more than that. Every day, especially at the beginning of your term abroad, you’ll notice the cultural idiosyncrasies that are completely unique and totally different from what you’re used to if you grew up in the states. This might seem daunting at first, but embracing, exploring, and adapting to those cultural differences can be the most rewarding part of studying abroad, and you’ll be surprised at how much you grow as a person because of them.
Global Center Ambassador
Xin Chao Cac Ban! (Hello Friends) I am a junior year Political Science major with minors in Theology and Urban Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I studied abroad in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, otherwise known as Saigon, in the fall of 2017. Born and raised in Northern Kentucky, traveling abroad seemed out of the picture, but Loyola’s affordable Vietnam Center made a dream become a reality.
Southeast Asia is bustling with life and change. In the 3 ½ months spent there, I witnessed buildings being torn down, and resurrected almost instantaneously. I recall eating a rose shaped ice cream cone in the heart of District One (Downtown) that was absolutely exquisite. I attempted to return at the end of the semester to leave on a sweet note, but to my dismay it had vanished. While it was unfortunate that it was gone, it brought a smile to my face. Instead of being disappointed in that moment, I realized quickly that there are a million other ice cream parlors waiting to be tried right around the corner.
The number 1 tip that I recommend for those who are studying-abroad; be adaptable and be open. Semesters go by quickly, and you will want to have it all back. Do those activities that push your comfort zone and watch as your comfort zone widens before your eyes!
Studying-abroad has changed me academically, professionally, and wholesomely. This position allows me to help my peers find their own path and I am more than excited to be part of the transformation. Rất vui được gặp bạn (Its very nice to meet you friend)!
Global Center Ambassador
I’m a junior studying Economics and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I studied abroad at the Loyola Vietnam Center in the spring of 2018. A native Italian, I spent my childhood roaming Milan and Florence with my family and cousins. Around 10 years ago, my family moved to Minnesota and my American adventure began. I knew from the start that I wanted a non-traditional study abroad experience, something as unique and interesting as my story so far.
For me, Vietnam was this option. Studying and living for four months in Southeast Asia allowed for experiences I would never have had in any other country or even region of the world. My traditional day would start with a banh mi on the back of a motorbike, zooming my way to class. During the 5 minute class break, I would buy fresh cut pineapple from the vendor outside of the university. Lunch would be at a rice place right around the corner, surrounded by hurried businessmen. Dinner would be my most casual affair, a bowl of pho while sitting on a plastic stool on a street corner close to the dorm.
Aside from my love affair with Vietnamese cuisine, I was able to see, right in front of my eyes, the incredibly fervid development of a bustling country. Everything we discussed in class, whether that be economic policies and reforms, environmental concerns, or women’s rights, I saw play out outside of class. I wish there was a way to go back and do it all over in the same way again, but change is such a constant part of life in Vietnam that everyone will have a completely separate experience.
The best advice I can give to prospective study-abroad students is to say “yes”. The best experiences were the ones I didn’t plan for, a nighttime motorbike tour of the city, a spontaneous karaoke outing, or cooking on the floor with my Vietnamese partner’s family.
I’m excited to be working with OIP as an ambassador and I look forward to helping many other students find their right study abroad fit, and making these incredible memories for themselves.
USAC Peer Ambassador
Studying anthropology, political science and French, searching for the right place to study abroad was a challenge. Affordability, course approvals, cultural immersion and unique location led me to choosing USAC’s Chiang Mai program. Thailand stuck out to me as a unique center for culture, different social and political organization, and new linguistic experiences. Similarly, enrolling in Chiang Mai University มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม่ allowed me to attend school alongside local Thai students.
My Thailand experiences that stay with me the most are eating street food with my Thai friends. Doing culinary ethnography with different groups of locals, students, and American friends gave me first-hand opportunities to be a local and examine complex differences and surprising similarities to the states.
Similarly, visiting Myanmar with my sister and my solo trip to Luang Prabang, Laos gave me a broader understanding of the region as a whole. As cliche as it may be, Thailand changed me. I returned to Loyola more confident, comfortable and happy with myself.
Therefore, the best advice I can give is to get out there! The only way to experience life is to live it - explore a new place, go to a less-popular country, speak the language, and of course, try a new food everyday!
USAC Peer Ambassador
Studying anthropology, political science and French, searching for the right place to study abroad was a challenge. Affordability, course approvals, cultural immersion and unique location led me to choosing USAC’s Chiang Mai program. I am a senior majoring in biology with a minor in bioethics. In addition to my role as a USAC peer advisor, I am a third-year resident assistant and a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters Chicago. This past summer I went on a six-week long study abroad trip to Galway Ireland.
Being a biology major and a person that does not excel in foreign languages finding a study abroad trip that would fit into my Loyola experience seemed like a hard task. After doing a substantial amount research, I found a program in Ireland through USAC. It was meant to be, because not only did it have the classes I needed to finish my core, but it was also in a primarily English-speaking country. In addition to this, it provided me an opportunity to learn more about my Irish background. As someone that gets bored very easily, this trip kept me engaged and excited. We started out with a weeklong trip in Dublin, before heading to Galway, which provided us with an opportunity to see two very different sides of Ireland. Throughout the six weeks, we went on various field trips all throughout the country. Individually, I was also able to visit London on a weekend. On the trip I saw ancient castles, learned a little bit of the Irish language, learned how to play the tin whistle, got a tattoo, and learned about the current events that surround Ireland and all of Europe.
My fondest memory from the trip has to be the field trip to the Cliffs of Moher, which is where I am at in my picture. The scenery was breathtaking. The cliffs were covered in an almost unreal shade of green, despite the drought that Ireland was currently going through. As we walked along the trail on the cliffs, the Atlantic Ocean looked as if it went on forever. The waves crashed against the rocks in such an intense, yet peaceful way. In the distance, we could also see the Aran Islands through the mist and fog. Almost as amazing as the cliffs was the other people who were also visiting the cliffs. Some people were more adventurous and would climb into dangerous and small nooks on the cliffs just to get a picture for Instagram, while others would barely ever wander off the trail.
My tips I would give to other students would be to lean into the discomfort. There will be times when you will want to stay in your comfort zone, but I encourage you to try to doing things you wouldn’t normally do. Also, take advantage of everything that is offered to you from food to field trips to weekend trips. Lastly, beware of conversion rates and budget, budget, budget.
Global Exchange Ambassador
I am a senior Global and International Studies major with on a focus on East Asian Studies. I also minor in Communication Studies and Chinese Language and Culture. I spent my fall 2016 sophomore year at The Beijing Center in China. Having loved my experience, I caught the travel bug and decided to flee again to Seoul, South Korea on the Sogang University Global Exchange Program during the spring semester of 2018. Studying abroad in both China and Korea gave me an inside look at the vibrant traditional culture, politics and the technology industry of East Asia. Living there also allowed me to advance my linguistic skills in Mandarin and Korean immensely.
My fondest memories of South Korea would be visiting the traditional markets. It’s chaotic, busy, colorful, loud and stimulates your senses. From bizarre foods to street desserts, the traditional markets embodied authentic local life within one to two blocks. It became on of my favorite places eat great food and catch up with some friends.
In Beijing, Climbing the Great Wall of China was probably a turning point for me and it was one of the craziest things I have ever done. Physically and metaphorically, I believe I overcame one of life’s highest obstacles.
The best advice I can give you is to open your mind and be flexible. There is a bigger world out there that is unfamiliar and maybe even a little scary. Regardless, be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Studying abroad allows us to step out of our daily routine and to try new things.
Front Desk Student Worker
Hi! My name is Bejoy and I am a junior at Loyola. I was born in India and came to the states at a young age. Currently my major is Health Systems Management here at Loyola. I would like to complete my bachelors and then go onto get my MBA in healthcare administration. In my free time, I like to stay active and play basketball.
Recently I went back to India the summer of 2018. I loved being back and getting an understanding of my culture and just exploring. The coolest part about being back was being able to understand the daily lives of people. It is very different than our lives in the states. There, People usually spend their day farming or they own small pop up shops. This was different for me to see as most people just had their own schedules and didn't have a set of rules and regulations to follow. Anywhere you go abroad, it's really neat to see how people in other countries operate.
My fondest memory from India was being able to ride an elephant, it was scary and amazing at the same time.
My one tip for students who want to study abroad is plan early, get in touch with our advisors to come up with a plan. You can only expand your knowledge by going abroad, so I recommend going abroad. It's fun and a learning experience!