Name: Ashleigh Downes
Preferred e-mail: email@example.com
Expected graduation date: May 2012
Study Abroad Program: Dominican Republic, Spring Break, 2011
Why do you want to serve as a Study Abroad E-bassador at Pittsburg State University?
When I studied abroad I ended up having a fantastic experience. I would like to use that experience to help encourage others to want to take a chance and study abroad.
What were the deciding factors in choosing your study abroad program-location?
I would love to visit every country in the world at some point in my life. When I was picking a place to study abroad I really did not care where I went because I just kept thinking it would be one more place in the world that I have seen. But, when I started searching all the options that PSU offered I became the most excited about the Dominican Republic trip during Spring Break because I would get to see a new country but, also, I would be able to serve to others while we were in the Dominican.
Describe a defining moment in your abroad experience and how that experience(s) has affected you personally, intellectually, vocational, spiritually, or academically.
During our trip we got to stay near an orphanage. We ate the same food they did and traveled on their same paths. We pretty much followed in their day to day customs. My defining moment was being able to see how they live. Even though we only did it for a week it was a really eye opening experience. It made me very grateful for what I have in America, but, it also has made me want to give back by making a difference not just in my country but, in other countries. This experience has definitely helped me in defining my vocation.
What advice, recommendations would you give to prospective study abroad students? In retrospect, how would you prepare differently to maximize the study abroad experience?
Advice I would give to prospective study abroad students would be to pick a trip that you feel like you will get the most out of, and to also be very open minded when traveling to another country. You never know what bumps and road blocks you may encounter throughout your journey.
One way that I would have prepared differently to help maximize my trip would be to have brushed up on the language (Spanish). I have taken some Spanish classes, but I was not even remotely close to being prepared for the language barrier I experienced during my week there. But the people were very patient which made it a lot easier.