Global Education Advocates

The Global Education Advocate Program was created to help students with questions and concerns about studying abroad and connect them with peers who have recently returned from study abroad programs. Global Education Advocates are enthusiastic individuals who are willing to talk with other students about their experience, and help with outreach events and initiatives on campus. These students volunteer their time to their peers and are excellent resources for anyone unsure of which program to choose, not sure what to pack, wanting to know how phones work abroad, or even just hoping for some general advice. The 2019-2020 Advocates are listed below so that you can reach out to them to hear about their experiences abroad and learn more. If you don’t see an Advocate listed for the exact program you are interested in, they are always happy to talk generally about the study abroad experience, application and process and will still be a great resource for you.

Emily Neuharth (she/her/hers)

E-mail: emily.neuharth@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Cambridge, England Study Center

Major: Creative Writing, Christ College Humanities

There really were many parts that gave meaning to my semester– which in and of itself was significant because I realized that I didn’t have to have one, big life-changing event that would define my “study abroad experience,” or the growth that I would take back with me. I learned to find meaning in a slower pace of life, in solitude and independence, and in how naturally an unknown place and strangers can become a home.

Advice: Try not to compare your experience. I really struggled with silently comparing myself to my fellow cohort members, other Valpo students abroad, and even past students who I had talked to. The most difficult comparison to let go of was actually between my reality and the expectations I had set upon myself prior to arriving abroad. I know it’s easier said than done, but trying to go into the semester with an open mind can really help you stay present in the moment, and not get caught up in worrying about doing “enough” or making “the most” of your time.

Demi-Marshall

Demi Marshall (she/her/hers)

E-mail: demi.marshall@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Cambridge, England Study Center

Major: English major, Theater minor

The most meaningful part of my experience was getting to experience such great adventures with all my housemates. We became very close over the semester and created so many amazing memories together.

Advice: If you are really interested in studying abroad, my advice would be to make a plan to go and just stick to it. Go to the study abroad fair, ask questions about the program you’re interested in, tell your advisor when you plan to go. While it seems scary at first, studying abroad was the best thing I’ve done at Valpo and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested.

Ben-Ganswindt

Ben Ganswindt (he/his/him)

E-mail: ben.ganswindt@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Cambridge, England Study Center

Major: Business Analytics

The most meaningful part of my experience was the different places I got to see and experience along with the relationships I built with people I met abroad.

Advice: My advice to students interested in studying abroad would be to get out of your comfort zone and be willing to try new things and go on adventures. To make the most of your experience you need to have a desire to learn about different cultures and see what they have in store. Be open to new ideas and different perspectives and it will be an eye opening experience.

Mac Magiera

E-Mail: mac.magiera@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Reutlingen, Germany Study Center

Major: Electrical Engineering

The most meaningful part of my study abroad experience was the opportunity to immerse myself into the local and university social environment. What truly made the experience for me was the ability to connect and become friends with more than twenty different individuals from all over the world. All of which, I have plans to keep in touch with and see again!

Advice: My advice to outgoing students is make sure that you find that balance of traveling and meeting people that live/study in Reutlingen, (assuming you’re studying there). COVID-19 gave me the opportunity to stay on campus more often than traveling. This allowed me to meet vast amounts of students or other people from the area. An experience, I wish everyone had.

 
Abdalla Elghazaly (He/Him/His)

Email: abdalla.elghazaly@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Reutlingen, Germany Study Center

Major/Minor: Mechanical Engineering

The most meaningful part of my experience was adapting to a new culture, environment and people and making friends.

Advice: Be as open as you can, have fun, yet focus on your studies.

Abigail Dykema (she/her/hers)

E-mail: abigail.dykema@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Costa Rica Study Center based near San Jose

Major: Biomedical Engineering, minor in Humanitarian Engineering

The most meaningful part of my experience was getting a host family! I now have another family in a different part of the world who continue to check in on me and care for me even though I’m not there anymore.

Advice: Be open to making new friendships with people in your cohort and with your on-site staff. They’ll be your biggest support while you’re abroad, there to lift you up when you need it and help you celebrate all of the exciting new things you do.

Maddie Fry (she/her/hers)

E-mail: madeline.fry@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Costa Rica Study Center based near San Jose

Major: Theology & Ministry, Spanish and Global Service

I found my home stay to be the most remarkable part of my study abroad  experience. My host family was so welcoming, nurturing, and inclusive which made my time in Costa Rica so much more enjoyable.

Advice: I would encourage students who want to study in another country to have an open mind about learning about and within other cultures and being prepared to have a deeply formative academic and personal experience. Living in another country will expand your perspective in so many areas and challenge students to see the world in a new lens.

Sarah-GermannSarah Germann

E-mail: sarah.germann@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Costa Rica Study Center based near San Jose

Majors: Environmental Science and Geography

The most meaningful part of my experience abroad was meeting lots of different people in lots of different places and, as a result, learning to embrace and become a part of the community around me.

Advice: I would advise students to approach their study abroad experience with an open mind, open heart towards new people, a readiness for ambiguity in plans, and a willingness to forgive their own mistakes.

Lucas Delahunty

E-mail: lucas.delahunty@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Universidad Viña del Mar Exchange in Chile

Major: International Relations and Spanish

The most meaningful part of my experience was getting to improve my Spanish fluency with my Chilean friends and host family was one of the most meaningful and beneficial parts of studying abroad. My host family was welcoming and helpful which made my experience all the more worthwhile.

Advice: Capitalize on the opportunity to travel, become more independent, and continue to form your worldview.

Jen Feutz

Jen Feutz (she/her/hers)

E-mail: jen.feutz@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Augsburg University in Southern Africa (South Africa & Namibia)

Major: Political Science

The most meaningful part of my experience was learning what really matters in life. The relationships that form your life, whether at home or abroad, are invaluable resources that we need to appreciate more.

Advice: My advice to students is to take everything in! Studying abroad can be a bit overwhelming, so remember to slow down and take breaks to enjoy your experience!

Rae Erickson (she/her/hers)

E-mail: rae.erickson@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Augsburg University in Southern Africa (South Africa & Namibia)

Major: Global Service

The most meaningful part of going abroad for me was just learning that I could manage my mental health on my own in another country. Being away from my typical support systems showed me that I am never alone, no matter where I am, and that I can handle things alone, even when I don’t have to be.

Advice: Going to study abroad in another place is such a life-altering and rare opportunity, that I want every person willing to experience it to choose somewhere that they will really learn the most about themselves. For me, this meant going to Namibia, where there is a really different culture to learn about.

Dakota Kampmeier

E-Mail: dakota.kampmeier@valpo.edu

Program/Location: University College Utrecht in Utrecht, the Netherlands

Major: Nursing

The most meaningful part of my experience was the self confidence I gained from traveling alone. I went into Utrecht, my first time in Europe, completely alone without knowing a single soul. I had to learn how to navigate their public transportation and find my way around the city on a bike. It was hard work, and incredibly daunting at first, but I learned so much about myself and what I am capable of by pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

Advice: Do things that make you uncomfortable, say yes to just about everything, and do not compare your experience to that of anyone else.

Rachel Silcox (she/her/hers)

E-mail: rachel.silcox@valpo.edu

Programs/Location: Exchange Program with University College Utrecht, in Utrecht, Netherlands

Majors: Mechanical engineering and the humanities

The most meaningful part of my experience was meeting people from all different backgrounds, including the Netherlands, Tanzania, Dubai, and even Hawaii, interact and work together to create a great student driven school. My experience abroad showed me how important and interesting international collaboration is and I hope to take what I learned here into anything I do in the future!

Advice: My advice for students would be to try to not have any expectations or assumptions, but that students should take whatever opportunities come up and look forward to the adventure!

Christy Craig (she/her/hers)

E-mail: christy.craig@valpo.edu

Programs/Location: Exchange Program with University College Utrecht, in Utrecht, Netherlands

Major: Health Science

Reese Jones (she/her/hers)

Study Abroad Student Aide

E-mail: reese.jones@valpo.edu

Program/Location: College Year in Athens, Greece

Major/Minor: Sociology: Criminology

The most meaningful part of my study abroad experience was definitely the building of relationships while being there. I was able to acquire long lasting friendships, despite distance and inconsistent communication. They also help me to stay connected to Greece, as well as made Greece feel more like home while I was there. I was happy to have created international ties that I could always revisit. I think that’s a beautiful way to “leave your mark” someplace, by creating a shared energy with people that has a mutual impact on everyone’s lives.

Advice: Maintain an open mind! Don’t dismiss what you don’t understand or what isn’t familiar to you. Embrace difference. Embrace change. Have fun.

Claire Utzinger (she/her/hers)

E-mail: claire.utzinger@valpo.edu

Program/Location: College Year in Athens, Greece

Major: Studio Art, minor in Communication and Humanities

The most meaningful part of my experience was that I made friends from other schools that I will have for the rest of my life. Right away I found a group of people that had similar values to me, and a passion for travel. This truly enhanced my experience abroad because I had people that I could lean on if I was having a bad day or go out and explore Greece on a good one. You don’t realize how important that is until you are in a different country for four months, which teaches you a lot about yourself and other people.

Advice: When you study abroad, you are able to experience the culture of the country you are in, in a way that you would never be able to if you only visited for a short time. Soak in everything. Take advantage of travelling to other places while you are abroad, but also take the time to really take in and learn about your city.

Isabel Coffey

E-mail: isabel.coffey@valpo.edu

Program/Location: College Year in Athens, Greece

Majors: Creative Writing and Greek and Roman Studies

The most meaningful part of my experience was meeting incredible people who shared my passion for travel, discovery, and especially Classics! Sarah, Maria and I learned and grew so much together through our travel, and will be friends for a long time.

Advice: Don’t hesitate. Study abroad, or any new experience for that matter, is scary. It’s a leap. Take the leap and go with it even if you’re afraid because things NEVER turn out how you expect and life will take you to amazing places when you let go a little and live through the fear or uncertainty.

Abbey Zombik (she/her/hers)

E-mail: abbey.zombik@valpo.edu

Program/Location: CISabroad Semester in Newcastle, Australia

Major: International Relations, Philosophy Minor

The most meaningful part of my experience was getting to meet people from all different parts of the world, as well pushing myself out of my normal comfort zone, giving me more confidence then I have ever had before. This lead me to deciding what I wanted to study as well as, what I wanted to do for a career path.

Advice: My advice to students would be keep an open mind, and be willing to experience the new culture that you find yourself surrounded by, make the most of your time abroad!

Natalie Schmidt

E-mail: natalie.schmidt@valpo.edu

Program/Location: CISAbroad: University of Limerick, Ireland

Majors: Biomedical Engineering, Pre-Med

Most meaningful part of study abroad experience: Learning about bioengineering & medicine from a global perspective, AND making Irish friends & getting to know their culture.

Advice: Even if you’re pre-med and have a challenging major, go for it! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Emily Archibald

E-mail: emily.archibald@valpo.edu

Program/Location: CIS Abroad Semester in Limerick

Majors: biology, chemistry

Most meaningful part of study abroad experience: Learning what it’s like to be a student in another country

 

Abby Corbett (she/her/hers)

E-mail: abby.corbett@valpo.edu

Program/Location: CISabroad Semester in Limerick, Ireland

Major: Greek & Roman Studies, minor in Philosophy

The most meaningful part of my experience was being able to see the country that my family comes from. Learning that my family left Ireland after the first and second potato famine was awesome, yet devastating.

Advice: Do it. Apply for the scholarships and take advantage of being able to travel easily to other places. Flights are cheap throughout Europe. Trains are just as efficient as well!

 

Grace Burkhart (she/her/hers)

E-mail: grace.burkhart@valpo.edu

Program/Location: CISabroad Semester in Limerick, Ireland

Major: Biochemistry, minor in Creative Writing

The most meaningful part of my Study Abroad experience was getting to travel and experience so many amazing places. Each city had its own unique character, and it was so great to be able to explore the city, eat delicious food, laugh with friends, and visit beautiful, historic sites.

Advice: My advice would be to enjoy the time you have in your study abroad program. It goes by so fast, so if you want to travel anywhere else, start planning early. Before you know it, you’ll be headed back to America, so make the most of your time abroad!

Sarah Bortz

Email: sarah.bortz@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Granada, Spain

Majors: Business Analytics and Spanish

Living with my host family was by far the best part of my study abroad experience. While it was definitely something that made me nervous before I arrived to Spain, they were by far the best part of my trip. When most people study abroad, they expect their deepest and most significant memories to be with people their own age, but living with the elderly couple that I had the blessing of getting paired with made Granada what it means to me today.

Advice: There is no way to prepare for your study abroad experience. Being nervous is completely normal, but embrace the complete unknown and go into this journey completely open- minded. You only get maybe 4 months out of your whole life to live in a foreign country as a young adult trying to figure themselves out. It’s okay to be scared and homesick, but don’t let it stop you from trying new things. You’re allowed to disconnect from the United States for a little bit so you can fully take the leap into your new adventure. If you have the courage to get on that initial international flight and leave the United States, take that bravery with you on your entire trip to make that time unforgettable.

Lizzi Stack (she/her/hers)

Email: lizzi.stack@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Barcelona, Spain

Major/Minor: International Business

The most meaningful part of my experience in Barcelona was being able to meet new people and speak to them in their language all while learning about and experiencing a new culture.

Advice: My advice for anyone who is interested in studying abroad is to just do it! Take advantage of the unique opportunity you have to travel and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Visit places you’ve never heard of or places you’ve always dreamed of going to. Flights are pretty cheap all throughout Europe. Don’t hesitate! It goes by fast so make the most out of your experience!

Vivi Estes (she/her/hers)

E-mail: vivi.estes@valpo.edu

Program/Location: Florence, Italy

Major/Minor: Management

The most meaningful part of my study abroad experience was being able to immerse myself in so many different cultures across Europe.

Advice: My advice to any student who wants to study abroad is to say yes to as much as possible to any opportunity that presents itself because that is where you grow the most! It goes by so fast so take advantage of each and every moment.

Become a Global Education Advocate

This program is a great way for students to maintain their connection and involvement with the Office of Global Education after they’ve completed their study abroad program. If you are interested in serving as a Global Education Advocate, please e-mail study.abroad@valpo.edu.