Strasbourg Global Ambassadors

Name: Spencer Banwart ’19

Major:Public Relations,International Relations

Semester abroad: Spring 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Living with a host family was especially impactful for me. It was an opportunity to experience French culture in a different way as well as being a great way to practice my language skills.


sarah laceyName: Sarah Lacey ’21

Hometown: Holliston, MA

Major: French & Francophone Studies

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2017

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most unforgettable experience abroad was when I was able to rent a bike using only French. This interaction was the first time I realized I was becoming a part of the community and how much I had grown since arriving in Strasbourg. Also having the person I was talking to fully understand me in conversation was very rewarding and helped give me confidence in my French communication skills.


baylee wrightName: Baylee Wright ’19

Hometown: Saugus, MA

Major: International relations

Semester abroad: Fall 2017

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My host family had made an important impact on my study abroad experiences. They accepted me as a member of their family and worked hard to ensure that I was getting the most out of my time in Strasbourg. We had a very strong bond and they cared to know about my life while they introduced me to theirs. They brought me on trips and dinners that introduced me to their family, friends, and to their life outside of the house. They gave me space, but helped me make sure that I was getting the most out of my time abroad. By the time December came, they were asking me to stay. I know I will make it a point to return to Strasbourg to see them again.


kenza bouananeName: Kenza Bouanane ’21

Hometown: North Bergen, NJ

Major: Undeclared

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2017

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The most significant part that shapes your experience abroad are the people you encounter. My most valuable experience was definitely getting to know my host family. Through them I was able to solidify and refine my French as well as get accustomed to French life and cuisine. I was lucky enough to get an amazing host family that I became really close with. We went on weekends together and talked about films and food. Throughout my time abroad, I cooked for them and we watched movies we recommended to each other. We still Facetime weekly and I have a trip planned to see them this summer.


anna pearsonName: Anna Pearson ’19

Hometown: Natick, MA

Major: Marketing management

Semester abroad: Fall 2017

What was your most unforgettable experience abroad? It was during a school trip to Burgundy. The group was staying in a hamlet in the the French countryside with no phone service and no WiFi, which is basically a nightmare for most college kids. It turned out to be an awesome night. Before dinner we all were kicking around soccer balls, throwing Frisbees, and getting to know each other. For dinner we had delicious traditional French food and spoke with the owners and cooks of the inn. After dinner there was an impromptu talent show and then we ended the night by building a campfire, singing campfire songs, and telling stories. I went to a part of France I never would have visited on my own, I got to bond with the other students on the trip, and it was a great way to start off my semester.


timothy kimName: Timothy Kim ’21

Hometown: Flushing, NY

Major: English and textual studies

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2017

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The connections I made with my fellow students and professors. They were incredibly friendly, and I not only made friends with other freshmen, there were upperclassmen that were approachable and gave advice on how to continue university life. My friends made my life so much easier considering the loneliness and homesickness I felt being so far away for the first time in my life. The classes at the Discovery program were also small and allowed interpersonal relationships with professors to develop.  The closeness I developed would make it easy for me to ask for recommendation letters further along my college career, as I felt that close to my instructors.


Sarah CastilloName: Sarah Castillo ’20

Hometown: Hartsdale, NY

Major: Civil Engineering

Semester abroad: Fall 2017

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Living with my new family, Laurence and Herve, turned out to be the most valuable experience I had while studying abroad From the moment I arrived at their home, I was welcomed with open arms and truly treated like a part of the family. Coming home to warm smiles and the aroma of a delicious home cooked meal was something I looked forward to everyday. Everyday, they encouraged me to expand my vocabulary, introducing me to Alsatian culture with meals, books, and stories, playing the French news on the radio during breakfast, offering to take me on excursions, and being extremely patient in speaking with me by taking the time to explain certain words or phrases in English if I did not translate correctly. Thanks to them, I can proudly say I can now hold a conversation in French and continue to use it to this day when I text them to keep in touch.


Eric DunayName: Eric Dunay ’18

Hometown: Spring Hill, TN

Major: Political science

Semester abroad: Spring 2017

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Your host family becomes a gateway for your time abroad. They help by not allowing you to confine yourself to the people you knew before going to France, they become a real family to you, and they allow you to express your day-to-day successes and failures in a productive environment. I became closer to my host family than I’d ever imagine; to the point where I felt as if they were my real family when introducing them to friends throughout the semester. I found what feels like a true brother in my host brother. My host family helped me sew myself into the fabric of town, helped me feel comfortable no matter what, and helped me live more than I could have without them.


Jason McgillName: Jason McGill ’18

Hometown: Columbia, MD

Major: Information management and technology

Semesters abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2014; Strasbourg Summer 2015 Internship; Santiago Center Spring 2017

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish that I knew how fast the time would pass because it seemed like it was all over as soon as I began. I also wish that I knew how much personal progress I would make throughout the semester. Although it would be very challenging to learn the language, take local university classes, and adjust to the new culture it would be all worth it in the end. I realized by the end of my trip that a lot of the other students in the program were initially going through some of the same feelings of nervousness and uncertainty, and experiencing the challenges of getting used to a new environment. I wish that I knew that no matter the new challenges and struggles that I would face that I would be perfectly fine in the end and come back with an amazing experience.


Alexandra PereiraName: Alexandra Pereira ’18

Hometown: Denver, CO

Majors: International relations and Modern foreign languages

Semesters abroad: Discovery Florence Fall 2014; Strasbourg Center Fall 2016; Madrid Center Spring 2017

What was your most unforgettable experience abroad? My most unforgettable experience abroad was when someone asked me a question about the Strasbourg’s Christmas Market because they thought I was a permanent resident of the city since I looked “so at home.”


Anna StraitName: Anna Strait ’19

Hometown: Guilford, CT

Majors: International relations

Semesters abroad: Fall 2015 (Discovery Strasbourg), Spring 2017, Hong Kong: Direct Enroll at CityU

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My classes about China/Hong Kong were helpful in learning the culture and history. I was able to appreciate everything more and ask locals educated questions about the relationship between Hong Kong and China to get an even better understanding.


Mary MikName: Mary Mik ’19

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Major: Nutrition

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2013

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? Fear comes from the unknown. Once you familiarize yourself with a situation, there’s nothing to be afraid of. Being hesitant to go to a foreign place can be intimidating at first, but in the end, it is the most rewarding.


lucy sutphinName: Lucy Sutphin ’18

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Major: Advertising

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? I chose to study in France to help my French speaking skills, little did I know I would learn so much more. The best part of my experience was living with a host family. My host mom was a teacher and she took every chance to teach my roommate and I about the French culture, including us in family trips and traditions. I left for abroad sad to be apart from my family but I left abroad sad to leave my second family. To top it off, my French skills improved ten-fold.


asimina diamantisName: Asimina Diamantis ’19

Hometown: North Olmsted, OH

Major: Mechanical engineering

Semester abroad: Fall 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Syracuse University arranged different excursions near Strasbourg, which were included in our program fee. Setting up trips throughout the semester, offered to all students, allowed me to interact with students whom I didn’t have class with. I was able to quickly bond with fellow students while traveling, creating a lasting experiences. Also, since the university planned the travel excursions, I was able to travel to places I wouldn’t have visited in my own time, as well as lessening the burden of trying to plan my own weekend travels.


kaitlin pearsonName: Kaitlin Pearson ’18

Hometown: East Chatham, NY

Majors: Broadcast & digital journalism

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? The first thing I would say to a student who was undecided about going abroad would be that it’s ok to be undecided. But I would also say that if they decided not to, it would be something they would regret for the rest of their lives. I would tell them that going abroad is all about putting yourself out there, letting go of previous thoughts about a group of people or place and just living your life moment by moment in the best way possible. You put your guard down and let the cultures of these different countries consume you, let people you have never met before change your life, and learn how to problem solve on a moments notice with language and currency often as a barrier. This makes you more independent as an individual and accepting of others. I can honestly say that I am a different person now after studying abroad than I was before I left. It gives you hope that in a world full of hate that you can find these pockets of love and joy where history meets today in the most beautiful way possible.


eve mercerName: Eve Mercer ’18

Hometown: Baldwinsville, NY

Majors: Communication sciences & disorders

Semester abroad: Spring 2016

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Over spring break, some friends and I traveled to Thessaloniki, a city in northern Greece. While we were there, we took a tour one night. Our tour guide, named George, also worked with an organization that helped refugees. While on the tour, we passed a homeless couple sitting under an awning. George stopped and asked where they were from, to which they replied “Syria.” He gave them 20 euros and his business card, and told them that tomorrow morning if they went to the address of his organization that someone would be able to help them. I truly think I will never forget this experience, because it brought a global issue right in front of my eyes. In America, it can be easy to just shut out the refugee crisis because it is so far removed from us, but in Thessaloniki there was no looking away. This experience also showed me the importance of human kindness and helping wherever and whenever you can.


Sarah FarmerName: Sarah Farmer ’18

Hometown: Boyerown, PA

Major: Undeclared

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2015

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Getting to live with a host family. Since I had never taken French before, it was difficult at times for me to communicate with my family, but that is what helped me to learn. My French improved drastically by the end of the semester, and I am now able to speak basic French and even have a simple conversation with someone. Living with a French family really allowed me to learn a lot about French culture and gave me a truly French semester.


Jessica SalduaName: Jessica Saldua ’19

Hometown: Pawtucket, RI

Major: Biology

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2015

What would you say to a student undecided about studying abroad? The things you learn go beyond anything you could learn in the classroom. You come to understand so much about the world, the people around you and yourself. It’s easy to create a list about all the experiences that you can have while abroad, but nothing on paper comes close to actually packing your bags and traveling not only in the city you’re studying in, but also the surrounding countries. Your abroad experience doesn’t stop when you return either, it’s something that will stay with you for the rest of your life.


Nidia BernalName: Nidia Bernal ’19

Hometown: Fairfield, NJ

Major: Biochemistry

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2015

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish I did not pack so much. I was told but I really wished I listened. It is very important to know that you will find and buy a lot of things while abroad. Pack the very essential things and everything will be fine.



Sean OnwualuName: Sean Onwualu ’19

Hometown: Sylmar, CA

Major: Psychology

Semester abroad: Discovery Strasbourg Fall 2015

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Definitely the relationships I made with French students and French people. They allowed me to really broaden my horizons and think differently.