Discovery Program Global Ambassadors

Click to view Global Ambassadors from each program:


Discovery Florence

Florence

Name: Aurora Cody ’23

Major: International Relations, Italian

Semester Abroad: Florence Fall 2019

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish I had listened when I was told not to overpack. I brought so much stuff I didn’t wear, which was a waste of space and money trying to bring home again. Your suitcase should not be full going abroad, because you need to leave room for everything you’re going to buy! Toiletries are available in Italy, you don’t need to waste weight bringing them. I bought so many clothes and gifts that I had to get an extra suitcase to being everything home, which can get expensive.

Contact: ajcody@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Meeting locals, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Living with a host family


Name: Bailey Davis ’23

Major: International Relations, Environmental Sustainability & Policy

Semester Abroad: Florence Fall 2019

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? I really wish I would’ve known about taking classes at the University of Firenze, one of the many universities SU partners with abroad. I think that this is very useful in the sense that these partnerships offer a wider range of classes to choose from, and a different educational perspective.

Contact: bldavis@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Disability resources, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, LGBTQ+, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


Name: Rocio (Pondi) Carrero ’23

Major: Environmental and Interior Design

Semester Abroad: Florence Fall 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Living with a host family and feeling like I was just another member of their family. I also really loved traveling and discovering new places with friends.

Contact: rcarrero@syr.edu


Name: Dayel Pope ’23

Major: Political Science

Semester Abroad: Florence Fall 2019

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most unforgettable experience in Italy would have to be visiting Rome. I remember being in awe of the city’s beauty and spending the day visiting as many sights as possible. The Colosseum was my first stop and the structure itself commanded my attention, when I arrived at the top and looked on the remains and I was aware of the history around me and grateful for the preservation of this site. Next we visited Peters Basilica and I was able to stand in the Sistine Chapel. From the time I entered the basilica to the time I left I was surrounded in art. The beauty of it all was astounding and I will never forget how it felt standing underneath all the masterpieces.

Contact: dpope01@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


athena rootName: Athena Root ’25

Major: Neuroscience, Arts and Sciences

Semester Abroad: Florence Fall 2021

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The cultural boundary made things feel very isolating at times. However, the more time I spent in Florence, the more I began to navigate the cultural differences. Slowly, I began to pick up some Italian language, and eventually I came out of my shell to interact with my peers. Studying in Italy changed my perspective on the world as the home-sickness made me appreciate the U.S. more but, I also became even more excited to travel abroad again someday.

Contact: amroot@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family


jonah in florenceName: Jonah Tafuri ’25

Major: Economics

Semester Abroad: Florence Fall 2021

What would you say to a student undecided about studying abroad? It’s fair to be undecided about going abroad. Especially joining the Discovery Program; the first semester is already a very new experience so studying abroad could seem excessive. It’s an untraditional experience, but what I can say in hindsight is that I certainly would regret not studying abroad now that I know what I had gotten out of it. I think a lot of the anxiety that would prevent somebody from going quickly goes away within a couple weeks. Now when I look back on my study abroad trip, I think fondly of when I still had to figure things out and when I was uncomfortable at first in Italy. It feels good to overcome this nervousness.

Contact: jttafuri@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family


Discovery Madrid

Name: Kiana Khoshnoud ’23

Major: Undecided

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish I had known more about the country I was going to before I got there! Before going to Madrid I had traveled a bit around France and Italy, but I had never been to Spain. I had no real idea of how Madrid was going to be. Of course I saw it on google but I had not even met anyone who had gone their before. If I had known all the amazing aspects of Spanish culture before I went to Madrid, I would not have been as worried about going. Talking to students that had previously gone would have been a relief. In lots of instances people get nervous before going abroad, so it is pretty amazing to have someone to reach out to, to explain anything you are curious about.

Contact: kckhoshn@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Selecting a program option


Name: Andrea Sanchez ’23

Major: Policy Studies

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish I had known that despite your financial situation, there are so many ways to get to know the city of Madrid and the rest of Spain that aren’t so costly. I made some of the best memories on the day trips through the school whose deposit ranged from 5-10 euros or the group trips to Cordoba, Sevilla, Burgos, and Leon that were included in our program fee. By researching cheap flights and hostels/Airbnbs while planning trips, I was still able to go to other places in Spain and outside of the country. It is entirely possible to fulfill your study abroad dreams on a budget.

Contact: asanch27@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Selecting a program option


Name: Camran Shealy ’23

Major: Political Science

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? Before going abroad, I heard a lot about how to adapt to being in a new country, experiencing a new culture, etc.. The one thing I think I wasn’t prepared for, was the simultaneous experience of being in college for the first time. Going abroad as a Freshman means taking on more than just a new country, it means adapting to a newfound independence and work ethic, and that is something that is hard to prepare for. I wish I would have known the magnitude of the changes I was about to experience, and how these changes would influence my abroad experience.

Contact: clshealy@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Disability resources, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, LGBTQ+, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


Granada

Name: Alesandra Temerte ’23

Major: Economics; Writing & Rhetoric

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What would you say to students undecided about going abroad? Take the leap! I was pretty nervous at first too–in fact, I initially tried to back out of the Discovery program after learning I was accepted. It very quickly became the most extraordinary experience of my life, and I learned and grew so much as a person. I don’t have a single regret about going abroad, even though it meant missing out on the typical first semester freshman experience. I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything else because it was truly special. It set the foundation for the resourcefulness, awareness, knowledge, and drive to explore that I would carry with me for the rest of my college career.

Contact: atemerte@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure


Name: Donyell Logan ’23

Major: Medicinal Chemistry and Psychology

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? I had my doubts as well. I was excited yet apprehensive. However, this truly was an experience of a lifetime. I want to go back often and I want you to give it a shot. My time abroad was fun and I made some great friends that I continue to hang out with on main campus. You’re experience abroad will be the highlight of your college career. If you’re given an opportunity to study abroad, never turn it down. You have more semesters on campus than abroad, but I guarantee you that going abroad will be one of the most memorable moments of your college career. I wish there was a full time campus in Madrid, because I would definitely go there!

Contact: dslogan@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Race & Ethnicity


EvaName: Eva Englich ’23

Major: Modern Foreign Languages and International Relations

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Overall for me living with a host family in Spain was the most valuable thing I could have done while studying abroad. While I did not have a family per se, I had a wonderful host mother who was one of the most caring and interesting people I had ever met. She was a bit older and had three grown up children. Each of these children had children of their own who came to visit every once in a while. Living and sharing such a small space with my host mom made me feel comfortable talking to her about a wide variety of topics, including the current political climate in Spain, and various things I learned in my classes at the SU Madrid center. We shared different stories and traditions which helped me embrace the Spanish culture more. For me my host mom was like another grandmother who was caring and always tried her best to make us feel comfortable no matter the situation. This was the most valuable part about studying abroad. I truly felt like I had a place in Madrid because of my host mother.

Contact: erenglic@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Cultural Immersion


Name: Courtney Conte ’23

Major: Neuroscience and Biology

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2019

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The most valuable experience that I had while in Madrid was when I chose to sightsee individually, and visited some of the museums and parks in the city. After taking the Arts of Spain course, it was so much more interesting to walk around the museums and recognize some of the pieces, as well as to be able to apply the things that I was learning in the classroom into such a large part of Spanish culture and history. It was amazing to feel like I was in my city, comfortable walking through Retiro by myself, just people watching.

Contact: cconte@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


mark nzasiName: Mark Nzasi ’25

Major: Biology

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2021

What advice would you give to a student studying abroad? Do some research and make a list of all the places you’d like to visit before you travel abroad! Spending only a single semester in a new country is not enough time to truly experience all that it has to offer. Time goes by fast when you’re having fun and you don’t want to return home to The United States feeling like you missed out on certain incredible sights and experiences! I had so many spectacular experiences travelling to other cities in Spain however, I wish I planned my time more so I could have had the chance to visit even more cities and learn more about each place’s culture.

Contact: mwnzasi@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Selecting a program option


kanya shahName: Kanya Shah ’25

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2021

What advice would you give to a student studying abroad? Unsure of going to study abroad? The plus side is that your understanding of the world we live in will evolve, you’ll gain interpersonal skills, and you’ll become braver. The struggle will be adjusting to new social customs, the language(s), financial budgeting, and managing traveling with academics. Personally, the struggles you will go through as you’re abroad will pay off because when you come back to your home country, you will become unstoppable if you choose to fully engage with the country you studied abroad in. Think about what you want to get out of studying abroad.

Contact: kshah23@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure


adam baltaxeName: Adam Baltaxe ’25

Major: International Relations

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2021

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? If I could go back in time and tell myself one thing before I went abroad it would be to keep as open of a mind as possible. I’m not saying that you should go in completely blind, as knowing some basic skills helps with conversations and communication, but don’t fret about being underprepared. As long as you go in with an accepting and ready-to-learn mindset, you are going to have an incredible time. You are surrounded by people who are willing to help 24/7, and there’s no better way to learn about a country than through first-hand experience.

Contact: abaltaxe@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


leana basharName: Leana Bashar ’25

Major: Earth Sciences

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2021

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? The public transport in Madrid is amazing! It completely changed my views on city life and how much potential we have to make urban areas more livable and sustainable. The convenient bus and metro timings and distance from the stops to school and other historical landmarks actively inspired me to go out more and know that there’s a reliable, cheap option for anything. Surprisingly, I looked forward to my morning commute: seeing the different demographics of Madrid going from one stop to another, what they were wearing, what they were listening to, reading, or saying. It was such a vulnerable sight to see for a few minutes, and then they would leave, going who knows where.

Contact: lsbashar@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Cultural Immersion, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


kaila hartName: Kaila Hart ’25

Major: Psychology

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2021

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most valuable experience would be having the chance to immerse myself in an entirely different culture. I was definitely terrified when I first landed in Spain, I didn’t know anything about Madrid and my Spanish was not the best. As the weeks went on, I was able to have conversations in Spanish and the city of Madrid began to feel like a second home. I found myself giving directions in Spanish to people in Madrid without second guessing what I was saying. I will always remember each thing I experienced in Madrid and those encounters where I was able to apply everything I had learned.

Contact: kdhart@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity


suragith paulName: Suragith Paul ’25

Major: Aerospace Engineering

Semester Abroad: Madrid Fall 2021

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most unforgettable experience was traveling around Spain, especially the bullet train trips, because I was able to see many communities outside of Madrid. I was able to go to Cuenca, Granada, Segovia, and many more places. I enjoyed visiting monuments in every city because each city had its own history and monuments that made them unique. As I traveled through Spain, I was able to see and learn about the history and origins of each city and what it had to offer, especially the monuments. My favorite monument was the Aqueducts in Segovia because it looks like it’s in pristine condition and it goes on for miles through the city.

Contact: spaul01@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Selecting a program option, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure


Discovery Strasbourg

JeffreyName: Jeffrey Hoffman ’23

Major: International Relations and Modern Foreign Language

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2019

What was your most valuable experience abroad? What I loved most about being abroad was exploring a new city with such wonderful people. Strasbourg offered so much to see, do, and eat! Exploring the physical layout of the city and getting to eventually call it home was an amazing experience. I learned about a new culture not only in terms of food, sport, and language, but in mannerism and how the French live. The thing that made my experience the best however was sharing it with my friends that today I call family.

Contact: jlhoffma@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Adjusting to a foreign language


Name: Destiny Wright-Butler ’23

Major: International Relations

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2019

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? Going abroad teaches you how to fit into a livelihood different than your basic routine. It can show you that although in a different country, people across the globe are more connected that someone without an abroad experience may think. I would urge a student to realize that the world is becoming more international and being a globalized individual is the most important life skill one can have. Being abroad gives you the ability to learn how other countries and their citizens function which will make you more desirable to the internationally expanding job market and people in general! Plus, if you can live in another country independently, any situation you are thrown into will be easily navigable.

Contact: dwrightb@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Financing study away, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Selecting a program option


Name: Taylor Stover ’23

Major: International Relations, French minor

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2019

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? One thing I wish I had known before going abroad was how to trust myself more. Studying in Strasbourg was my first time travelling outside of North America, so I was nervous at first and didn’t know what to expect. I surprised myself with how fast I adapted and how quickly I learned to navigate the language, the culture, and the city. I was able to balance exploring Strasbourg and Europe with succeeding in my first semester of college. That’s the best advice I can give anyone who’s going to study abroad: trust yourself and believe in yourself and the rest will work itself out.

Contact: tjstover@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, LGBTQ+, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Religious life, Selecting a program option


GermanyName: Sifan Hunde ’23

Major: Psychology and Neuroscience

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2019

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My whole study abroad experience is truly unforgettable! I had the chance to not just live in France but to also travel to many other European countries. Strasbourg is very special in that it has heavy German influence so learning about the history and seeing how different it is from many other French cities was amazing. Living with a host family is also one of my most valuable experiences because I got to see France not just from my own perspective but also from that of my host mom’s who has lived there her whole life. I came back to the US with a completely different mind set than the one I left with which I am so thankful for.

Contact: shunde@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity


Name: Sumer Robbin ’23

Major: International Relations

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2019

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? First, a practical matter, I think that packing light is very important because you will find so much of what you need where you’re staying. I also wish I had known that there is a culture shock no matter where you go and that it takes a little bit of time to adjust to it. I think that homesickness is very real during this time and that there are some times that you will miss your family and the comfortable routine you once had. These emotions are normal but they also fade so quickly when you get out and experience everything around you. But besides this, I really wish I knew how fast the time goes and that you should embrace every minute of it.

Contact: srobbin@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Living with a host family, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity


Name: Peyton Cameron ’22

Major: International Relations & Linguistics

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My semester abroad was so impactful in my life. I grew as a person more than I could have ever predicted and I created friendships that helped me adapt to campus and made college less intimidating.

Probably the most influential moment from last semester would have to be my trip to Marseilles. Some of my friends and I were staying in an AirBnB for the weekend and while we were in the airport we got a call from the people hosting us and my friends handed me the phone and I was able to talk to them and understand the instructions for how we were going to get into the room. The hosts only spoke French and I was so proud of my French speaking ability and I was able to understand and talk more than I thought I would be able to. That really set the tone for the rest of my semester and I just grew in my confidence with French.

Contact: pmcamero@syr.edu


Name: Ashley Collado ’22

Major: Political Science

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Having the ability to visit so many cities, whether through trips with the university or on my own and witness them in person and not through a textbook was my most valuable experience abroad. Traveling allowed me to take what I learned in class about cities and different cultures and appreciate it with my own eyes. Though I was taking classes at the center during the week, I found I learned the most about the world and myself when I was traveling that a classroom could never teach me. I got to be in the culture I was visiting, challenging my language skills and push myself out of my comfort zone with every decision I made. Being able to have this experience as a first-year freshman is an opportunity that completely changed me in ways I am still realizing, and what I valued the most from my time abroad.

Contact: ascollad@syr.edu


Name: Ethan Tang ’25

Major: International Relations

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2021

What was your most valuable experience abroad? It was so interesting to enjoy the experience of French culture, but also to understand that people in France and the region as a whole is part of the European Union. The European identity is very strong specifically in Strasbourg, and so I didn’t just learn about French culture. I was able to learn about German history and influence. The European Council is located in Strasbourg, so I was able to really understand the role that Strasbourg is for the entirety of Europe.

Contact: ettang@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Culture shock / Homesickness, Disability resources, Financing study away, First time abroad, Health, safety, and support, LGBTQ+, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


Name: Virginia Walker ’25

Major: International Relations

Semester Abroad: Strasbourg Fall 2021

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My internship at the University of Strasbourg was absolutely one of the highlights of my abroad experience. What made this experience  special for me was that almost all of the students I assisted were around my age, making it really easy to make connections and find similarities between us even with all of our differences. My role in the internship was to act as a secondary instructor in the English classes. More specifically, I worked with CRAL, the Centre de Ressources et d’Apprentissage des Langues de l’Université de Strasbourg, a sector of the university’s language department that works with students studying humanities. I was thrilled to work with students in the humanities because we had mutual interests as an International Relations major. I worked alongside several French professors who were fluent in English but often asked for my opinion during class discussions and asked me to elaborate on various topics from an American and native English speaker perspective. I enjoyed having a platform to share my culture and experiences with others because the students advanced their studies, and I gained more knowledge on French culture and French norms through the exchange.

Contact: vtwalker@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family