Madrid Global Ambassadors

bettina in madridName: Bettina Harvey ’23

Major: Information & Technology; Finance

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What was your most valuable experience abroad? I would say the most unforgettable experience abroad was having dinner with my friend’s host family in a small town outside of Segovia, Spain. This day resonates with me because I was truly able to connect with a Spanish family. As we spoke in both Spanish and English, we were both able to learn from each other.

Contact: bharvey@syr.edu

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


victoria amadoName: Victoria Amado ’23

Major: Info Management & Technology, Spanish Language Literature & Culture, Policy Studies

Semester Abroad: Fall 2021 & Syracuse London Spring 2022

What do you wish you had known before going abroad? Something I wish I had known before going abroad is to embrace discomfort. There will probably be many new situations that are bound to make you uncomfortable but don’t shy away from these moments because they are most often the most memorable and growth-inducing. I remember being so scared to make mistakes or put myself in new situations where there might be a language barrier or awkward encounter, but I quickly learned that that was no way to spend my time abroad. Instead, I learned to take each of those moments with a grain of salt and learn from them. Not only did it makes things more comfortable for me, but in the end, I realized that simply by putting in an effort, the locals were more than kind to me than I could have ever imagined.

Contact: vcamado@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, Fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, Health, safety, and support, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Selecting a program option


giana in toledoName: Giana DiTolla ’24

Major: Public Relations

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What advice would you give to a student studying abroad? If you are a student of color or have a diverse identity, speak to other students of color or students with a similar identity before you go. You may want to consider how your specific identity will play into how you experience your host country, especially in Europe. Do some research on what prejudices or stereotypes that may not always make headlines will impact you because of your identity.

Contact: gditolla@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Diversity and Inclusion abroad


riley in spainName: Riley Uremovic ’23

Major: English & Textual Studies; Psychology

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most unforgettable experience in Spain had to be going to a traditional bullfight. I was able to take a class called, “Hemingway in Spain” where I got to learn a lot about what the bullfights included and the history/tradition behind them. This education allowed me to have more of an open mind about the bullfights and to understand their extensive background. The last week of the program SU Madrid invited students in the program to go to a bullfight. While I cannot say I am fully in support of them still at this point, I am a lot more accepting than I was before. The “stadium” was remarkable; it was huge and so beautiful. Being surrounded by such a passionate crowd reminded me of being in an enthusiastic crowd at an American sports game. It was cool to see all of what I had learned come to life. My professor of the English class actually hosted the event, so he was able to narrate a lot of the fights for us and to answer any questions we had about what was going on or what things happening meant.

Contact: reuremov@syr.edu

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


Name: Sydney Grosso ’23

Major: Public Health & Policy Studies

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What advice would you give to students studying abroad? I would advise that students get close to their professors because they are some of the smartest and kind-hearted people you’ll meet. They are so open to suggesting activities or helping you find unique places to eat. Lastly, one of the greatest pieces I could offer would be to prepare yourself for when you have to leave. I always say, everyone prepared me to go, but no one prepared me to leave. You will find a new home at your abroad location, and leaving might be the hardest part of abroad.

Contact: smgrosso@syr.edu

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


leah fordName: Leah Ford ’23

Major: Finance, Accounting

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What advice would you give to students studying abroad? I would advise them to stay with a host family because it provides an authentic experience and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture even further. Truly embracing what it’s like to live in the country is really fun and exciting. Being with a family enables them to get recommendations from locals and find hidden spots that have meaning. On top of this, I would heavily advise participating in the programs that the University provides. As I mentioned, the bullet train trips were invaluable and I participated in a cooking class that gave me a taste of how food varies between our countries.

Contact: leford@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Culture shock / Homesickness, First time abroad, Living with a host family


alyeska reimerName: Alyeska Reimer ’23

Major: Theatre Management, Spanish

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022 (Madrid/UAM program)

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The moments I treasured the most were the train rides after my language class at UAM. My classmates and I would leave the class and most of us would head back into the city, and often we would run into each other in the station and get into conversation groups on the way back. We talked about plans for the weekend, where we’re from, really anything and everything at all! I really appreciated getting to know people like that and connect with people from all around the world in a deeper way.

Contact: agreimer@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Allergies & dietary needs, Cultural Immersion, Disability resources, First time abroad, LGBTQ+, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Selecting a program option


Name: Sam Cestari ’21, G ’23

Major: Public Communications; Public Diplomacy MA

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What advice would you give to students studying abroad? I would say to prepare to have your expectations shifted. I thought I had an idea of what my experience studying abroad would be like and I was met with so much that I never even thought of. Although this sounds scary, it wasn’t. Some of my best memories and experiences were things I didn’t necessarily expect. That being said for the aspects that might be more difficult to adjust to go into it with an open mind.

Contact: 

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


Name: Brooke Fiedler ’23

Major: Finance

Semester Abroad: Spring 2022

What advice would you give to students studying abroad? I would advise students planning to go abroad to be totally present during their abroad semester. What I mean by this is they should set aside all of their American distractions (to clarify, things like keeping in touch with family is not a distraction) and fully immerse themself in the host culture. This will open up new opportunities for understanding people outside of the United States that they may not have considered before.

Contact: bfiedler@syr.edu

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


Name: Alyssa Grzesiowski ’22 – now a Fulbright Scholar!

Major: Chemistry and Forensic Science (minor in Spanish)

Semester Abroad: Spring 2020

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? I wish I had known how amazing living with a host family can be so I would not have been so apprehensive about choosing that option. I was really nervous to meet my host family, but they were so kind and accommodating, especially with my food allergies and any other needs I had.

Contact: ajgrzesi@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Preparing for departure, adjusting to a foreign language, allergies & dietary needs (I am dairy & peanut free), cultural immersion, fitting study abroad into your home campus experience, living with a host family, and preparing for departure