Santiago Global Ambassadors

Mckinley SantiagoName: Mckinley Vrees ’20

Major: Spanish Language, Literature and Culture, Pre-med track

Semesters abroad: Spring 2019

What was your most valuable experience in your host country? Being able to fully immerse myself in the culture. Living in Chile is definitely on my list of “coolest things I’ve ever done” – it was an experience like no other and something I honestly wasn’t as prepared for as I thought I’d be. I learned so much each and every day from living with a host family, being enrolled in a Chilean University and getting to travel all throughout this incredible country I now get to call home.

Contact: mwvrees@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, Selecting a program option


Name: Cafui Awasu ’20

Major: Management, Entrepreneurship

Semesters abroad: Spring 2019

What would you say to a student undecided about going abroad? Go!!!! It can be incredibly stressful trying to think about how you are going to fit study abroad into your schedule and it can be nervewracking thinking about being dropped in a new country and language but it honestly has the potential to be one of the best experiences of your life. It can be hard to jump into the unknown but what you find on the other side, is so so worth it.

Contact: caawasu@syr.edu

Topics I’m comfortable discussing: Staying in touch with friends & family, Adjusting to a foreign language, Cultural Immersion, Living with a host family, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


santiago MaeghanName: Maeghan Higgins ’20

Major: Inclusive Elementary & Special Education

Semesters abroad: Spring 2019; Summer 2018

What did you wish you had known before going abroad? Before I took the journey and studied abroad, I wish I knew how hard it was going to be, but how much I would grow from the struggle. I wish I had known that the biggest moments of personal growth, come when from some of the greatest struggles. I think it can be hard to think about these big ideas when there is so much change all around you, but I wish I had understood that it was okay to struggle, and that something amazing was going to come out of all of this. I wish I knew abroad wasn’t always going to feel amazing, but that’s what can make it a life-changing experience.

Contact: mhiggi02@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


April SantiagoName: April Hill ’20

Major: Nutrition and Citizenship & Civic Engagement

Semesters abroad: Spring 2019

What was your most valuable experience abroad? The best experie

nce about living abroad for me was living with host parents! I adored my host parents, and I loved getting such a close look at every day life in Chile. I got to talk to them about current events and their opinions on big and small issues. My host parents also worked to include me in all the family activities, so I got to go on vacations, trips to the countryside, and family celebrations. Not to mention, I was able to try Chilean foods and practice my Spanish so much more than I would have if I were just living with other students.

Contact: amhill@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, Living with a host family, Meeting locals, Preparing for departure, Race & Ethnicity, Religious life, Selecting a program option


Name: Emma Fountain ’20

Major: International Relations, Religion, & Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture

Semester Abroad: Fall 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? I loved being immersed in a totally different culture. I chose Santiago because I knew it would be different from what I was used to, and I felt every day like I learned so much just by being in this new environment. I also feel so much more confident in my language abilities – being able to communicate with a whole new population is an incredible ability!

Contact: elfounta@syr.edu


Name: Caitlin Johnston ’20

Major: Spanish Education & Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture

Semesters Abroad: Fall 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Being enrolled in a Chilean University. I had a linguistics class where I was the only non-Chilean and not only did it help improve my Spanish, but I learned so much about their culture by interacting with students my age. I was able to take courses through the local university and the Syracuse center that I never would be able to take at a U.S. university. Although intimidating at first, being fully immersed in Spanish extremely helped my fluency.

Contact: crjohnst@syr.edu


Name: Tara Kielty ’20

Majors: Sociology & Citizenship and Civic Engagement

Semesters Abroad: Fall 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? My most valuable experience abroad was living with host families! I loved experiencing the culture first-hand and having lasting connections with people across the globe. I was nervous to live with a host family at first, especially because of the language barrier, but your host family will support you in learning the language, traditions, and all about their city and country. I am so grateful for the experience of living with host families and I can’t wait for you to meet yours!

Contact: tkielty@syr.edu


Name: Anna Poe ’20

Major: International Relations & Citizenship and Civic Engagement

Semesters abroad: Spring 2018

What was your most valuable experience abroad? Living with a host family. Living with a host family provided such a unique opportunity to be immersed while living abroad and I feel so fortunate to have been included in their lives.

Contact: apoe01@syr.edu