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Student Ambassadors

Contact International  


Center for International Programs
West Chester University
320 Mitchell Hall
675 S. Church Street
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-3515
Fax: 610-436-3426

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 4:30pm

International Student Advising:
Make an appointment.
Limited availability for walk-ins.

Study Abroad Advising:
Make an appointment.
Limited availability for walk-ins.

Student Ambassadors

Laura Reyes

image of Laura Reyez
Major: Business Management & Marketing majors

Minor: Latin American and Latino Studies Minor & Spanish minor 

Program: AIFS in São Paulo, Brazil (Summer 2017)

I chose to study abroad because I love to travel so there is no better way for me to learn if it’s not outside in the real world. I am extremely passionate about languages and culture so I loved the fact that I came into this program with little knowledge of the Portuguese language and the Brazilian culture. I learned so much about myself and what I can accomplish on my own. What I best took away from my experience is that being uncomfortable is OKAY! Stepping out of your comfort zone is crucial in life and there is no better way to do that than studying abroad. I am so happy I chose to do this because I gained so many new friends and memories. This is the time to travel, so I advise to take advantage of all the financial resources and support WCU offers.

Danielle Sinn

image of Danielle Sinn
Major:  Political Science: International Relations concentration

Minor: French and Arabic

Program: WCU Spring Break - Trans-Atlantic Relations in Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg

With visits to the European Union, NATO and European Parliament Headquarters, my time abroad in Europe greatly benefited my studies as a Political Science major and as a French minor. Not only did I benefit academically, but socially as well. Spring Break trips offer the unique experience of constant travel with a group of fellow students which creates bonds between students so strong that I remain in contact with most people that went abroad with me today. The positive experience I had abroad encouraged me to enroll for more study abroad programs this upcoming Winter Break, 2017, in Cuernavaca, Mexico and during next Fall in Aix-en-Provence, France. Studying abroad offers every student independence, adventure and learning opportunities and I am dedicated to experiencing as much of this as I can before my time at West Chester University is over.

I chose to apply to become a Global Ambassador because I believe that the only way to fully understand people from other places and of other cultures is to immerse oneself into their lifestyle. This understanding is crucial to being a welcoming person in our globalizing world; I fully support this agenda as someone entering a career with international focus. I plan on using my position as a Global Ambassador to help others, of all career interests, choose the right program for them and recognize that anyone can study abroad!

Rachael Lang

image of Rachael Lang

Major: Communicative Sciences and Disorders

Minor: Elementary Education

Program: ISA Summer Term in Sydney, Australia

Curiosity is what encouraged me to study abroad. I contemplated studying abroad during my first three years at West Chester thinking I would never take a chance at this amazing opportunity. Despite my hesitation, I finally committed to a program during my senior year. I have always wanted to experience a new culture and take the risk to meet new people while travelling on my own, but I had so many unanswered questions about living in a foreign country. Personally, Australia did not give me an overwhelming culture shock since there were enough similarities to the United States to make me comfortable in the environment, but there were also enough differences that I could learn about new customs with ease.

Studying abroad forced me to be independent. All on my own, I learned how to live and solve problems without having the luxury of calling my parents or friends to comfort me. I also learned to develop life skills that I typically would not get from sitting in a classroom. An experience like studying abroad forces self-growth and exploration. It is difficult to come home and explain to others that although some people see this experience as a vacation, it was actually a learning experience that taught me so much. Through my trip, I gained a deeper appreciation for the world around me and I made lifelong friends with people from all over the country. By the end of the trip, I did not want to leave. In my head, Australia was sounding like a great place to live on a longer-term basis. Instead, I will just have to travel “down under” again in my future.

For anyone on the fence about studying abroad, my advice is that you should definitely do it! Take this time while you’re young to explore your own curiosities and learn about yourself. It will push you outside of your comfort zone, but the outcome is entirely worth it. There are several different programs to choose from, so all you have to do is find what program works for you. My trip was a part of a shorter program, which was only a 1-month stay, but there are other time frames and locations that are suitable for different individuals. Take a chance and study abroad!

Anna Waverka

image of Anna Waverka

Major: German and History education

Program: WCU Summer in Vienna, Austria (with additional travel to Salzburg, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Bratislava, Slovakia; and Prague, Czech Republic)

I chose to study abroad because I have always been fascinated by other cultures. When my German professor offered me the chance to go and actually experience another culture, I jumped on it. I chose to study abroad because I wanted a change from my usual scene, and I wanted to experience the world during the best time of my life.

Study Abroad has changed my life in many ways. Prior to going over to Vienna, Austria, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life after college. After spending a month abroad, I realized that my path had to end up in Europe, one way or another. Studying abroad helped me decide that I want to be a teacher at an American School abroad one day after college. Study abroad made me into a more independent and mature person. My experience abroad provided me with friends from other countries, wonderful memories and a desire to never stop traveling. It showed me that the world is a wonderful, vibrant, diverse place that has so many things to offer.

I would advise anyone who is going abroad to study the place they are planning on going to. Having an idea of what there is to see and do in that specific area makes the experience one thousand times better. It gives you assurance that you will never be sitting around with no idea what to do.

Elizabeth McCarthy

image of Elizabeth McCarthy

Major: Microbiology

Minor: Chemistry

Program name: Medlife Volunteer Experience

Locations- Tena, Ecuador.  Esmeraldas, Ecuador.  Moshi, Tanzania

When- Winter break and summer break

My study abroad experience was not typical because I didn't do any studying!  I have gone abroad three times to do service in rural communities to support safe and healthy families. I chose to do this type of study abroad experience because I am passionate about service, and this type of traveling allowed me to experience other cultures without being gone for more than a couple weeks.  Volunteering abroad has totally changed my life. The global perspective that I gained from these trips kick started my decision to have a career in healthcare for the under served.  My time in other countries formed memories that I couldn't have gotten anywhere else. My advice for any student thinking about studying abroad is to keep your options open, and definitely look into atypical ways to explore the world!

Ellen Chernaskey

image of Ellen Chernaskey

Major: Communication Studies

Minor: Anthropology

Programs: CISAbroad Summer in San Jose, Costa Rica

WCU Summer in Perugia, Italy- Ethnographic Field School at Umbra Institute

I decided to take my education abroad because travel has always impacted my life in surprising, wonderful ways. I wanted to continue my education throughout summers so I could get the most out of my college experience. Both of my study abroad sojourns were full of inspiration, challenges, and lessons. From taking a drawing course in Costa Rica with a well-known pastel artist to doing anthropological research with two impactful West Chester professors in Italy, the opportunity for learning and growth is indescribable. I highly recommend education abroad to any student because it will enhance your resume and repertoire, teach you to face adversity, expand your interests and skills, and lastly create: possibilities, friendships, memories, and much more.

Stephanie Gallo

image of Stephanie Gallo

Major: Marketing

Minor: Communication studies

Program: CISAbroad Study Internship in London

Studying abroad was the best decision I ever made, it was easily the best 4 months of my life!  I was able to travel to 3 different countries (France, Spain, & Italy) during my time abroad. Traveling on my own forced me outside of a "college bubble" and placed me right into the real world, while continuing to motivate me to pursue my current career path.   I was lucky enough to hold an internship at an amazing event planning company while abroad and this is when I truly got to experience London.   Here I learned all the best in's and out's, and was able to perfect my British accent.  I am so grateful for this experience because now I have an amazing resume booster, and I am so excited to pursue a career in this field! 

Needless to say I am obsessed with London! The best part was, I got to live in the heart of it all, in an amazing neighborhood with the best restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques all within walking distance!  I was able to travel to 3 different countries (France, Spain, & Italy) during my time abroad. It was crazy that I could hop on a train and be in Paris two short hours later.  I am so happy that I chose to go abroad.  I always thought that I wanted to live in a big city, but after living in London I now KNOW this is something I need to do and I am so excited for my future. My time in London really helped me learn so much about myself because I was able to experience so much in such a short time

Studying abroad was definitely outside my comfort zone, but I could not be happier for the friendships and experiences I gained in those short few months.  If you are even considering going abroad I say go for it!  This is the one chance in your life that you can pick up and move to another country and embrace an entirely new culture. Be sure to take in everything because it will go way faster than you think!  Say yes to every new opportunity and try and many new things as possible because this truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Madelin Lemus

image of Madelin Lemus

Major: Business Management

Program: WCU Summer International Business & Management in China

I actually never expected myself to study abroad one day. I always figured that studying abroad wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until the spring semester of 2017 that I noticed there were lots of posters all over campus promoting the International Business and Management program. This trip immediately caught my attention since it was related to my major and I really wanted to know more about the program. I meet up with Professor Linda Zhu and Tony Jiang and they gave me great information about the trip and I knew I wanted to apply right away. I was so excited when I found out that I got accepted. Studying abroad changed my college experience because I started my first two years of school in community college and then transferred to West Chester and I’ve always commuted to school. While studying abroad, I actually lived in a dorm room and had roommates for the first time. I was also away from home for three weeks and that helped me become more independent. Each day in China was an adventure because we got to visit three cities but my absolute favorite was Beijing. I met so many people and other students while in China and thanks to this trip, I have so many wonderful memories to look back on. My advice for anyone considering studying abroad is that they should definitely go for it because it’s worth it. It’s a great experience to get out of your comfort zone and visit a new country, culture, and to learn a new language. Take advantage of this opportunity and enjoy every moment of the trip!

Rosanella Badalamenti

image of Rosanella Badalamenti

Major- Communication Sciences and Disorders

Minor: Italian

Program: International Study Abroad Program (ISA) in Florence, Italy, Spring 2017

I chose to study abroad because I had an innate desire to travel to Italy and I wanted to experience my cultural heritage. I also desired to learn more of the Italian language and the different historical monuments of Italy. Traveling to different countries was a huge factor in my decision to study abroad and I wanted to overall grow as an individual by experiencing diverse cultures.

Studying Abroad broadened many spectrums in my life because I learned valuable life skills that will always be instilled within me. I learned how to communicate with others with a language barrier, I became much more aware of my surroundings and learned information on traveling individually and different aspects of the Italian culture that are not in the American Culture. I embraced the person that I became while I was abroad and learned different aspects of communication and I found new interests that I thought I would never find. Studying abroad really brought out my independent nature and I made incredible friends along the way that I still keep in contact with to this day. I will always have this experience with me and will always guide others for future travels so they have a better understanding of the positive outcomes that will come out of internationally studying abroad.

Studying abroad is such a life-changing experience because of the opportunities that you get to encounter. This is a chance to explore your horizons and realize what you are capable of doing. Students will get to experience culture and imbibe many aspects of different countries. I would plan as far in advance as you can and do a lot of research because you can never do too much!

Kimberly Alegria

image of Kimberly Alegria

Major- Social Work

Program- The Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE) at Augsburg University| Cuernavaca, Mexico| Spring 2017

I have always been interested in traveling so when the opportunity arrived to be the first social work major to be a part of this program I jumped on it! I hoped that studying abroad would confirm whether or not I wanted to do international social work or something related.

By studying abroad, I completely grew and changed as a person. Studying abroad allowed me to not only become a better student but a better person. When you’re in an unfamiliar place, you are forced to use the language, be open to new and different cultures, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Regardless of any doubts or fears, you must do it! This will be one of the most influential experiences of your life. There are infinite amounts of resources to assist you in any obstacles that come up. There are scholarships, support groups, and other resources. If it’s a thought in your head, go to your department or the Center for International Programs and they will put your concerns to bed. Studying abroad changed my life and has opened so many doors for me!

Billy Haviland

image of Billy haviland

Major- Political Science - Concentration: International Relations

Programs- WCU Summer in Germany – Political Science in Bad Bevensen, Germany (Summer 2017)

Personal Travel - Heritage Academy, Ghana (Spring 2014/Summer 2015)

 I originally chose to study abroad because I was extremely interested in seeing how people lived around the world. I attended Westtown School, a diverse high school in Chester County. Westtown is a boarding school filled with international students from every continent with the exception of Antarctica. This sparked an interest in me to learn about different cultures, plus I gained an appreciation for people that grew up outside of my community.

Studying abroad is the best decision I've made. My two trips to Ghana opened my eyes and humbled me. Not a day goes by where I don't think about my friends there. Today, I sponsor two students there. I receive updates on how they are doing in school and am in contact with them frequently. I was able to create friendships that will last my entire life, and will bring me back to Ghana many more times.

My trip to Germany was also a wonderful experience. Although I was traveling for West Chester credits, it felt like I was doing much more. We were able to explore the cities of Germany (Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, etc.) while also learning about diversity, Islamophobia, Xenophobia, and other relevant topics. I would recommend a trip like this, which was led by West Chester faculty. I was able to get to know my advisor and other faculty outside of the classroom setting.

My advice for students interested in study abroad is to not hold back. I strongly believe that seeing other countries creates a greater appreciation not only for those other countries, but also for your own. You can get a better sense of your place in the world, and realize that there is much more than your own community. Hit the road and start exploring because you will not have a more opportune time than these four short years in college.

Matthew Ginieczki

image of Matthew Ginieczki

Major: Criminal Justice

Minor: Political Science

Program: Spring Break 2016 in England & France: Criminal Justice in London & Paris

My study abroad experience was amazing and I had the trip of a lifetime! I would have never thought during my first year at WCU that I’d be applying for and going on an international program. My time abroad was always exciting and fascinating! From my explorations sightseeing at Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, and Montmartre, to the academic components like meeting with French and British police officials and watching an English criminal law trial, there was never a point on the trip where I wasn’t interested or curious to learn more! The biggest takeaways I received from my study abroad experience were how fascinating it was to be surrounded by and immersed in a foreign culture plus how there are many international aspects of my academic major. My advice for students looking to study abroad is to do your research and go for it! There is definitely a great, awesome experience of a lifetime out there for you to enjoy!

Natalie Riviello

image of Natlie Riviello

Major: Communication Studies

 Trip: WCU Winter in Peru with Voices4Peru/ Lima, Peru/ Winter 2017

Studying abroad was a dream of mine before graduating college. At the beginning of my junior year, I knew I needed to start making plans since graduation was right around the corner. I decided to attend the study abroad fair to seek out opportunities. I came across a table that was advertising a trip called Voices4Peru. The Voices4Peru trip incorporated service learning and study abroad. This trip immediately caught my attention because of my strong desire to help others and my hopes to travel outside of the United States. It was a great package deal. I immediately signed up for this trip and bought my plane ticket the same night!

Studying abroad in Peru was a dream come true. From start to finish, my experience felt truly magical. Experiencing the food, culture, people, and language in Peru was a whole new world to me and I loved every second of it! I could barely sleep when I got there because I was so excited and eager to explore. Being that I had never been outside of the United States before, studying abroad also gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and experience life in a new way. Studying abroad offered me opportunities to enhance my language skills and develop a new sense of independence. This experience taught me how to see the world through others’ eyes. I made unforgettable memories and new friends that I will never forget. My international experience changed my life in the most positive ways. It changed the course in which I thought my life was going. For example, I now have plans to continue my travels after college and teach English abroad. Prior to my trip, this is not a plan I would have had for myself. I am forever grateful I made the decision to explore the world! My advice to any student wanting to study abroad is that there are so many opportunities out there for you in! Gaining international experience has given me an insight as to who I am as a person, and I believe that it will do the same for you!

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