Come and meet our Study Abroad Peer Mentors!  They have all participated in a study abroad program and can help guide you through the decision-making process as well as share any tips about making the most of your experience abroad.

Hailey Nethery

Name: Hailey Nethery
Major: Business Administration, Marketing concentration
Minor: Economics
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: London, England

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

The highlight of my experience would have to be all the traveling I was able to do. I went to several different countries in such a small amount of time that I know it is something I will never get a chance to do again after I finish school. I also was able to make friends from all over the world, some that I know I will have for the rest of my life and thats priceless to me.

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I wish that I had known I was going to want to stay a whole year. I made so many great friends and had so many wonderful experiences that by the time my semester was over, I wasn’t ready to leave.

Mary Gulden

Name: Mary Gulden
Major: Communication
Minor: Theatre
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: Melbourne, Australia

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

My Easter Break I traveled up the East Australian coast to Gold Coast and Cairns. There we went surfing, held koalas, pet kangaroos, rode horses through the rainforest, went scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, and laid out on the beach. It was my first Easter without my family, but with the experiences and all the fun I had I made a new international family that I will always be thankful for!

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I wish someone had told me that Australia experienced winter. I went there expecting that it was going to be like southern California so I didn't pack a lot of winter items. I also wish someone would have told me how expensive everything was, I would have started budgeting right away.

Katrina Atienza

Name: Katrina Atienza
Major: Communication
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: Sydney, Australia

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

The highlight of my study abroad experience was meeting all the amazing people that I did and learning how to be more independent socially, academically, and financially in a different country. I loved being able to experience Australian culture entirely by being around other Australian college students and experiencing all that the big city has to offer. Some of my closest friends to this day are the people I met during my time there and I have already been back once since studying there!

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I wish I would have known how to budget my funds a bit better so that I could have gone on more trips to other parts of Australia. I also wish I would have known that I was going to love it so much and study a full year there!

Jenna Aita

Name: Jenna Aita
Major: Psychology
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: London, England

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

I think moving from going to school in the small town of Moraga to the big city of London was so much fun. There is always something to do and it is a nice change of pace from what I was used to. I made so many friends while I was gone, some who were other study abroad students from the U.S. and others who lived in England! Some from England even hope to save money to come out to California to see me! I have never been out of the country and so traveling in England and to the surrounding countries was something I thought I’d never be able to do.

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I wish I had a full grasp on how much easier than I thought it would be to live abroad. Having never really been away from home I was nervous that I would miss it and now I wish I had stayed a year. People underestimate their ability to adapt to a new country, culture and life and I was one of them. London is now my home away from home and I will always cherish that city.

Alexandra Phillips

Name: Alexandra Phillips
Major: Anthropology
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: Shanghai, China

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

It was really fun to be able to live in a completely different culture than I am used to. I loved being able to see things from the other side of the world and getting to experience things I wouldn't have been able to if I had not gone. One of the best things was going out into the Mongolian desert, which I know would have been difficult if I had not gone through the program. It was also really fun to beable to travel to different places outside of my study abroad location.

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I wish that I had known more about what would be available over there. Medication and toiletries that I was familiar with were difficult to find when I ran out of the ones I brought with me. I also wish I had known more of the language before I went.

Amelia Gomez

Name: Amelia Gomez
Major: International Area Studies
Minor: Spanish
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: Seville, Spain & Cuernavaca, Mexico

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

The highlight of my study abroad experience was living with and becoming a new member of both my host families. I also made some amazing friends that I still keep in contact with today. In Seville, the most amazing nights were spent on Alfalfa, a street that gets filled with people at night, everyone just comes out to meet up and get to know new people. In Cuernavaca the best part was visiting all of the ancient ruins and learning about the different civilizations that lived in Mexico.

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I wish that I would have known that Seville gets extremely hot and then extremely cold in the Fall, so pack accordingly! In Mexico I had a similar problem with weather, it is practically always hot, but girls, don't bring too many shorts! Most women in Cuernavaca wear pants, even in 98 degree weather so you don't want to stick out like a sore thumb with shorts all the time.

Nicole Gomes

Name: Nicole Gomes
Major: Accounting
Minor: Business Administration
Class Standing: Senior
Study Abroad Location: Perth, Australia

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

I had many wonderful experiences during my semester abroad like traveling to and visiting amazing places and making new friends. One highlight of my semester was being able to compete in the Tertiary Sports of Western Australia Indoor Volleyball competition (tournament) for the University of Notre Dame Australia. We played against various universities in Western Australia and won 1st place! This was the first time UNDA has won since 1993, so it was pretty awesome to be a part of that.

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

Before studying abroad, I wish I would have had a better idea of all the things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see. In the beginning of the semester, I had heaps of free time since uni was just starting, so I wish I would have taken advantage of that and gone to visit other places that were further away from the uni. I was able to visit places accessible by train, bus, or ferry, but I wish I would have ben able to fly to other places. Also, I wish I would have had a better understanding of the currency exchange system and taken more time to figure out the best way to exchange money.

Kelsey Wong

Name: Kelsey Wong
Major: International Area Studies
Minor: French
Class Standing: Junior
Study Abroad Location: Aix-en-Provence, France

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

One of the highlights of my study abroad in the south of France was the friendships I made. It was a joy to finally put my French into practice in everyday life from discussing politics with my host mom, to talking with my friends, to ordering food in a restaurant. Finally, the delicious food is no joke, it's absolutely marvelous! I had the best macarons while in Paris, and I never regretted treating myself to a nice meal while abroad

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

It's important to realize that everything is a teaching moment that you can grow from. I sometimes found myself struggling in situations such as a language barrier. As a French minor, I wish I could have put myself out there more tospeak French. I think learning new languages is a challenging but rewarding task while abroad.

Name: Annie Holland
Major: Sociology 
Class Standing: Junior
Study Abroad Location: Cape Town, South Africa 

What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

One of the highlights of my study abroad in the Cape Town the friendships I made. I was happy to be able to meet people who wanted to adventure into the nature of the Cape Town area and also people who wanted to volunteer and communicate with the locals. I loved being able to live with two local students as well as a girl from my program. This allowed for me to get the full experience. Before going to South Africa I had no idea what the culture was like. But, once I was able to emerse myself, the food helped me to get an idea of the culture. Cape Towns food is influenced by Indian or Cape Malay food, DELICIOUS!

What would you have liked to know before you studied abroad?

I would have liked to know more about the surrounding suburb that I was living in and also more about the University of Cape. Since the university is so large I felt overwhelmed when I first got there and would have liked a little more of an introduction


Name: Jonathan O’Connor
Major: International Business
Minor: Economics
Class Standing: Junior
Study Abroad Location: Dublin, Ireland
What was the highlight of your study abroad experience?

Being able to join clubs and society’s that made it easier to adjust. By joining these I was able to meet people right away and they ended up being some of the best friends I made while in Ireland. When people are going over I would highly suggest join a couple clubs! Besides just meeting people some of these clubs can help you travel around the country or more of Europe. My club just traveled around Ireland, but my friend in the snowboarding club was able to go to Switzerland for 10 days!

What do you wish you could have known before you studied abroad?

Make sure that you prepare for all types of weather you will experience. In some of these countries, especially Ireland, you can go from sunshine and warm weather to rain in a day. Just remember it is for four months and clothes are a lot more expensive out there.

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