My semester abroad in Australia lasted over a year.
I extended my study abroad journey by becoming an AIFS Alumni Ambassador during my senior year of college. At the end of the program, AIFS had ambassadors write letters to the potential new liaisons at our schools. I thought publishing my letter may encourage others to get involved in study abroad in a new way upon their return.
Dear Future Ambassador,
As I sit here listening to Tash Sultana (an Australian artist I discovered while there), I cannot help but want to be back in the warm sun and relaxed vibes of the beautiful continent. I also cannot believe it has been just over a year since I left and started my journey as an AIFS Alumni Ambassador, and am now writing this letter to you.
First of all, I want to say congratulations for making three amazing decisions: first, for studying abroad; second, for studying abroad with AIFS; and third, for applying and being picked to be an Alumni Ambassador. The program is so rewarding, and while there is a decent amount of requirements, they are all enjoyable and quite frankly, necessary, for an optimum experience for you and potential study abroad students.
Being an AIFS Alumni Ambassador, as you will come to find, is a unique and exciting time. Not only do you get to prolong your study abroad experience; you get to help others start theirs. My advice to you is to soak up everything you can as an ambassador. Network with other ambassadors at training and don’t be afraid to reach out to them during the year. Take advantage of the writing and video-editing opportunities that AIFS provides. Get involved. Be vocal in group calls. Respond to questions in the Facebook group. Write more than one blog post and create more than one video if you want. Not only will it make you look like a shining star, but it will give you more material to look back on your incredible journey. The most important thing, though, is to have fun. Take this irreplaceable experience and make it the next study abroad trip you wish you were on.
On campus, you will have many opportunities to work with your study abroad director. My study abroad director, Maria, loves having returnees come to open houses and admitted student days to talk about their trips and to advocate for study abroad. She and the other Hofstra study abroad students are super entertaining to work with. Something I also did on campus was pair with Get Global, a club here at Hofstra, and table to promote their diversity dinner and study abroad. We gave a raffle ticket for a gift card to anyone who signed our AIFS inquiry card. I also made sure to try to connect with as many students as possible on campus and talk to them one on one about their study abroad prospects. I literally went up to a random person I heard mention AIFS and offered my contact information to them if they needed any help. I also talked my friends’ ears off about AIFS and helped many study abroad in general. You will be surprised by how much you can help people just by offering your expertise!
Being an AIFS Alumni Ambassador and a study abroad representative in general will be one of the coolest jobs you will have while on campus, and I so hope that you get as much enjoyment out of it as I did. Again, congratulations and welcome to the program! Feel free to connect with me at any point.
Perth, Australia spring ‘17