Peer Mentors are Mudd students working as OSA staff. They organize student engagement events through OSA and host student Office Hours weekly.
Vicki Moran ’20
Engineering Major, IFSA University of London, Spring 2019
Before my semester abroad in London, England, I found myself trapped in the all too familiar “Mudd bubble”, often unaware of what was going on in the rest of the world. Born and raised in SoCal, I was nervous to move to another country for five months, but I felt the need for change. My doubts and fears, including academic concerns and social anxiety, almost deterred me entirely, but previous study abroad alumni encouraged me to take the leap. I’m so grateful for their reassurance and persuasion because I ultimately had an incredible time abroad at University College London. As a Peer Mentor, I hope to similarly share my experiences with prospective study abroad students so that more Mudders take advantage of this special opportunity. That being said, I also want to emphasize the importance of preparing for and fully understanding the implications of living and learning in a different country. Adjusting to a new culture and navigating foreign places can be very challenging, but research and awareness can help with the transition. I assumed that London would be similar to any big city in the states, but I quickly found that I had to adapt to so many different customs and behaviors. Through several solo trips, I took this even further and learned to appreciate the qualities that made each city unique rather than dwelling on my discomfort as a foreigner. Studying abroad will inevitably push you out of your comfort zone, but in the end you will meet incredible people, grow as an individual, and create memories that will stay with you far into the future.
Jane Watts ’20
Engineering Major, CIEE Madrid Engineering, Spring 2019
The reason I chose to get involved with OSA was because I actually didn’t have a great time at the start of my semester abroad, even though I’d experienced moving to a different country before. Not speaking the language was far more difficult than I had expected, and I didn’t connect with my program’s students at all initially. I was terrified of defining my identity apart from my close Mudd friends, frustrated with yet another country riddled for centuries with systemic racism, and confused that I had chosen to put myself in this situation. My first few weeks were completely different than the experience I had in mind, and in a way, felt that I had been promised by students past. Of course, it was also my mistake to only base my decision of past students’ experiences, and not research my decision as well as I should have. That being said, my semester most definitely had a change of pace. I made local friends who shared my interests in activism and racial and gender equality, and started seeing the all the beauty and adventures to be had in Madrid. Ultimately, I gained so much more from my semester because I struggled! As a Peer Mentor, I want to offer a different narrative and more realistic advice to students who are considering, not to entice them into committing to study abroad, but to help them be as prepared as they can if they do decide to commit. I want my underclassmen to learn from my experience, and believe that they will get so much more out of the experience that way. 🙂
Global Ambassadors are Mudd students who have already been abroad. They are looking to connect you to study abroad resources and share their study abroad experiences.
Laura Fleming ’20
Engineering Major, CIEE Cape Town, Spring 2019
Study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa was a defining moment of my time at Harvey Mudd. I grew so much during my time there, both academically and culturally. I loved meeting South Africans and understanding the culture and the challenges that South Africa faces – many of these challenges helped me understand similar challenges that we face in the US. This experience helped me become globally and culturally aware, as well as make lifelong friendships. I had such an amazing time in South Africa that I decided to work in Berlin, Germany the following summer through an internship program in the engineering department. In Germany, I learned about global sustainability and policy that I hope to bring to my future career. All in all, studying abroad made me an independent, global learner, and I think everyone should study abroad if they can. Mudd can be challenging, and although it’s difficult to leave, going abroad is a great way to take a breather and define yourself outside of Mudd academics and culture. As Global Ambassador, I want to encourage other Mudders to go abroad so that they can grow and have the same amazing experiences that I did.
Sydney (Squid) Wallace ’20
CS-Math Major, AIT Budapest, Spring 2019
Sydney, nicknamed Squid, is a senior CS-Math major at Harvey Mudd. She was abroad in Budapest through the AIT program, and is now a Global Ambassador. She likes pickles, M&Ms, and her pug, and makes appearances around the 5Cs as your friendly neighborhood Clinic project manager, DJ, and/or onesie-wearer.
Callie Glanton ’20
Math-Comp-Bio Major, IES Madrid Engineering, Spring 2019
I had always envisioned my college experience with a semester abroad. I wanted to spend time out of my comfort zone and learn about other ways of life as well as learn more about myself. I chose Madrid, Spain because I wanted to immerse myself in the Spanish culture and language. I had visited Spain once before in high school, but on my band and choir program, we always had translators and tour guides with us. I wanted to go back and be more than just a tourist.
Studying abroad in Madrid, Spain pushed me out of my comfort zone. I lived with a host family that didn’t speak any English, constantly had to communicate with strangers in a language that is foreign to me, dove headfirst into a completely different university system, and frequently traveled to countries where I didn’t know the customs. Thus, I grew immensely throughout just one semester. I have learned to find comfort in the unknown.
I decided to become a GA because I believe that everyone can benefit from a semester abroad. I want to share my experiences—both positive and negative—with other Mudders and alleviate their worries. Hearing previous GA’s stories made me excited about a semester outside of the U.S., and I hope to instill this excitement in younger Mudders.
Mazda Moayeri ’20
Math-CS Major, ETH Zurich, Spring 2019
Just when Harvey Mudd was beginning to get a little too familiar, studying abroad was the perfect thing for me. If you want the challenge of putting yourself in completely new surroundings in order to discover so much internally and externally, then studying abroad would be perfect for you too. It grants you a new perspective on not just where you are, but where you’ve been. This semester has made me feel more prepared than ever for life after Mudd, and I feel even more confident for when I go back to Mudd. Studying abroad can be lonely at times, especially for me since I didn’t go through a program and I was the only 5Cer in my country, but its allowed me to find out exactly what I like to do and how I like to spend my time. Some things will just be reaffirmed — I still love to dance, listen to my music as loud as I can, and get into shenanigans here and there — but you may even find out more about yourself — I’ve realized how fun cooking can be and I just want to keep on getting better.
Another great thing about being abroad is that through traveling, your courses, and the friends you make, you learn so much about the world. I’ve always been into politics, and taking a course on the EU while living in the center of Europe has been one of my most academically rewarding endeavors ever. In particular revolutionary movements have always caught my eye, and this semester I’ve made friends with someone who lived through both revolutions in Egypt! And I haven’t even mentioned all the super cool places you can travel to and see in person. As a GA, I hope to share all my stories and advice for how to make the most of a study abroad experience. There definitely will be bumps along the way, but hopefully, I’d be able to steer people in the right direction and prepare them for some of the difficulties that lie ahead. Just to give an example, I missed the deadline for the first school I wanted to go to, and the school that I ended up at initially said they wouldn’t except any students from colleges that don’t offer doctorates, but if you want something enough, you just gotta go out there and get it. With Mudd’s support, it worked for me, and hopefully as a GA I’d be able to help make any one of your study abroad dreams come true.