It was just a year and a half ago that I was departing for the experience of a lifetime. I went to study in Oxford, England for my junior year 2015-2016. I was like any other student about to go abroad: confident that I wouldn’t get attached to my host destination. I was completely wrong. After I came back from my time abroad I was attached to Oxford… I was attached to England. I missed my new life. My life in England had become who I was and where I wanted to be headed. I remembered at the Pre-Departure at UK that there would be ups and downs, but I didn’t listen and thought it couldn’t happen to me. I was addicted to my newfound life. But something amazing came from that longing for my old life- Education Abroad Peer Ambassadors.
Education Abroad Peer Ambassadors (EAPAs) is a credit-based internship, where you can earn 2 or 3 hours of college level credit. Tasks range from office hours to outside hours to teams. Each of which involves communicating to someone at UK and worldwide that Education Abroad is fantastic. Office hours involve talking to students interested in going abroad, and telling them stories about when you were abroad. Outside hours allow an EAPA to promote study abroad to students whom otherwise wouldn’t have considered education abroad, showing those students that they can go abroad. Teams are comprised of a multitude of outreach programs to get students hyped about education abroad.
I have had the pleasure to grow exponentially in my communication and storytelling skills. I have met with plenty of international students and Americans to discuss the endless glories of education abroad. I have written stories and blogs alike. I have watched as I present to UK 101s and see students click that they can go abroad and become global citizens. My experience as an EAPA has been a rewarding one. It has been an experience chock full of learning, promoting, and growing.
So you remember that story I began with about how everything was doom and gloom when I came back from my time abroad? The one thing that made the experience better was being able to share how life altering my time abroad was and encouraging others to take the plunge as well. The best therapy came in working with people who wanted to go abroad, or have already been abroad. Being able to tell stories or connect with another person about experiences and things missed and remembered is a wonderful feeling. My final piece of advice as an Education Abroad Peer Ambassador is directed at all the students from UK whom have participated in Education Abroad: Become and Education Abroad Peer Ambassador. It is rewarding in more ways than you can imagine, and you’ll be happy you signed up to do it. If you need any information about how to become an EAPA stop by 315 Bradley Hall or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connor Bechtol studies Management and Marketing at the University of Kentucky, and he just returned from studying for the full academic year at Oxford Brookes University.