Meet With a Peer Adviser

Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who have enjoyed their experiences so much that they volunteer their time to advise other students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad.

Education Abroad Resource Room

You can find the Peer Advisers in the Education Abroad Resource Room, 422 Boucke Building, University Park, weekdays from 11am - 4pm (while classes are in session). No appointment is necessary - you can just walk right in! The Resource Room also has a wealth of information about studying, living and traveling abroad, as well as books and magazines about topics of interest to students going abroad. Feel free to come by and take a look and chat with the Peer Advisers!

You can also email the Peer Advisers at or call them at 814-865-5195.

Meet our Peer Advisers! 

Banan Althowaini - South Korea

CIEE: Seoul, Korean Studies (Summer 2017)

Majors: English Literature, MA - TESOL
Minor: Korean 

"Studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea is one of the most rewarding experience in my life. My deep rooted love for Korea and its language and culture made this whole experience absolutely lovely. My most favorite part was actually talking to the locals, whether it be my neighbors, my host family, the local cafe owners, or the old taxi driver. I made meaningful relationships with everyone as I had many great deep conversations with many of them. One of my favorite part of starting my day was walking down to my local kimbap (korean sushi) shop, greeting the owners there, and ordering my $2.50 full tuna kimbap roll to go before hopping on my bus to campus. Eating them during my Korean culture class was great, needless to say they made my classmates drool! Also, despite the heat of Korea in the summer, Yonsei University was a beautiful campus to walk around in, which made it a little more bearable especially when I had my portable electronic hand fan (yup, you read that right! - it is a real Korean thing)!"  

Nia Baldwin - Ghana

CIEE: Legon, Arts and Sciences (Fall 2017)

Majors: Education and Public Policy 
Minor: African American Studies

"I am a senior double majoring in Education and Public Policy and African American Studies. I studied abroad in Ghana during the fall 2017 semester where I stayed with a host family with the CIEE program. During my time there I was fully immersed into the Ghanaian way of life as well as student life at the University of Ghana. While I was there I took a number of culturally specific classes such as Traditional African Dance and Intercultural Communication. These classes allowed me to adjust quicker and understand the host culture better. My favorite meal to eat in Ghana was rice balls and peanut soup, while I also bought fries from night market (an on campus eatery) for a taste of home. Studying abroad allowed me to learn more about myself and fulfill my dream of going to Africa. While I was there, if I was not hanging out with my friends on campus, I was observing inside of a primary school. The experience also allowed me to learn more about the education system there, which opened new questions to be discovered pertaining to international education and education systems around the world."

Kayla Ball - Dominican Republic

CIEE: Santiago, Dominican Republic, Liberal Arts (Spring 2018)

Majors: Spanish, Human Development and Family Studies

"Hi! My name is Kayla. I am a senior at Penn State and I am double majoring in Spanish and Human Development and Family Studies. I studied abroad in Santiago, Dominican Republic. My study abroad experience was phenomenal and unforgettable. From the weekend excursions to waterfalls, rivers, and beaches, to my daily experiences at the university and with my host family, everything was remarkable. I loved taking trips to the monument which was literally walking distance from my house. The view was incredible. My favorite part was interacting daily in Spanish with Dominicans and getting to learn more about the culture, food, dance, and music that covers the island. My favorite food was the platanos maduros that my host mom made for lunch. Music wise, I loved reggaetón even before traveling to DR so hearing it every day and everywhere was so much fun! I even learned to dance bachata, merengue, and a little bit of salsa! Everyone was extremely kind, loving, helpful and full of personality. I can't wait to return!" 

Caroline Gelgot - Spain & New Zealand

*Ronda, Spain: Spanish Language and Culture (Summer 2017)
Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington (Fall 2017)

Major: Marketing
Minors: International Business, Global & International Studies, Spanish 

"Hi, my name is Caroline! I am a senior at Penn State, and I'm happy to say that I studied abroad twice. I spent the summer of 2017 studying Spanish in Ronda, Spain. There, I lived with a host mother who didn't speak any English, and I traveled with my classmates to nine different cities in Spain! After that, I spent the fall semester as an exchange student at the Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand. I lived there in a house with 10 other students from six different counties. We went on multiple road trips through the North and South Islands."

Ana Hale - Austria

IES: Vienna, European Society & Culture (Spring 2018) 

Major: Biology 
Minor: German 

"Hi! I'm Anastasia Hale and I am a Biology major and German minor. I studied abroad this past Spring in Vienna, Austria as part of the IES European Society and Culture program. I had a blast and got to visit my host sister from high school while I was there! While abroad I took classes taught in both English and German and I also took two dance classes at the local university. I love biking around Vienna, eating schnitzel & käsekrainers and sipping on melanges! I also was able to travel to many different European countries and visit numerous art museums during my time abroad. On campus I conduct research in the biomedical engineering department and I hope to one day obtain an MD/PhD degree."

Juwon Jolapamo - Thailand

CIEE: Khon Kaen, Development and Globalization (Spring 2018) 

Major: International Politics 
Minor: Women's Studies 

"Studying abroad where I did is probably one of the best choices I have made throughout my college career.Thailand, especially the north-eastern region (Isaan) is a place filled with such unique people, cuisine and places. In Khon Kaen, I enjoyed the best of both worlds, from the delicious options of international food to the mouth-watering Thai and Isaan food at the university night market. Nothing can beat the dollar sushi at the night market or my first host mothers freshly made 'som-tam' (papaya salad). I spent more than half of my time in Thailand exploring nature and playing with children in different communities. I did also spend most of my weekends in different parts of Thailand and it's neighboring countries. My favorite part of my experience was definitely learning to speak Thai, during my first few weeks it was really hilarious relying on pictures or my Thai roommate to order my own meals. It truly felt liberating when I could speak enough Thai to ask for directions and order my own meals with no help. All I can think about is when I will have the opportunity to go back."

Renée Khouri - Ireland

Dublin: University College Dublin (Spring 2018) 

Majors: Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences, Immunology & Infectious Disease

"I spent the spring semester of my sophomore year in Ireland at University College Dublin! Due to the convenience and affordability of visiting other cities both in Ireland and across Europe, I spent many weekends and school breaks traveling, and much of the semester was spent looking for beautiful sights, delicious food, and great hiking trails. After visiting more than a dozen cities across 8 countries, the memorable experiences I made were innumerable, and to pick the most incredible sight or the most delicious meal would be impossible. As for hiking, I found some awesome trails in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cinque Terre, and Prague...but it was Howth, a small seaside town outside of Dublin, that stole my heart. My semester abroad allowed me to create memories I will cherish for my entire life, as well as create lifelong friends. I flew home from Dublin as a more confident, independent person with noticeably better problem-solving and communication skills, all thanks to my study abroad experience."

Makayla Lorenz - Italy, Spain & United Kingdom

CIEE Global Institutes (Spring 2018) 

Majors: Psychology
Minors: Deafness and Hearing Studies 

"Hi! I'm Makayla and I am a junior majoring in Psychology. I studied abroad in Italy, Spain and England during the 2018 spring semester. Studying abroad was an amazing opportunity! I was fortunate enough to see 14 different cities in 18 weeks. If you are thinking about going to Europe you have to go visit Rome. Rome has the best pizza and some of the most beautiful sites to see like the Pantheon and Colosseum! I went on many weekend trips to various cities all across Europe and I have to say my trip to Athens was probably the best 50 euros I have ever spent. I have so many great food suggestions and I can also tell you where not to eat in certain cities! I thought I would be lost without my dog for so many months (and I was), but everywhere I went there were endless dogs to make me feel a little more at home. Overall, my experience abroad was more than I could have ever imagined and I wouldn't change it for the world." 

Diana Lowther - China

*Beijing, China: Impact of Culture on Engineering in China (Summer 2018) 

Majors: Biomedical Engineering  

"Going to China through Penn State confirmed that I chose the best university when it comes to global outreach! The possibilities and opportunities students have when studying abroad are endless at PSU. If you want to visit a country that is intensely different culturally, visit China! There was never a second where I was bored on this trip. Every few days we were hopping from city to city, getting to experience things like the Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City, and a Yangste river cruise! The places you visit are fascinating, and the people you meet are so excited to meet visiting students. I believe this program is very special in the sense that not only do you get to visit big famous cities, but you also get to visit smaller rural towns where a lot of old tradition resides. Furthermore, Penn State allows you to visit places that you would not have been able to when traveling by yourself. For example, we got an exclusive tour of the Ford Changan Auto Factory, and got to see mind-blowing technology. Everyday during the summer, I experienced a form of culture-shock, this made every day extremely exciting for we did not know what to expect to see next. After the scheduled events for the day were over, all students had plenty of free time to explore the nightlife of China, which added even more to the experience. Not only do you visit big engineering projects, but you also meet many people who are attending universities in China, and get to see how their experience differs from yours. My goal is to make planning for your education abroad experience less stressful, help you find the program best suited for you and your studies, and to make sure everyone knows the opportunities they have that come along with attending the Pennsylvania State University. Take a trip with Penn State. Best decision I ever made hands-down." 

Ross Michael - Morocco

IES: Rabat, Arabic Language (Summer 2017) 

Majors: Supply Chain, History
Minor: Arabic 

"My study abroad experience in Rabat, Morocco truly was a life-changing experience. I came back a more confident person after living in a part of the world that is drastically different than our own. I lived in a home stay with a mother, a father, and their son who is 33 years old. My primary goal in studying abroad was to become a better speaker of the Arabic language and living with three people who spoke it fluently was a huge help in advancing that goal. In addition to Rabat, I travelled to multiple other Moroccan cities with my classmates and even climbed a mountain. Travelling to different cities each weekend was far and away my favorite part of the study abroad experience and is also the best advice I can give to you: take advantage of the opportunity to live in a new country by exploring as much of that country as you possibly can, you never know when you'll be back. Learning to travel within a foreign country forced me to become more resourceful and aware of my surroundings, skills that were honed after my phone was stolen from me just two weeks into the trip. Surprisingly, living without a smart phone was easier than you would think and it gave me a greater appreciation for the things I do have. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to study abroad and for the challenges I faced that strengthened my character and I look forward to helping you find a program that benefits you as much as mine benefited me." 

Dan Proano - Spain

Valencia: University of Virginia, Language and Culture (Spring 2018) 

Majors: Psychology, Spanish

"My name is Daniel Proano and I had an amazing time studying abroad in Valencia, Spain my junior year. During my time abroad I was able to explore many cities in Spain and the rest of Europe. I took in lots of festivals, visited many museums and stadiums, ate all the famous cuisine (paella is from Valencia) and met a ton of amazing people along the way. I also participated in an internship where I would visit a local school twice a week and teach the students how to speak English. The best part of my trip was that I was able to practice speaking Spanish every day with my host family, professors, and friends, which helped me finally become fluent in the language." 

Angelique Santiago - Tanzania & Spain

Embedded: HESE Field Experience (Summer 2017)
IES: Granada, Study in Granada (Spring 2018) 

Majors: Political Science, Communication Arts and Sciences 

"Hi! My name is Angelique Santiago. I am Political Science and Communication Arts and Sciences double major. During the Spring semester of my Junior year I participated in the IES: Granada study abroad program. Then, I decided to stay for two extra months and work at a local non-profit in the center of the city. I always planned to study abroad, but no amount of planning could prepare me for the six months I spent in Granada. From exploring the Albaicin and admiring the Alhambra from the Mirador de San Nicholas, attempting Salsa classes at Entresuelo, and eating countless bocadillos and churros and chocolate, Granada is definitely Spain's best kept secret. Located right under the Alhambra hill, Granada is an enchanting and eclectic city filled with history about Sephardic Jews, the Moors, Gypsies, and Los Reyes Catolicos. I can't wait to go back! However, in the mean time, I look forward to helping other Penn Staters discover their dream study abroad destination."

Mackenzie Stagnito - Czech Republic

CIEE: Prague, Central European Studies (Spring 2018)

Major: Public Relations
Minors: International Studies, Business

"Studying abroad in Prague was one of the best and most rewarding experiences of my life. I had visited Europe before, but the opportunity to actively engage with the cultural differences on a daily basis truly changed my outlook on the world. I met so many people with backgrounds vastly different from mine and was able to adapt to the everyday lifestyle they pursue. My favorite way to explore the city was simply to wander and get lost. Much of the early history of the Czech Republic is illustrated through the beautiful gothic architecture and narrow cobblestone streets. Learning the Czech language was definitely challenging but helped me to feel more immersed into the society. I also traveled to several other European countries with my peers, which is a very unique opportunity granted by studying abroad. Prague feels like a second home and I would not have traded my experience for anything." 

Nick Wong - China

CIEE: Shanghai, Summer Business and Culture (Summer 2017)

Major: Supply Chain Management
Minors: International Business and Economics

"Studying abroad was probably one of the best choices I made in my life. Shanghai has food, culture, an amazing nightlife and even famous people. I literally met Russell Wilson and Tom Brady, both who are well-known NFL football players. During my time there, I was able to travel to a lot of places within China, including Inner Mongolia. From getting lost in the Yellow Mountains to riding camels in the desert, there was never a dull moment. Going to a country where you may not speak the main language really makes you learn more about yourself and who you are as a person. You enter into this totally new environment with a bunch of new people, and you are truly able to see your raw personality. Studying abroad is like eating a platter of exotic food. You get to pick and choose what new experiences you want to try. Sure you might find things you dislike, but there are plenty of things you will also like. If you want to learn more about studying abroad, feel free to contact me!"