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, 426A 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 email@example.com or call them at 814-865-5195.
Meet our Peer Advisers!
Madison Altmyer - Netherlands & South Africa
Majors: Science and Philosophy
Minor: Global Health
“I have always wanted to travel throughout Europe and studying abroad in the Netherlands gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. I was able to see the major cities of 13 countries as well as experience the diverse cultures of each of them. In so many aspects the Netherlands was a truly special place that taught me not only about the Dutch culture, but about my culture in the United States as well. I am so thankful for this amazing experience and how it has shaped me into a more independent and adventurous person.”
Katie Belonus - Ireland
Majors: English, Political Science
"I learned so much from studying abroad! My experience in Ireland taught me to view the world and what is in it through different perspectives in order to allow for a better understanding of it. I learned how to go with the flow and enjoy the journey and not just the destination. Spending five weeks in Ireland really opened my mind and heart to whole new possibilities that i don't think I would even be aware of if I had not gone. It was a wonderful and magical experience!"
Jeremy Bernat - Spain
CIEE: Alicante, Liberal Arts (Spring 2017)
"Hi I'm Jeremy Bernat! I studied abroad in Alicante, Spain. My favorite food is pierogies. I enjoy planning tennis, practicing my Spanish with friends on the HelloTalk app and finding new shows to watch. I originally studied at Penn State Berks for 2 years before coming up to Penn State Main."
Sandra Carrillo - South Korea
CIEE: Seoul, Arts and Sciences (Spring 2017)
Minors: International Studies, Korean
"Going abroad was the greatest experience I had so far in Penn State, and since coming back, all I've wanted to do is go back out there and explore more of the world! I was initially really worried about going to Korea-- such a non-traditional country-- with no one I knew going and not really knowing the language. But I had nothing to worry about. There were so many people like me, and we bonded so closely with each other one the trip, and I still talk to my closest friends from abroad to this day. Even though it may seem scary, I highly recommend that everyone study in a non-traditional country! I grew so much throughout my experience, learned so much, and made friendships with so many incredible people. It's nice to come back from studying abroad and be able to talk about an experience that, even among those that went abroad, definitely wouldn't have experienced."
Paola Castillo - Italy
Major: Enterprise Risk Management
Minor: International Business
"I think studying abroad was truly one of the best things I could have done for myself. I got to travel to so many different places and learn so many new things, but I think the best part of this experience was being able to grow as a person. Throwing yourself into a completely new environment really helps you get out of your comfort zone."
Jenny Ho - CIEE Global Institutes
CIEE Global Institutes: Rome, London, and Berlin (Spring 2017)
Minor: International Business
"Studying abroad was the most incredible, life-changing experience of my life! Living in Rome, London and Berlin and then travelling to outside places almost every weekend was almost unreal. Seeing THE POPE in person and meeting Daniel Radcliffe were just a few highlights of my time abroad. I can't forget to mention eating two cannolis and at least one cone of gelato on the daily, leaving Florence at 3am to make it back to Rome in time for my morning class, seeing scenes where they filmed the actual Harry Potter movies, and eating kebaps + fries and mayo at all hours of the day. The memories I've made will never be forgotten, and the friendships I've formed while being abroad will be ones that I cherish forever. While I miss being abroad everyday, I know that one day I will be back! In the meantime, I will miss the fresh pizza, pasta, fish & chips, and doner kebabs."
Alicia Hoke - Belgium & Morocco
CIEE: Brussels, Business, Communications, and Culture (Fall 2016)
IES: Rabat, Study in Rabat (Spring 2017)
Major: Political Science
Minors: French and Francophone Language Studies
"I did a summer semester abroad as well as the two semesters of my junior year. In Morocco one favorite thing to eat was the fruits. The fruit was so fresh and like candy. In Belgium, I indulged in a lot of beer and fries! Everywhere in Brussels was incredibly picturesque and it was fun to explore different quarters of the city."
Ross Michael - Morocco
IES: Rabat, Arabic Language (Summer 2017)
Majors: Supply Chain and Information Systems
Minors: Arabic, History
"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."
Peter Mossad - Czech Republic
CIEE: Prague, Central European Studies (Fall 2016)
Major: Enterprise Risk Management
Minor: International Studies
“If you have ever met someone who has studied abroad, the first thing they would tell you is that it is one of the best decisions they have ever mad. I am no different. Deciding to take a leap of faith and study in Prague, Czech Republic was an experience I'll remember forever. Whether it was the friends I made, the places I traveled to, the things I did, or the food I ate, one thing is certain: it was an adventurous chapter in my life."
Courtney Robinson - South Africa
*Cape Town, South Africa: Parks and People (Spring 2017)
Major: Global and International Studies
"Hi guys! I was born in Florida but moved to California when I was eight. From there I decided to come to Penn State because I'd never really been to this part of the country before and because of something that everyone makes fun of us West Coasters for: we wanted to experience all four seasons! I fell in love with the school and the opportunities it gave me, one of which was to study abroad in South Africa for the semester. Although the program emphasized the ways in which people interact and impact the environment, it was so much more than that. We took a road trip through the southern part of the country and formed relationships that I will never forget. I learned more about myself and the world around me more than any textbook or lecture could teach me. I welcomed the experiences that we encountered, whether it was collecting reptiles and performing dung transects in the Karoo, to writing essays about rhino poaching problems, or attending class at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. I started out in the desert of the Karoo with my mouth agape at the thought of collecting snakes or lizards in unexplainable heat. Little did I know that a few weeks later I’d be racing others to find rhino poop, or holding a scorpion with my bare hands, tossing out ideas about how to better educate the community surrounding the region on getting involved and taking better care of it. Little did I know my mouth would water at the thought of a South African braai filled with meats that I would never even think about touching before. Little did I know I would be able to walk throughout the townships of Cape Town, and be welcomed into one of the local’s houses for lunch. Little did I know I would fall in love with South Africa. After the ten unforgettable weeks, I decided to stay on my own, and spent another three months backpacking throughout the eastern coast of the most beautiful continent I’ve ever had the privilege to explore."
Megan Schwartz - Germany
Dept ENGR: Pforzheim Engineers Made in Germany (Summer 2017)
Major: Industrial Engineering
"My study abroad experience was amazing. I had the opportunity to travel to four other countries, not including Germany, during my trip. I traveled all around Switzerland, to Prague, Czech Republic, Milan, Italy, and Strasbourg, France as well as multiple cities in Germany. One of my favorite parts of my trip was playing sports with my classmates and the German friends I made. After classes, we would meet up to play soccer, football, or Frisbee in our free time. Also, every Wednesday night, a pub close to our apartments held karaoke where the Americans took over for a night. We always had the best time interacting with the German people and sometimes even singing with them! My favorite food I had abroad was Kasespatzle which translates to cheese noodles but these were no ordinary cheese noodles, they were delicious. Also, I have a huge sweet tooth, so the gelato and the bakeries surrounding my house were definitely a bonus. Of course, learning how to speak German was an awesome experience, especially towards the end of the program when I started to be able to read signs and menus. I transferred to Penn State University Park from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College after my third semester. When I realized that study abroad was a real opportunity, I knew I had to take it!"
Valerie Shreffler - Spain
CIEE: Seville, Language and Culture (Summer 2016)
Minors: International Business and Economics
"Studying abroad in Sevilla was the best decision I made while at Penn State! Not only did I have an incredible time, but I was also able to improve my Spanish language skills and gain a deeper understanding of the rich culture. I met some amazing people from different backgrounds that I would otherwise never have had the opportunity to get to know. The cultural immersion I experienced was unmatched by any other opportunity. From the the beloved Spanish tortillas and bocadillos de jamon, to the much-looked-forward-to siestas in the late afternoon, to passing the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, La Giralda, every day on the way to class, I was enamored with this beautiful city. I cannot wait to return one day to the city I call my second home."
Rebecca Silverman - Netherlands & UK
Majors: Supply Chain Management and Psychology
Minor: International Business
"Traveling has been in my bones for as long as I can remember. While I studies abroad, I had the chance to learn about so many different cultures and I got a taste for a large range of languages. My time abroad gave me a new perspective on life around me and I look forward to traveling much more in the future."
Bryn Stewart - Ireland
Limerick: University of Limerick (Spring 2016)
Major: Chemical Engineering
Minor: Environmental Engineering
“I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that studying abroad in Ireland was an incredibly rewarding experience that has changed my life for the better. I was able to live in a country I had always wanted to visit, travel all over Europe, and envelop myself in a variety of different cultures and lifestyles. Not only did this experience give me unique opportunities that I wouldn't have had anywhere else, but it also gave me an entire new country to call home. Eirinn go Brach."
Makayla Tamborra - Italy
Arcadia: Perugia, Umbra Institute, Food & Sustainability Studies (Spring 2016)
Embedded: HM 498A - International Hospitality Management (Spring 2017)
Major: Hospitality Management
“Studying abroad has been the best decision I have made while at Penn State. I had the opportunity to see things only mentioned in history books, meet amazing people, and eat what, in my opinion, is the best food in the world. Living and learning in a completely new culture helped me appreciate the little things in life that we may take for granted. I knew that I had always loved to travel and see new things, but studying abroad helped me reinforce that, and I have no doubt in my mind that I will be back abroad in no time!"
Nick Taylor - South Korea
CIEE: Seoul, Arts and Sciences (Fall 2016)
Majors: Mathematics and Economics
"Studying abroad is a life changing experience. Before I went I knew that i would learn a lot about culture, society, and history, but I couldn't imagine how much i would learn about the world and how I fit into it. I met countless people and made lifelong friends who showed me just how small the world is and how much there is to discover. 어디로 가는데?(Where will you go?)"
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. One of my favorite things to do in Shanghai is to bargain with the locals whenever I was buying anything. It is just like a game and whoever gives in loses. However, at the same time, in order to win, you must also be able to compromise. At school, I am vice president of a special interest org called Futures and am a member of Net Impact."
Claudia Yu - Japan
IES: Tokyo, Language and Culture (Fall 2016)
"Jetting off to a land far away from everything I've ever known was an intimidating decision to make, but undoubtedly turned out to be the biggest game changer of all. I've gained not only a second stomach for cute desserts, but also the enthusiasm for exploring urban streets fearlessly and the confidence to befriend just about any street vendor, no matter how different our backgrounds may be. Travel far enough to find yourself -- I promise it will be worthwhile!"