Words by Paul Woodward, a Communication Arts major from Hood College and CAPA London study abroad alum who is now a CAPA ambassador.
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Becoming a CAPA ambassador for Hood College has been a fantastic opportunity to me to spread the word about the three months that changed my life earlier this year.
Being one of two ambassadors for my school means that I get to develop a much deeper relationship with Hood’s Study Abroad Office, and, of course, meet the new faces who are interested in taking their studies overseas. Professionally speaking, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to grow my skills in planning, coordinating events, and public speaking.
So far, I’ve given a few talks to campus groups, individual students, and Study Abroad Info Session attendees; every time, I spoke about my experiences in London and recounted the merits of CAPA’s unique program. I’ve found that even as a naturally timid person, speaking about my trip was easy and only got easier. I plan to use these skills in my future work as a Communications major, but more importantly, they’re quickly flourishing for an audience that needs my words most. I sure know that I can relate to these students, from when I was just beginning to consider CAPA — it was in the reassurance and guidance of alumni that I found the strength to get through the application process!
And that’s the thing about being an ambassador — sure, the perks of the program are nice, and absolutely, I’ll put it on my résumé, but above all, it’s fulfilling. Helping my peers prepare for the experience of a lifetime as an alum feels like nothing else; answering their questions, calming their spirits, and reminding them of deadlines is a role only I and a few others fit right now. And seeing the faces makes it all worth it — the grins of students realizing the possibilities that lay ahead, working towards their goals, and taking charge of their lives.
Not to mention, going over my experiences makes me remember the things I forgot, from the smallest comforts to my greatest failures. I didn’t expect it, but this experience has been making my semester abroad more into a part of me as I speak and reflect upon it, instead of remaining a distant (although) wonderful set of memories.
I guess in short, I could say that being a CAPA ambassador has helped me in a lot of ways. It’s helped me take a leadership role on campus; it’s helped me develop professional skills; and it’s helped me process what exactly happened for those three amazing months I spent in the program. All of this may sound corny, but trust me: you’ll love being an ambassador if you just reach out for it. The only way to know for sure is to give it a shot!