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CEA On-site Ambassadorship in Alicante, Spain

 Taylor Stoeckler in Alicante, Spain Summer '13

When I said my final good-byes after a short four weeks last May in Alicante, Spain, I never would have guessed that one year later I would be back in Alicante serving as CEA’s first Alumni Ambassador onsite student intern. 
My name is Taylor Stoeckler and I am a senior at Iowa State University. I first fell in love with travel at age 16 when I traveled the coast of Australia. This was an incredible opportunity that influenced the path I would follow for the rest of my life. I always knew my future would involve traveling. As a slightly confused and determined freshman, I jumped at the opportunity when I learned that Iowa State launched a short study abroad program in Florence, Italy, that helps students with the decision to commit to a longer program later on in their college career.  
 Taylor Stoeckler in Prague, Czech Republic Summer '13

After my program in Florence, I knew that I had to study abroad again, but I was afraid to give up one semester and start over in another country. As a solution, I enrolled in two CEA Summer 2013 programs for four weeks in Alicante, Spain, and six weeks in Prague, Czech Republic. Alicante helped me focus on my Spanish and Prague provided the greatest challenge I encountered abroad. Italy prepared me well for Spain, but neither programs could have primed me for the drastic change in language, lifestyle, and culture that I experienced in Prague. Although my time in Prague was more stressful and stimulating than I had originally anticipated, I also learned the most about myself and what I am capable of through this program.
By the end of my summer programs, I visited 15 countries which left a bittersweet combination of excitement and hunger for more. I remember my mother nearly falling out of her chair when I came home from that summer in Europe and told her that I had enrolled in the International Business program in Alicante for the Spring 2014 semester. Now that I was able to adapt to a completely new lifestyle, make fast decisions, and manage high amounts of pressure and stress, I knew I was ready for an even greater adventure.
Before my next program in Alicante, to help nurse my constantly nagging travel bug, I shared my experiences and channeled my love for travel as one of CEA’s first Alumni Ambassadors at Iowa State University in Fall 2014. This provided an opportunity for me to talk about my study abroad experience and the ability to inspire students to overcome their fears and follow their dreams. 
 Taylor at Iowa State University's Fall '13 Study Abroad Fair

After the first of the New Year, I was off again with a one-way ticket to my second home in Alicante, where I spent the Spring 2014 semester studying at the University of Alicante. But my Alicante journey doesn't end there. (Does that surprise you after learning about my study abroad history?) After all of my experiences as a student studying abroad, I'm now beginning my next chapter as an intern abroad at the CEA office in Alicante! 

My new role as an onsite Alumni Ambassador Intern means I'll be helping facilitate the ultimate student experience. Plus, I'm learning the "ins and outs" and "dos and don'ts" of international education, which fits perfectly with my post-graduation goals. When I graduate next spring, I'm interested in working abroad and sharing my knowledge and love for travel with others who share similar interests as me. With a career in travel, the learning never ends. This internship is giving me the basic skillset I need to jumpstart my future and create lasting friendships across the globe. 

I’m looking forward to spending more time with everyone here and sharing this remarkable experience together. Stay tuned for more updates on my internship in Alicante!
 Taylor Stoeckler is a third-time CEA alumna (Prague & Alicante Summer '13 and Alicante Spring '14). She is an Alumni Ambassador and a senior at Iowa State University.

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