Skip to main content
Study Abroad

UW Study Abroad Ambassadors

 Need help getting started with study abroad? We’re here to help!

  • The UW Study Abroad Peer Ambassadors are UW students just back from study abroad.
  • They’re trained to help you get started with UW Study Abroad.
  • You can meet with them in Schmitz Hall during drop-in hours.
  • When you have chosen a program or have more detailed questions, they will connect you to the right adviser.
  • Have questions? Email studyabroad@uw.edu

 Meet the UW Study Abroad Peer Ambassadors

Name: Cassey Dang
Major: Information Systems
Study Abroad Program(s): Foster School Undergraduate Exchange with NHH in Bergen, Norway
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
Everything about studying abroad was amazing! I loved being surrounded by 100 people I had never met before from 50 countries I had never been to. I learned so much about different cultures: Social norms, education, food, slang, etc. Most difficult part was getting credits transferred at UW.
What’s your favorite food? Why?
Macaroni and cheese because you can have it so many different ways and it always tastes good (bread crumb topping, lobster, bacon, from a box, etc.)
What’s your favorite movie?
Zoolander because I love funny movies and it’s so quotable
Plans/goals for the future:
I hope to get a job after graduation where I can continue to travel!


Name: Madison Gallagher
Major: Bioengineering
Study Abroad Program(s): IES Abroad (GAIAS); Universidad de Quito, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
For my study abroad program, I enrolled in marine ecology courses and learned concepts and research techniques hands-on, in the field. I took five courses, one class every day for three weeks at a time. Each class had its own field trips planned, and there was a week long island hopping trip in between the third and fourth classes where everyone in the program was treated to snorkeling with sharks and penguins, hiking a volcano, and various excursions around the Galápagos Islands (there were only about 50 or so people in the program). I stayed with a host family in both Quito and the Galápagos, which was a fantastic experience.
What’s your favorite food?
My favorite food is steak (cooked rare). It’s just amazing.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is The Usual Suspects. It’s very clever and I’m a big fan of Kevin Spacey’s acting.
Plans/goals for the future:
I don’t have a very detailed outline for my future, but I hope to graduate on time and get a job at a biotech company. One goal of mine is to visit every continent, and as many countries within those continents as possible!


Name: Aileen Granstrom
Major: Early Childhood and Family Studies, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts
Study Abroad Program(s): Business India: “Half the Sky”: Women, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship and Art Italy: Studio Art Rome
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
In India we traveled through five different states visiting organizations, for-profit and non-profit, meeting with dynamic leaders and role models. Many of the leaders we met with were women who were able to give us a first hand account of the climate for women in this country. My favorite part was visiting a cooking class in Jodpur. Our teacher, Rikha taught us how to make Indian staples such as biryani, roti, naan, and paneer curry. She also shared with us how life is in Jodpur as a married woman. At the end of the lesson we were given cookbooks and bought local spices from the small shop attached to their kitchen to bring home with us.

In Italy, I had the opportunity to practice art with a group of students from within my major. Although I had done art throughout my college career it was completely different practicing in a country such as Italy. It is interesting to see how cultural context can redefine how you act, what your goals are, and what your strengths/weaknesses are. I learned a lot about myself from this experience!
What’s your favorite movie?
I would watch the TV series Parenthood over a movie any day. Makes me cry, laugh, and every thing in between.
Plans/goals for the future:
Upon graduating I would like to live and teach abroad. My first stop would be teaching in Japan. It has always been a goal of mine to learn Japanese, my mother’s native language. Eventually I would like to pursue a Masters in Special Education and contribute to inclusive education within the public schools system.


Name: Ben Green
Major: History
Study Abroad Program(s): Jagiellonian University Exchange, Poland
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
The best part of my study abroad program was the opportunity to make virtually all decisions on my own, and only request parental assistance when I chose to do so!
What’s your favorite food?
Eggnog cake- it is our annual Christmas Dessert. I love the holiday spice cake combined with the eggnog buttercream frosting.
Plans/goals for the future:
It is my hope to visit every country in Europe, do a proper road trip through the United States, and explore Canada as well. Lots of traveling! Academically, I look forward to graduating this year and consider my options. There is a lot to think about….graduate school, and if so in history? international relations? Teaching? I don’t really know at this point. This year I will figure some of these questions out.


Name: Melissa Jones
Major: International Studies Major, Japanese Language Minor
Study Abroad Program(s): Kakehashi Project, International Christian University Program,  Japan
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
My favorite part about studying abroad was definitely going outside of my comfort zone. I’d never left North America before going to UW, so studying abroad was a scary thought for me at first, but it was so rewarding in so many ways. My favorite moment while in Japan was probably when I went to Round One with a few others from the dorms and we played arcade games, basketball, volleyball, ping pong, soccer and rollerblading.
What’s your favorite movie?
Laputa Castle in the Sky because I love the soundtrack and it was the first movie I ever watched in Japanese. Runner-up is Mean Girls because it’s a classic.
Plans/goals for the future:
My number one plan after I graduate is to start working full-time and make enough money to pay for my mom to attend a few college classes. Other than that, I want to travel more and possible work abroad in the near future.


Name: Aaron Joya
Major: Human Centered Design and Engineering
Study Abroad Program(s): University of Edinburgh Exchange
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
My favorite part of my trip was the amazing people I got to meet along my travels and the great friends I’ve made while living on campus.
What’s your favorite food?
I LOVE anything with and or related to ice cream, even though I’m lactose intolerant. Ice cream is awesome because it comes in all different in flavors, texture, taste, and can be topped with nearly anything. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
What’s your favorite place in Seattle?
I love riding my bike or jogging to Gas Works Park. It’s a really nice place to unwind and has a great view of the city!
Plans/goals for the future:
After graduation I hope to live and teach abroad in Japan. I also hope to enter a graduate school program and study the cultural dimensions of technology and HCI.


Name: Paige Lindgren
Major: Marketing and International Business
Study Abroad Program(s): Business India: “Half the Sky”: Women, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship and CIEE Business & Society Program in Seville, Spain
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
In India, my favorite part was experiencing the bright culture and colors of the country, seeing a wide variety of places, and meeting lots of new people. The most difficult part was witnessing the disparity and social contrast of the country. I learned in depth about another country and gained a heightened awareness and appreciation for the Indian culture and way of life.

In Spain, my favorite part was living with my homestay family and enjoying the tapas. The most difficult part was consistently speaking and understanding Spanish with my homestay family, neighbors, teachers, etc. I learned so much about the Spanish way of life and customs. Not long after I went there, I felt like I assimilated into Seville and actually lived there, rather than being simply an American there for a finite period of time.
What’s your favorite food?
Fondue; it’s a great food to share and to eat while enjoying the company of others
What’s your favorite place in Seattle?
My favorite place in Seattle is Green Lake Park. My favorite place on the UW campus is the quad.
Plans/goals for the future:
I would like to work in the business field- perhaps in consulting or marketing.


Name: Tammy Tarhini
Major: Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Medical Anthropology and Global Health
Study Abroad Program(s): Anthropology Jordan: Anthropology of the Middle East – Contemporary Culture in Jordan and University of Sydney Exchange, Australia
What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?
My favorite part of my study abroad experiences has been getting to know the people living in the countries I have visited. There are so many stories out there, and I never tire of hearing them or having the chance to be a part of them. The beginning is always difficult; there’s a vulnerability that comes from being somewhere and not knowing any places or anybody, even if you do share a language. Yet I’ve learned that the more I work to overcome that feeling of vulnerability and put myself out there, the more people I am able to befriend, and the quicker I can start to feel at home.
What’s your favorite food?
There’s a German dessert called Spaghettieis. You put vanilla ice cream through a pasta machine, and end up with a bowl of spaghetti shaped ice cream. Strawberry syrup is poured on top to mimic marinara sauce, and white chocolate shavings masquerading as parmesan cheese are sprinkled on it to complete the picture. Is it a dessert? Is it a proper, full meal? Nobody knows, but there are so many variants on it (any flavor ice cream or frozen yogurt instead of vanilla, Nutella instead of strawberry syrup, etc. etc.) that Spaghettieis is appropriate for virtually any occasion, really.
What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is Joyeux Noël, a brilliant World War I film. It’s a take on an actual event that occurred in December 1914, when a brief ceasefire at the frontlines allowed French, German, and Scottish soldiers to come together to celebrate Christmas. Not only is it a great movie; I’m a language buff, and love that the film is trilingual, using actors from each respective country.
What’s your favorite place in Seattle?
I’m so in love with my city that it’s hard to pick a single spot! Gasworks would be one, if only because you can never get tired of the Seattle skyline, especially at night. Another favorite is the many little specialty coffee shops in the city, especially the Ugly Mug café near the Ave. At school, my favorite place has to be Grieg garden. It’s the perfect reading nook, and always manages to remain quiet despite being in the middle of campus.
Plans/goals for the future:
I’m currently en route to taking my MCAT and applying for medical school. I plan on taking a gap year, and hope to spend it in Germany or Jordan learning more about global health and the refugee crisis, a theme I would like to focus on going forward. Although, opening a Spaghettieis shop is certainly a viable alternative to this career path.


Name: Tressa Thomas
Major: English Major, Art History Minor
Study Abroad Program(s): Honors Rome and Venice: Mediterranean Crossings and IE3 Internship Capetown, South Africa

What was your favorite part of Studying Abroad?

During our self-led tour through Rione Monti, we were caught in a massive thunder storm; we were also about an hour walk from all our apartments. Embracing the cold, the class spent hours running through the emptied streets of Rome. It is both thrilling and curious to see how cultural context can redefine how you act, what your goals are, and what your strengths/weaknesses are.

What’s your favorite movie?
My favorite movie is “The Parent Trap.” I grew up watching the film and often return to it as a source of comfort and happiness nowadays.
What’s your favorite place in Seattle?
My favorite place in Seattle is Century Ballroom in Capital Hill. It is a club that hosts swing dancing every Sunday night. The music is loud and the crowd is always rowdy and ready to dance.