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Mentor Profile


mentor picture Irene
Junior Year Film Production Major
Loyola Marymount University
Hi! My Name is Irene and I am currently a Junior Year Film Production Major at Loyola Marymount University. Traveling and exploring cultures other than my own is something that I have had a passion for since a very young age. My... Hi! My Name is Irene and I am currently a Junior Year Film Production Major at Loyola Marymount University. Traveling and exploring cultures other than my own is something that I have had a passion for since a very young age. My family is originally from Mexico and every year we travel to their home towns to visit family and friends. In high school I was able to do two Alternative Break trips; one in Greece, and one in Kenya. In the Fall of 2009 I was lucky enough to be accepted into the Film and Television Bonn, Germany Study Abroad Program. I, along with seventeen other students had the rare opportunity to develop and produce our own documentary on whatever topic we’d like in a European country. The experience taught me so much about the type of film maker that I would like to be, and at the same time opened my eyes to the endless opportunities that the entire world, not just the US, has to offer. In total I am lucky to say that I have visited over fifteen countries! I feel that traveling and exploring is something that has shaped my life and I cannot stress how life changing study abroad really is. If you are thinking about it, but are not sure whether study abroad is for you or not… let me tell you this, IT IS FOR YOU! It is truly a once in a life time experience.


  1. My advice would be to start looking into scholarships as soon as you find out that you have been accepted into a study abroad program. More than likely, you will find out at least several months before your actual departure date and starting to gather funds earlier will make those last few weeks before departure much less stressful. Be sure to look online for scholarships/grants and turn your applications in EARLY! It is also fun to put together little fundraisers for yourself amongst your family & friends.
    6 answers – Budgeting
  2. Definitely! Traveling in other places is usually much easier than traveling in the US. In Europe for example, you can obtain a Eurail pass before you leave the US and this is a great deal if you have several countries in mind that you don’t want to miss. There also many other excellent ways to save that may seem simple, but a little goes a long way. Suggestions: pack your own lunch/snacks and eat breakfast/ dinner with your host family, that way when you travel you will have more money for other things. Make train/flight reservations early to get better deals. Staying in hostels is also a great way to save money and meet other travelers like you.
    3 answers – Budgeting – While Abroad
  3. When you first arrive you are going to want to experience EVERYTHING in your first week abroad. Remember that you will be spending a lot of time their and try to budget your money accordingly. If you make a budget for yourself and stick to it, you will have less worries about running out of funds.
    6 answers – Budgeting
  4. This is something that is very important to consider before turning in your application. My advice would be to sit down with one of the counselors in the study abroad office and let them offer you advice depending on your major and interests. If there is program that is specifically for students with your major, but it is not a country you are particularly interested in, do more research. You may find that this country has so much more to offer than you thought.
    8 answers – Deciding On A Program
  5. The internet is always a good and easy source to find more info on the country you are studying abroad in. I would also suggest speaking to students who have studied abroad in the country you are interested in going to and have a list of questions ready to ask them. Important things to know are local foods, local means of transportation, language spoken, economic status, etc. You can also always go to the study abroad office and they will be more than happy to give you more info.
    3 answers – Deciding On A Program
  6. I would advise students to study abroad in there sophomore or junior year. I say this because as a freshman you are still adjusting to your school and it is good to know your campus comfortably before venturing off to a new place. Senior year is also a very important time in your college career. It is your final year and most people would rather spend it at home with friends and family. Ultimately, no matter when or where you study abroad, it will be an unforgettable experience that will be one the best decisions of your life.
    4 answers – Deciding On A Program
  7. This is something to be discussed with your academic advisor. If your major is extremely intensive then maybe there is a study abroad program specifically for students with your major. If not then look for a program that offers a lot of core classes so that you can still meet your school requirements. Summer study abroad programs are also great because it allows you to only take one or two classes and really focus more on your new environment.
    4 answers – Deciding On A Program
  8. Deciding where to live is something that will make a big impact on your experience. Living with a family can be a great way to help you become immersed into the new culture. A host family can also lessen the feelings of being homesick. There is usually also an option of living in student dorms. This can also be a good option if you are interested in developing relationships with other study abroad students. Be sure to weigh all the pros and cons of each option before making your final decision.
    2 answers – Deciding On A Program – Housing – While Abroad
  9. Don’t over pack! As Americans we are stereotyped as being huge over packers. Unfortunately, this is usually true. Strip your luggage down to the bare minimum. Chances are that all the things you think you might need, you probably WON’T need.
    2 answers – Before You Leave
  10. The most important thing is to be open-minded. Enjoy the experience and learn as much as you can. Do research before hand on the local culture so that everything won’t be such a shock when you arrive. If you live with a host family, ask them a lot of question because they probably love talking about their culture and will be happy to share it with you. Another good thing to do is get to know the locals. Just remember to be open to everything and you will find yourself immersed in the culture in no time.
    4 answers – While Abroad – Culture
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