Study Abroad Diplomat: Jennifer Tejada

Posted on January 15th, 2010 by

Written by Kelly K. Nelson ’10


Jennifer Tejada '10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo submitted)

Each year about 125 Gustavus students take a hiatus from campus and venture off to destinations such as Chile, India, Sweden, Spain, Australia, and Russia. These adventurous Gusties yearn to take their learning beyond the walls of the traditional Gustavus classroom and expand their horizons globally.

Jennifer Tejada, a senior sociology and anthropology major from Brooklyn, N.Y., studied abroad during spring semester 2009 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the program SIT: Social Movements and Human Rights. Her decision to study abroad stemmed from a desire to experience a new culture. “I wanted to be completely immersed in the culture. I wanted to hear Spanish being spoken around me all the time,” she says.

Tejada now works as one of the yearlong interns in Gustavus’s Center for International and Cultural Education (CICE). She serves as study-abroad peer adviser — a resource to prospective study-abroad students who have questions about programs, the application process, or logistics. “Jennifer does the whole front-line advising for students at the very beginning stages,” says CICE Study Abroad Adviser Jill Fischer.

“The peer advisers were really helpful advising me about the programs before I studied abroad,” Tejada says. “I thought it would be a great to come and tell people about my experiences and help them. And, now I can be that person for someone else.”

Tejada has taken on a specific project facilitating “Tales from Abroad,” an opportunity for students who have studied or lived abroad to present a slideshow of their photographs and talk about their experiences. It’s held Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the C. Charles Jackson Center’s Rundquist Room. It is open to anyone who wants to learn about the study-abroad experiences of others.

“Anyone who has gone abroad, they all have this story,” Tejada says. “You learn so much while you are abroad; it opens you to new cultures and sparks an interest in you for everything else in the world.”

Through working with students each year Fischer has the ability to see the positive effects of studying abroad. For many students, the experiences are life-changing. “They come back understanding their place in the world, with a sense of direction. That is really making your life count — having an idea of your direction or vocation. It’s a very powerful, very impactful experience,” Fischer says.

Fischer notes the degree of Tejada’s growth within her position as an intern as parallel to the personal growth she experienced while in Buenos Aires. “Her confidence is striking. She’s lovely. She is great to have in the office,” Fischer says.


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