Student Alumni Mentors

Jeffrey Cho, '22

19X German LSA+ Berlin

I'm a current senior majoring in Computer Science. My favorite and most impactful memory at Dartmouth would unequivocally be the Summer 2019 Berlin LSA. Initially, before attending, I had little to no expectations, but in hindsight, this amazing program turned my life upside down. I chose to become a study away advisor because I wanted to help others enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity better or even similar to what I had experienced. 

As a freshman, I was pretty disengaged with the Dartmouth community. Pretty much knowing little to nobody on campus and facing the pressure of not being antisocial seemed like an impossible burden to overcome, so naturally I just mostly flowed through my first 3 terms at Dartmouth. Honestly, I did not take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by the college. However, being in Berlin my freshman summer with amazing people on my program made me appreciate all the little moments I had in the city with them, whether it be sharing a drink at a rooftop bar in Leipzig or even just walking through the streets of Berlin. The momentum from that summer carried over to my sophomore year where I really started to make myself involved on campus and enjoy spending the time I had with my friends. As someone who had no idea about his identity nor had any expectations to gain something about his identity prior to the study abroad program, I am willing to speak with anyone who doesn't really have any goals/expectations or doesn't really know how their identity might be affected by the program because I was in the same shoes when I had gone. 

Availability: I am available virtually 21X; however, I will be on campus 21F, winter 2022, and spring 2022. 

Phone: (757) 778-7757

Email: Jeffrey.J.Cho.22@dartmouth.edu

Laurel Dernbach, '22

19X Spanish LSA+ Santander

I am a Computer Science and Hispanic Studies double major. On-campus, I am highly involved with Dartmouth College Radio (WDCR) and Panarchy. In my free time, I love spending time outside, practicing yoga, listening to music, and spending time with people I love.  

I studied abroad because I wanted to put my language skills to the test, as well as experience Spanish culture on a more immersive level than short-term tourism. What surprised me the most about studying abroad is the need to be flexible-- at any given moment I felt I was at the whim of the local culture, the program, or my host family, and being open to all experiences was crucial to my success that term. As a result of my study abroad, I have some of my best friends ever at Dartmouth, and I changed from a Spanish minor to a Spanish major! I love the department and academic field too much to stop after 5 classes (or whatever the minor is). 

I am a study abroad advisor because I want people to have as fantastic of an experience as I did, but I also want to be real with students about the less-discussed aspects of studying abroad, like loneliness and anxiety. Neither of these has to turn the whole experience sour, but understanding how they might come up and how to deal with them are super important, and the sooner the conversation happens, the better! 

Availability: I'm reachable almost always and online reliably 9-6 on weekdays! 

Email: LKD.22@dartmouth.edu

Vivek Hazari, '22

19F Philosophy FSP Edinburgh

Hi- I'm Vivek. I'm a '22 studying Computer Science and Philosophy. I had the opportunity to study at Edinburgh University's School of Philosophy in the fall of my second year on an FSP. Outside of classes, I'm involved with the fencing club and some research in CS, which I am happy to discuss as well. I wanted to study abroad for a couple of reasons— there's the obvious one: Scotland is a beautiful place, and traveling abroad would be fun. I also wanted to take the time to reflect and see how I felt taking no math or CS classes for a term. At that point, I was pretty confident that I wanted to center a lot of my time at Dartmouth around classes in those departments. Still, I am getting a B.A., and I want to make sure I respect the 'liberal arts' part of my liberal arts education. I wouldn't have changed anything about the trip, but I wish I better understood before I went on the FSP what the trade-offs of going abroad were. There is by far more opportunity available at Dartmouth than one can take advantage of in four years. I vaguely knew this beforehand, but I hadn't fully internalized it until I left. I came back to Dartmouth with a better appreciation for the sheer volume of activity and opportunity available in Hanover. After all, time on campus is precious. 

I would be happy to chat about anything, but I think I can be the most helpful in discussing the following: the tradeoffs of going on an FSP vs. staying on campus, balancing a major plan with coursework on an FSP that isn't related, the challenges of a semester term when you are used to quarters, and taking time away from jetstream that is on-campus life to get some time to think. 

Availability: I should be available & present on-campus all three terms for 21-22. 

Email: vivek.hazari.22@dartmouth.edu

Dhwani Kharel, '22

20W ASCL/WGSS FSP Hyderabad, India

I chose to study abroad in India for multiple reasons. I was born in Nepal, but I had not left the United States since I came here as a young child so I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to visit another country and experience a unique country that had cultural and ethnic diversity. Furthermore, many of the customs in India overlap with Nepalese customs, and I wanted the opportunity to further explore my South Asian identity in a way that I had not been able to while growing up in South Dakota.  

As I look back on my time away, I appreciate the ways the ways my study abroad experience changed me. First, studying abroad helped me clarify my future goals and cemented my belief that a Dartmouth education is a privilege that should be used to fix injustices in our world. On that note, I now know that I want to work on gender issues in the future— studying abroad made me aware of the importance of cultural sensitivity when conducting this type of work in a global setting. Culture and policy are deeply intertwined; sometimes global programs fail because they fail to understand cultural context and may adopt paternalistic attitudes that perpetuate rather than solve problems they aim to fix. Finally, studying abroad taught me to be more flexible and open to challenges, a skill that is always valuable in my day-to-day life. No day in India was the same, and I learned to adapt to rapidly changing schedules and environments because of the requirements of my trip.  

In addition, there are a few things I would have done differently. First, I would have learned a few common phrases and terms before arriving in India. In most cities, English was enough, but knowing how to ask for prices or directions would have come in handy because many locals did not speak English. Second, I would have journaled more often. I tried to journal and reflect on my trip after coming home, but it was not the same as writing down these feelings as I was experiencing them. Finally, I would have tried to branch out more to speak with local people in India. It is easy to stick with your Dartmouth cohort and it takes a lot more effort to talk to people, including your classmates, outside of this bubble— yes, even when you leave campus it's hard to exit the bubble! However, the conversations I had with my Indian classmates and with local vendors were among the most enriching and I would highly recommend making an active effort to branch out. That's why you're studying abroad! 

Availability: I am available either in person or virtually in the upcoming school year (2021-2022)

Email: Dhwani.Kharel.22@dartmouth.edu

Lauryn King, '22

19F German FSP Berlin & 20W Film Studies DSP Los Angeles

I am a German Studies Major and a Film & Media Studies Major. I have wanted to study away from the moment I applied to Dartmouth. I fell in love with the idea of studying both film and German in a real-world, hands-on experience. During both of my away terms, I was shocked by the sheer amount of things to do and the little time to take advantage of it all. With that said, rather than actually attempt to try as many new things as possible, during my away terms, I instead became hyper-focused on excelling at classes, improving my German language skills (when I was in Berlin), and trying to do a great a job during my internship in Los Angeles. I regret not taking more time to truly explore and experiment in both environments. If I were to change something, I would take for granted the amount of time I had in each city because it goes by so quickly that I think it is as important to be courageous and venture out as much as possible, in order to discover something new, as it is to do well in class. 

Nonetheless, I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to study away twice. I think that my unique experiences as a student who participated in two back-to-back away terms, one of which was actually a domestic program, really fueled my decision to become a study away advisor. Not only did I gain insight about my majors and intended career paths through both programs, but I learned more about my identity as a black American woman through both environments. The knowledge and experiences that I gained during these programs have been invaluable for me. As my time at Dartmouth starts to come to an end, I find myself still relying on the things that I've learned from my study aways, and through this program, I hope to pass on my insight to the next group of students who chose to take the leap and study away. 

Availability: I will away from campus and virtual during the summer (21X), but on-campus the remainder of the terms for this 21-22 academic year. 

Phone: (973) 336-7486

Email: Lauryn.a.king.22@dartmouth.edu

Anya Sorensen, '22

19X Arabic LSA+ Rabat, Morocco & 20W French LSA Toulouse

I'm Anya Sorensen, a '22 majoring in Government and Middle Eastern Studies from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Within these two majors, I specialize in international security, international development, and politics of the Middle East and North Africa. Besides academics, on campus, I'm a UGA and I'm also involved with some political groups, Arabic Club, and Alpha Xi Delta sorority. I've been lucky to study abroad twice, once on the Arabic LSA+ in Rabat, Morocco, during 19X and once on the French LSA in Toulouse, France, during 20W. To be able to study abroad twice meant seriously planning out my D-plan, which is something I would be more than willing to help other Dartmouth students work through. I'm also more than willing to talk about the positives/negatives of programs in Europe vs in other continents, of dealing with substantial cultural adjustments, and of just about anything! 

I'm super excited to be a study away advisor because my experience on the Arabic LSA+ in Rabat, Morocco, in 19X was one of my favorite terms at Dartmouth. It was my first time ever traveling to the Middle East and North Africa, so I was expecting it to be a relatively difficult experience. While there were definitely some hard aspects and weird catcalls (I actually got meowed at), being in Morocco was a largely comfortable, enjoyable experience and, generally, a lot easier than I had anticipated. Going abroad can be nerve-racking when you know little about the country you're going to, but it almost always turns out to be very rewarding. I look forward to helping other people at Dartmouth make the most of their programs! 

Availability: I will be available all year and on-campus starting 21F.

Phone: (954)-300-6959

Email: Anya.I.Sorensen.22@dartmouth.edu

Adam Vandenbussche, '22

19X German LSA+ Berlin

Hi! My name is Adam, I'm a '22 from Montreal, Canada majoring in computer science modified with engineering and minoring in public policy. Having arrived at Dartmouth as a freshman interested in engineering and with my language requirement already fulfilled, my decision to take up German was quite spontaneous. When I learned about the German LSA+, I was initially interested in the program as an opportunity to further solidify my language skills and to experience living abroad somewhat autonomously. As a STEM major, I was ultimately surprised by how much the program helped me learn more about my academic interests beyond the language and complex history I was studying. In particular, I drew many parallels between invasive surveillance tactics used by the Stasi (the former East German state security service) and modern digital tracking by big data companies, which inspired me to pursue the public policy minor with a focus on tech policy. 

My term in Berlin was by far one of the highlights of my Dartmouth experience, and I became a study away advisor to encourage other students to make the most of Dartmouth's incredible off-campus opportunities. I'm eager to speak with students about participating in programs seemingly unrelated to their major, studying away as an international student, or answering general questions relating to the study away experience. 

Availability: On-campus 21X-22S, available in person or virtually.

Email: Adam.C.Vandenbussche.22@dartmouth.edu