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Life lessons go global

Life lessons go global

Photo courtesy of Rebecca Jaeger

Former SGA president Rebecca Jaeger reports back on life after UD

The University of Delaware’s Rebecca Jaeger, a member of the Class of 2016, remembers her undergraduate years as a rewarding mix of classes, free food, and unforgettable out-of-classroom experiences — including her tenure as Student Government Association president and an orientation leader as well as her study abroad trip to Spain, where she now lives.

Reflecting on her experiences in an interview with the Division of Student Life, Jaeger had a few words of wisdom for students interested in discovering their passion and experiencing more of the world.

Q. What have been the biggest changes between life at UD and life now?

Jaeger: Instead of revolving around class, activities, and events that showered me in free food, my schedule is now based on hours that I need to work and responsibilities that I need to fulfill. Like many of my fellow Class of 2016 Blue Hens, I’m still figuring out many of the fun logistics of adulthood: independence, paying rent, cooking for myself — as well as learning to live in a country that has a dominant language different from my own. Living in Spain has made me realize how challenging it can be to fill out paperwork or navigate processes in a language that is foreign to me.

Q. What has your transition to life in Spain been like?

Jaeger: I studied abroad here a few years ago, so I was fortunate to have had some knowledge of cultural aspects that are different from what I’m used to in my home country. The most challenging part of my transition was completing all of the logistical tasks. Searching for my own apartment, let alone in Spanish, was definitely a new experience. Thankfully, technology has made it easy to keep in touch with my family and friends back home.

Q. How did your out-of-classroom experiences, such as New Student Orientation and Student Government Association, help prepare you for the work you do now?

Jaeger: As an orientation leader and as SGA president, I learned to communicate effectively with others, advocate for change, and work with people from diverse backgrounds. These experiences greatly enhanced what I learned inside the classroom at UD, and made me a more organized, inspired and assertive leader. The students that I now work with all have big dreams of applying to US schools and having an American college experience, and it’s fun being part of their lives as they prepare for their next big adventure. Their excitement, like that of new Blue Hens, is infectious!

Q: What advice do you have for students who may be interested in following a similar path?

Jaeger: Find your passion and pursue it by getting involved on campus.

You will learn a great deal inside the classroom, but some of the most important lessons that you will take with you happen through extracurricular activities. Don’t be afraid to become a leader in that activity, because you will learn so much about yourself and about others by doing so. I was selected for my English Teaching Assistant position at a university due, in part, to my experiences as a Writing Center tutor, an orientation leader and a resident assistant.

Take advantage of programs and staff that can help you get where you want to go.

I never imagined that I would be living in Spain today, and I never would have had this opportunity if I hadn’t taken the chance to apply for the Fulbright Program. The essay space that you have in the application is limited, so revision is of the utmost importance to make sure you’ve squeezed in everything that you want to say to the committee in a cohesive manner. Staff in the Institute for Global Studies and the Honors Program were particularly helpful to me as I prepared to apply for this opportunity. UD staff and faculty are there to help you pursue your passions, so take advantage of their expertise and assistance while you can.

Fulbright information session

An information session on UD's Fulbright Program will be held from 3:30-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9, in 109 Memorial Hall. Lisa Chieffo, Fulbright Program adviser, and a Fulbright representative will co-lead a presentation for those who would like to apply.

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