Peer Advisors

SMC Study Away peer advisors are alumni who are committed to talking about their experiences and answering any questions you may have about the Study Away program. Read the stories of former Study Away peer advisors.

Name: Tanner DeFebo
Major: Media Studies and Production
Program: London, Spring 2016
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017
Email: tannerdefebo@temple.edu
Instagram: tannerdefebo
Twitter: tannerdefebo

There’s a certain kind of person you meet while traveling abroad. A person who knows what it’s like to leave, change, grow, learn, and then return home. A person who has made mistakes while traveling and carried on. A person who is molded by their experiences in a foreign place. Spring 2016 was my semester not only to meet these people, but to become one of them.

London seemed almost like a fairy tale before I stepped off the Tube in the center of the busy, posh neighborhood of Kensington. I had seen images of the city in movies like Harry Potter and James Bond, and when I got there I encountered more rain and way less dementors. I participated in some amazing classes with equally amazing professors that took me all over London and to places you would never think to explore. During my time in London, I had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Naples, Nice and Sorrento.

I was always on the fence about studying abroad. I was worried about missing out on things happening in Philadelphia; I was worried about money; and I was worried about a ton of logistical things about being in a foreign country. What helped me was talking to people who’d been abroad in order to build up the confidence to go. If you’ve even entertained the idea of going abroad but are holding back, feel free to contact me or one of the other peer advisors to get a conversation going and help you on your way to a life-changing adventure.

This world is massive, but SMC Study away can help send you—like it did me—on an astounding journey.

Name: Meredith Gilson
Major: Communication Studies
Concentration: Communication and Entrepreneurship
Program(s): Global Internship, London, Summer 2015; Global Internship, LA, Summer 2016
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017
Email: meredith.gilson@temple.edu
Instagram: @meredithgilson

Hi! My name is Meredith and I spent two summers away! I interned in London for a fashion PR company, as well as a fashion wholesale company. I also worked for the Los Angeles Global Internship Program this past summer. I am a senior majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Business.

After my first study away experience, I had to travel to a new city the following summer, and since then I have caught the travel bug. Exploring new cities is one of my favorite things to do, and studying away gives you that opportunity. There is also the opportunity to travel to other cities, which really expands your horizons. I can give you insight into what it is like interning abroad, as well as working for a domestic program. I know I had a lot of questions going into this process, so feel free to email me any questions you have. Also, you can check out my Instagram and Facebook to see pictures from my experiences from my past two summers. I would love to share my experiences with you and learn about your passion for studying away!

Name: Danielle (Dani) Henry-Fagon 
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Theater
Program: Temple Japan, Fall 2015
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017
Email: tuf59428@temple.edu

When I made the decision to study abroad, I thought it was going to be the awesome! I was going to Japan; I was going to do a lot of sightseeing; I was going to meet a lot of fantastic people. Little did I know, it was more than a trip for me. It was a completely life-changing experience. Going beyond the basics, such as food, traveling and friendships, I learned a lot about myself that I didn’t know before. I know now that I can literally make conversation with anyone—even someone who speaks a completely different language. I know now that I can wander around an enormous city like Tokyo and not feel worried about getting lost. I know now that I love directing just as much as acting. I know now that I am comfortable being vulnerable with others. I know now how comfortable I am being alone, instead of waiting for others to hang out with me.

Deciding to study abroad was the greatest decision I have ever made, and even though it wasn’t perfect all the time, going to Tokyo was the best time of my life. I am definitely going back the first chance I get.

Name: Jared Phillips
Major: Journalism
Program: Global Internship, LA, Summer 2016
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017
Email: jared.phillips@temple.edu

Hey, my name is Jared Phillips, and this past summer I spent the best two months of my life interning for Primary Wave Entertainment in beautiful Los Angeles. I am a senior Journalism major with a focus in Broadcasting and a Sports Management minor. I am an anchor for OwlSports Update, TUTV’s weekly, 30-minute, live sports show featuring the latest news from all of Temple’s varsity athletics. I am also music director of WHIP, Temple’s student-run radio station. Along with various internships I have held in Philadelphia, those activities gave me the preparation I needed to spend a summer interning in Los Angeles.

I’d known I wanted to go out to the West Coast since I started college. I want to help you figure out where it is that you want to explore outside Philadelphia and do everything I can to help prepare you for that experience, both in and outside the workplace. Feel free to email me for any questions you might have!

Name: Gabrielle Verzella
Major: Media Studies and Production
Concentration: Production and International Communication
Program: Dublin, Summer 2015
Expected Graduation Date: Spring 2017
Email: gabrielle.verzella@temple.edu
Instagram: gabrielleverzella

Hi! My name is Gabby and I’m a Media Studies and Production major. I declared my International Communication concentration when I got home from Dublin! I love being emerged in sights and sounds, and I want to create and progress in my career with media technology. Ireland is an enigma to most people, and words like “green” or “beer” usually come to mind. Traveling helps you to form your own opinions and views of the world and cultures around you, and also find out if words like “green” or “beer” hold true (they do). Even after I flew home, I knew I would never find a place like Dublin in the world—but then I realized that there is so much more for me to see! 

As students, we are given the opportunity to live in and explore a foreign country and culture. The idea of leaving home is daunting, but once you’re out there you won’t regret it! If not now, when?