Penn State Alumni Ambassador, Shane Heckman


Name: Shane Heckman

Year: Junior

Major: Finance

Hometown: Reading, PA

Meet one of Penn State’s Alumni Ambassadors, junior Shane Heckman.  Shane is a finance major and participates in multiple organizations across campus, but this year he has spent a great deal of time as a peer representative for CEA Global Education.

HC:  What made you decide to intern with CEA Global Education?

Shane: Coming into college, I knew I wanted to study abroad in Barcelona, Spain in the summer of 2012. Unfortunately, I felt that Penn State didn't provide quality programs going to my destination of choice that also supported classes for a Spanish minor. With this and other personal guidelines in mind, I researched all the possible programs available using Google and various study abroad websites. Eventually, I stumbled across CEA and knew it was the perfect fit for me. It taught classes in both Spanish and English, had great reviews, incorporated students from across the country, fit my time constriction in summer, and even provided classes that would substitute for my Spanish minor. I was further reassured through a guided application process where CEA's staff took the time to answer my questions and made sure I was on the right track. My application process was complete in no time, and soon after I was on my way halfway across the world to the trip of a lifetime.

HC:  What does a typical day as an Alumni Ambassador on campus involve?  

Shane: A lot of the work as an ambassador is self-motivated, and that's what I really love about it. My partner ambassador and I come up with different promotional ideas and ways of reaching out to students on a weekly basis. A typical week can include anything from flyering to classroom presentations to informative meetings, but CEA is extremely flexible with your school and work schedule otherwise. Since everything is mostly done on your own time, you create your own schedule. For anyone that hasn't had that luxury’s pretty sweet.

HC:  Are you involved in any other organizations on campus?

Shane: Oh boy. Where do I start with my other orgs on campus...Since coming to Penn State in 2010, I've been involved with a variety of activities here. Currently, I probably put the most time and effort into my business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. They've done a lot for me and I've held various leadership roles assisting with the fraternity's budget, social and homecoming events, and pledge program. I'm also either currently involved in or have been involved in THON committees, golf club, Nittany Nation, Nittanyville, Blue and White Society and Phi Eta Sigma. Then of course there's my internship with CEA this semester, and next semester I'll be heading to Florida for a Disney College Program internship. Guess you could say I keep myself pretty busy while I'm here because I can't stand sitting around and doing nothing.

HC:  What is your favorite memory of your Study Abroad through CEA?

Shane: Honestly it's really hard picking a single favorite memory. Simply being with a whole new group of people, you travel all over Europe and make more great memories than you'd believe. But if I had to pick a single one, it would probably be skydiving for the first time ever in Switzerland. At the end of the day you just can't beat the thrill of free falling at the speed of gravity while surrounded by the breathtaking Alps.

HC:  Are there any advantages to Study Abroad with CEA Global Education as opposed to studying through PSU?

Shane: While it depends what you want to get out of a study abroad opportunity, I think there are definitely advantages to studying with CEA. Even though it's a non-affiliated program, that's part of the beauty of it- you meet people from all over the country. My roommates were from Texas and I even met people from California, Florida, and Michigan among other places. And it's not that I just met them, they've become best friends that I still keep in contact with and even have visited already this semester. Aside from the friends aspect, the CEA professors and staff were very helpful and made you feel like you could trust them while being so far away from home. Not only did they take the time to be personable and converse with you on a regular basis, but they also taught some of the most interesting and applicable classes I've attended during my college years thus far. Combine all these factors with what I mentioned earlier with summer abroad opportunities, classes taught in both Spanish and English, and classes that substituted into my Spanish minor and it's easy to see why CEA is a great option for any student wishing to go abroad. In fact, Penn State is actually one of CEA's top recruiting colleges and provides CEA with a big number of study abroad participants as it is.

HC:  In your opinion, what is the best thing about interning with CEA as a peer representative?

Shane: Well I'd say I'm definitely a people-person, so the best part for me is the recruiting and social interaction. Even having the ability to make a difference to other students who are sitting on the fence is a motivator in its self.

HC:  If you could give PSU students any advice about Study Abroad, what would it be?

Shane: GO! It's really as simple as that because college is the time of your life when studying abroad is the most feasible and the most useful. If you keep telling yourself you'll do it once you're done with college, once your kids grow up, once you's never going to happen. Even if you do manage to go later in life, the experience won't be the same because you'll either be with a family or on business and then won't be "living it up" with new friends. College is supposed to be the best four plus years of your life, why not make it even better with an unforgettable study abroad experience?