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UHart Global Peer Advisors

Please see below for a list of our current GPAs and read their bios to learn more about how study abroad impacted them.

This year's group of GPAs spans across UHart colleges, majors, study abroad programs (semester and short-term), and study abroad locations.  We've found in the past prospective students really benefit from speaking with students who have already studied abroad, and we hope you will stop by the International Center (GSU 309) to speak with these study abroad alumni!

Fall 2018 GPA Office Hours
  • Monday, 11:00-12:00pm - Rachel Bonaparte & Natalia Erazo
  • Monday, 12:00-1:00pm - Dima Karakitukova & Erin Sussmann
  • Tuesday, 11:00-12:00pm - Johnson Ao, Hannah Moore & Tamar Mor
  • Wednesday, 3:00-4:00pm - Reggie Dormelas, Leah Doty, Ally Packnick & Allison Quaye
  • Thursday, 8:30-9:30 - Maxx Gianni
  • Thursday, 9:00-10:00 - Natalie Olmstead
  • Thursday, 9:15-10:15 - Jaleyca Rivera
  • Friday, 10:00-11:00 - Natalya Beranek & Jordan Sharp

Our advisors will share their overseas experiences with you, and help you figure out which program you should do.  Already know your program?  Come speak with our students to learn more about what it's actually like as a UHart study abroad student!

Interested in becoming a GPA?  We'll have a new application period during summer 2019.  Check back for more details!

Guojun Johnson Ao: A&S, Hillyer - Political science & criminal justice; Semester at Sea - Multi-Coutry, spring 2017

Hello everyone my name is Guojun Ao and you can call me Johnson. I am currently a senior studying Criminal Justice and Government & Politics in College of A&S. In Spring 2017 I did study abroad program called Semester At Sea. I spent 4 months on a ship and visited 10 countries (Japan, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, India, Mauritius, South Africa, Ghana, Morocco, and Germany) . I was able to meet and study with employees from State Department and Department of Defense. The experience I received was no way to compare staying on Campus. On the ship I also meet people and make friends from all over the world. Able to study and sail around the world is once of a life time opportunity. I’m happy that I was able to meet the requirement and this will be the highlight of my college years. If you are thinking about SAS program I will do my best to help you with information and requirements. Welcome Aboard!

Natalya Beranek: ENHP - Prosthetics & Orthotics; API - Dublin, Ireland, Spring 2018


Hello everyone! My name is Beranek and I am a junior studying Prosthetics and Orthotics in ENHP. I spent Spring 2018 in Dublin, Ireland with API. The experience really brought me out of my shell and I was able to confidently walk the streets of Dublin (and many other areas) like a local. I got to travel to Edinburgh, Scotland with my provider, and traveled on my own to the Czech Republic, Northern Ireland (yes, it is different from Ireland!), and Greece, where I even spoke to the locals in Greek! The experience was absolutely life changing and I encourage anyone remotely considering spending time abroad to jump on the chance to! Whether long-term or short-term, the experience is going to affect your life. 

I am thrilled to be able to share my time abroad with you all! Slán go fóill!

Rachel Bonaparte: A&S - Communications; API – london, england, fall 2017 & UHart first year london experience, summer 2016

Hello! I'm Rachel, I studied abroad in London, England on a short-term program the summer of 2016, and again in the fall of 2017.

While abroad I got the chance to visit six different countries and see some places I’ve always dreamed of including, Big Ben, the Cliffs of Moher, the Eiffel Tower, the canals of Amsterdam. London truly was an amazing place to study, with so many museums to visit, landmarks to see, and fun restaurants to do to; there’s something new to see every day. I loved taking classes in London, but just being abroad taught me lessons that you don’t learn in a classroom like how to navigate public transportation, how to travel in groups, to go with the flow, and important time management skills. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with all of you interested in studying abroad! 

reggie dormelas: barney - accounting; UHart: Social Enterprises & Sustainability in Spain, spring break 2018; Tean – Auckland, new Zealand, spring 2017

Reggie Dormelas in New Zealand 

Hi I’m Reggie Dormelas, I am a senior majoring in Accounting. I studied abroad in Auckland, New Zealand at AUT University in the spring semester of 2017 through The Education Abroad Network. I also did a short term study abroad in the spring semester of 2018 and went to Spain!  Studying abroad was something I spent my entire freshman year thinking about doing but never had the courage to go through the process. My experience in New Zealand could not have gone any better. I learned a new culture, easily adapted to the living style there and made life long friends and memories. I took classes with American students and New Zealand students. My flatmates were all Kiwis (NZ citizens) so that helped me out even more because whenever I had a question or problem they were more than willing to help. Also, living with them helped me adapt to the culture better and learn so much more than I would ever learn in the classroom. I traveled all throughout the North island of NZ and even got to do a road trip in the South island during break. I also got the chance to visit Australia during my time abroad. The majority of my study abroad experience went really well but there are always some difficulties and as a Global Peer Advisor I plan to help and guide students in any way I can. Being a GPA also gives me a reason to talk about my abroad experience so this works out perfectly. Sweet as!

leah doty: a&S - journalism & media; sit study abroad – kathmandu, nepal, Spring 2017 & UHart Irish experience, summer 2016

Hey! My name is Leah Doty and I am currently a senior, majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism and Media and a minor in Marketing. I have studied abroad two times so far during my college career. The first time was a short-term program in Ireland, the second time was a semester abroad in Nepal. I was able to live both in dorms abroad and with host families, emerged in the culture. Both experiences were amazing and unique in their own way. I made amazing friends and was able to see and experience things I would never have imagined before college. I am an extreme advocate for taking advantage of the study abroad options we have at UHart, it’s an amazing once in a life time opportunity! I can’t wait to talk to talk to everyone about their study abroad plans!

Natalia Erazo: A&S Psychology & criminal Justice; CIEE - Paris, France, Spring 2018

Natalia Erazo in Paris, France 

Bonjour! I'm Natalia Erazo and I studied in Paris, France for the Spring Semester of 2018 with the CIEE Program. This was the experience of a lifetime, and I encourage anyone to get out of their comfort zone to study abroad! I am a double major in psychology and criminal justice as well as in the honors program here at Uhart. If I could do it, you can too! Feel free to reach out to me about anything, I am always ready to share what I've learned and experienced.

Maxx Gianni: HAS - Sculpture; TEAN - Newcastle, Australia, Fall 2017

Maxx Gianni in Australia

Maxx here and I am currently a senior sculpture major at the Hartford Art School. During my time down under in Newcastle, Australia I learned so much about myself and pushed myself to limits I never thought were possible, from sky diving to koala holding, my days and nights spent in Australia were truly something amazing. Australia has so much to offer! As I had said I studied art in Newcastle which is considered to be a much more down to earth region than the hustle and bustle of Sydney with numerous gorgeous beaches just a quick drive away and thrift stores galore. Something that truly astounded me visiting this region of Australia was how Eco conscious everyone was. Rallies for cleaning up beaches were frequent as well as talks on replacing the coal industry, which is heavy, especially in Newcastle, with a cleaner more alternative fuel source. I could go on and on about my journey but better yet, why not ask me about it yourself! I am a proud supporter and fellow member of the LGBTQ+ community as well as an advocate for the destigmatization of mental illness.

Dima Karakitukova: A&S - International Studies and History; UHart Lithuania, summer 2018; AIFS - Athens, Greece, Fall 2017

Dima Karakitukova in Greece 

γεια σας! My name is Dima and I am currently a senior international studies major with a history minor. In the fall of 2017, I had the amazing experience of being able to study abroad in Athens, Greece. With my program we were able to go on several different excursions, such as visiting the Temple of Delphi and exploring the island of Hydra, where we were also able to cliff jump into the Aegean Sea. While abroad, I also traveled with friends that I had just met to Santorini, Rhodes, Romania, Italy, Spain, Germany and Austria! My roommates and the friends I made while abroad have become my lifelong friends, and I have Greece to thank for that. I was also fortunate enough to do a short term study abroad program in Lithuania in the summer of 2018, where I was able to be a part of an archaeological team, as well as have our excursions be turned into a documentary by Uhart students. Studying abroad gave me a new sense of independence that a regular campus life doesn't offer. I am so grateful of my fond memories that I had while studying abroad, and will always cherish them. 

Hannah Moore: A&S Psychology, HAS - Studio Art; API - Cork, Ireland, Fall 2017

Hannah Moore at the Cliffs of Moher

Hello!!! My name is Hannah Moore, I am a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Studio Art at University of Hartford. I came into college knowing I wanted to study abroad but not knowing exactly where I would want to go. In fall of 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to study at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland through API. I could not have picked a more perfect place to me, especially because I love rain and ocean views! I was able to travel with my program to multiple cities in Ireland and London, England. I quickly became very close with the girls in my program and we ended up traveling almost every weekend together, going up and down the coasts of Ireland, as well as other countries, like Romania, Scotland, and Germany. I also had the time to play on the UCC varsity volleyball team! It was amazing getting close with the locals and other international students through that experience! I am so happy to have made lifelong memories with friends I will keep for the rest of my life. I am looking post-undergrad to take a year or two off and find an international internship to continue my experience with other cultures!  I look forward to sharing my stories from abroad and helping students looking to go abroad with anything they need!

Tamar Mor: A&S - Judaic Studies and Psychology; Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv, Israel, Spring 2018

Tamar Mor in Israel

Shalom! My name is Tamar and I'm a Junior with a double major in Judaic Studies and Psychology. I went abroad in the Spring of 2018 to Tel Aviv University in Israel. My experience abroad was absolutely incredible and has had a lasting effect on me as a person and student. My program included a one month Hebrew language intensive course where I was able to immerse myself in the language and culture of my host country. The TAU study abroad program also had organized trips throughout Israel, social events and also offered great ways to network professionally. My study abroad experience taught me not only about the diversity and culture of my host country, but also about myself. It made me step out of my comfort zone and try new things, helping me become a more confident and well rounded person. Studying abroad was the best decision I've made in college and I encourage everyone to leave the UHart bubble to get a taste of what the world has to offer!

Natalie Olmstead: Barney - Accounting; AIFS - Prague, Czech Republic, Fall 2017

Dobry den! My name is Natalie Olmstead and I am currently a junior accounting major with actuarial science and management minors. I studied abroad for fall semester of my sophomore year (2017) in Prague, Czech Republic through AIFS. I went to the University of Economics (VSE) located minutes away from the city center. I knew I wanted to study abroad before I started at the University of Hartford and I knew the exact location. I wouldn’t change my decision for anything because it has been one of the best experiences of my life. While I was there, I traveled to many cities in several countries including Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and of course, the Czech Republic. A lot of people don’t think accounting majors can go abroad but it is definitely possible. You just need to have a plan. I am here to help and guide prospective study abroad students with any questions or concerns anyone might have. I also have many good and not so good memories that I am willing to share to help the next student experience a once in a lifetime opportunity.


Alison Packnick: ENHP - Integrated Elementary and Special Education; CIEE Global Institutes - Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; &  London, England, Spring 2018

Hallo, Hello, Bonjour! My name is Ally Packnick. I am a junior and majoring in Integrated Special/Elementary Education. I studied abroad my spring semester of sophomore year with CIEE. I was able to study in Germany, London, and Paris for 6 weeks each. While abroad I was able to visit Hungary, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Iceland, and Spain. With each new place that I traveled to, I gained more and more insight about Europe, each countries culture, and real life skills. I began to push myself outside of my comfort zone and actually had the opportunity to travel to Iceland all by myself. Every place that I studied in I was able to make amazing connections with not only American students, but people who lived in the area. After studying abroad I've become obsessed with sharing my stories and pushing others to consider studying abroad as well.  

Allison Quaye: A&S - Psychology; AIFS - Rome, Italy, Spring 2018

Allison Quaye in Rome, Italy

Hey! I am Allison, a senior Psychology major here in the school of Arts & Sciences. I spent Spring of my Junior year  in Rome, Italy and many of the other beautiful cities Europe has to offer, and you can too! Studying abroad was very important for me to do because I knew there will not be another opportunity for me to spend five months in a foreign environment learning about different cultures, languages, and myself. Aside from the solo trips I have taken this year, I also have been able to travel around the world with my parents since I was 7. With multiple trips, countless memories and lessons, I have recognized the value of seeing the world and hope to help all students do the same!

Jaleyca Rivera: A&S - Psychology; Stellenbosch, South Africa, Fall 2017


Molweni!! My name is Jaleyca Rivera and I am currently a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Gender Studies. I spent the Fall 2017 semester studying at Stellenbosch University, South Africa through AIFS. I had the best experience of my life in South Africa and I wish I could go back! In the beginning, I did not realize how much this opportunity would change my perspectives, my values and the importance of immersing myself in another culture. I learned so many new things about myself and it was interesting to try to step outside of my comfort zone. Some highlights of my trip were visiting the Garden Route, Cederberg Mountains, Addo Elephant park, Robben Island, day trips to Cape Town, jumping off one of the highest bridges in the world, zip lining through the forest and trying as many new foods as I possibly could! During my time abroad I was fortunate enough to be able to spend my Tuesday mornings in a primary school as a Teachers Aid. Being able to see the school systems in South Africa first hand was extraordinary and very eye opening. The biggest thing I took away from my experience abroad is that now I have a greater appreciation for life in general and being in a country that is completely different from mine has given me global awareness. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with you!

Jordan Sharp: ENHP - Integrated Elementary and Special Education; AIFS - Stellenbosch, South Africa, Spring 2018; UHart Global Trends - Budapest, Hungary & Rome, Italy, spring break 2017


Hello! My name is Jordan, and I am a junior, studying Integrated Elementary and Special Education. I have previously done a short-term faculty-led program to Budapest and Rome, and I spent two weeks in Japan during high school. Last Spring, I studied abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa for the semester. At Stellenbosch University, I took the Learning, Sustainability, and Community Engagement course, which allowed me to teach at a township school each week. On the walk from the bus to the school, our students came up to us, smiling ear-to-ear, grabbing our hands and proudly escorting us into their school. It was about more than teaching them English, we built real relationships. The difference in language and culture forced me to confront my biases and engage in critical reflection, which fostered mutual learning and growth. Outside of class, I enjoyed hiking mountains, eating delicious food, meeting locals, going to markets, and much more. South Africa has a little bit of everything, which made each day a new adventure! I loved my time there, and I cannot wait to travel again! I hope to share my experiences and help others plan an amazing semester abroad!

erin sussmann: ceta - electrical engineering & computer science; uhart global trends - budapest, hungary & rome, italy, Spring 2017; Monday: 2:00-3:00

Erin Sussmann in Europe 

My name is Erin Sussmann and I am a Sophomore studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Hartford. I studied abroad in Spring 2017 on a short term program to Budapest, Hungary and Rome, Italy. I have always wanted to study abroad, and even with a crazy double major, I have been able to fit an international experience into my schedule with the short term programs offered by the University. Spending spring break in these two countries was such an amazing experience. I would love to talk to you about my experiences and help you shape your own adventure!