Abigail Palmer is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
When we went on our excursion to Derry in Northern Ireland, our archaeology professor spent a day with us and gave us a partial tour of the city. She told us stories about growing up in Northern Ireland and about the troubles between Catholics and Protestants that had happened, things like shootings, bombings, and the strict checkpoints. The next day we were able to walk around Derry and see the murals that were dedicated to the troubled times we had learned about the day before. Being able to experience the city made an impact on learning.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to study abroad to learn about a different culture and experience living in a different country. I also wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone and to become more independent. Galway was my first choice because of the more rural setting versus the major cities of other study abroad programs. I felt that this would be a good fit for me. The other important reason for choosing Galway was that everyone I talked to who went there loved it and said it was an amazing experience.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My time abroad has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Though that doesn't mean there weren't hard times but by getting passed them it allows you to grow. Being able to learn about the culture and history of a country in the classroom and then experiencing it ourselves made it have a larger impact. It also allows you to create many friendships and connections not only with fellow Bennies and Johnnies on the program but people in the host country itself.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
I was born and raised in the same area of Minnesota, so spending time in Ireland gave me a better understanding and deeper appreciation of another culture. My time in Ireland allowed me to work on my independence. Because I was away from home, I had to rely more on myself to make decisions and solve problems instead of getting input from family. I am now more confident in my ability to take care of things myself.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Take the opportunity to talk to ambassadors of different programs when starting your search. Before you go abroad, get advice from previous participants and think about budgeting money. Go in with an open mind and have an amazing time. Most important, go with your gut as to what program is the best fit for you and open yourself up to the experience.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Galway? Email Abigail at firstname.lastname@example.org.