Alaina Cranston is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Ireland-Cork
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad to become more globally minded and to experience life abroad to help me determine whether or not I wanted to live internationally after I graduate. I decided on the Cork, Ireland study abroad because it allowed me to submerse myself into the Irish culture by attending an Irish University, and it allowed flexibility with choosing different types of courses. This flexibility allowed me to graduate on time while taking courses that are not offered at CSBSJU.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
While going on a run along Sunday Wells road on the upper side of Cork one Sunday, I was stopped by an elderly Irish gentleman. This man began to tell me stories of when he was a young lad in the countryside and how I would love to venture to his hometown so I could go on "more scenic" runs. This experience showed me how friendly most Irish citizens are, and how as a culture they don't seem as rushed as we are in the United States. Usually in the United States if we see that someone is busy we don't bother to stop them however this man saw me running by as an opportunity to exchange stories with a stranger.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My time abroad in Ireland was a wonderful opportunity for me to discover who I was as an individual. When you decide to move to another country for five months, you are unable to depend on your normal support system in the ways that you are used to. Instead, you try to solve problems yourself and through this I was able to prove to myself that I can achieve anything I set my mind to.
During my semester abroad I was able to get to know a great group of people, both from CSBSJU and also from other parts of the world. I was able to create memories that I will be looking back on for the rest of my life, and I have enough random stories to entertain people for days on end. My growth during the five months I was living in Ireland is something that I never would have anticipated when I was sitting at the airport waiting to board the plane to begin my semester abroad.
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester abroad? How has studying abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
You grow so much as a person and you are allowed many different opportunites that you are unable to get by staying at CSBSJU for your entire academic career. Whether you go on an alternative break experience or an entire semester abroad, it can completely change the way you think. During my five months abroad, I was able to learn time and money management more than I even thought possible. This experience will help me professionally by giving me the experience of life in another country, which many people never experience.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
DO IT! Take the plunge. Don't be afraid to committ to a semester abroad, because it will be one of the best choices you have probably made thus far in your life, besides chosing to come to CSBSJU in the first place. You will create lasting relationships, experience personal growth, see what the rest of the world has to offer, and you will never regret the time you spend on your trip.