Molly Gersch

Molly is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway

Major: Elementary Education

Minor: Theology


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?

I have many family members who studied abroad and I remember seeing how happy they were and hearing all of their stories. I knew that I wanted to have the same experience that they had. I also knew that this was the only time in my life I'd be able to live in a different country for 4 months easily. I chose Ireland-Galway because I love rural settings. I also love the beautiful Ireland landscapes and how cozy the cottage living arrangements were. Ireland has a peaceful, reflective aura that made it appealing. Ireland also has a rich religious history and that was interesting to me as a Theology minor.                              

Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.

While Abroad, I went to Eucharistic Adoration every Tuesday morning in a little town called, Spiddal, which was a 2 mile walk from our cottages. I met a religious sister there whose name is Maire. We became really good friends. She visited me at my cottage and I had tea with her at the convent. She also taught some of us how to make hedgehogs out of bibles! Going to adoration in a different country was a really cool experience because the church and the tradition was the same even though I was on the other side of the world. It also allowed me to meet people in the community who were passionate about their faith and showed me great hospitality. It was wonderful.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

I had an amazing study abroad experience. I was able to gain independence and feel comfortable making decisions on my own. I was able to travel to seven different countries which helped open my eyes to different cultures and meet a variety of beautiful human beings. Being abroad has its difficulties (being away from home, culture shock, etc.) but there are far more benefits and exciting moments that come with studying abroad that make it so worth it.

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?

Some of the benefits include gaining independence, reflecting on who you are, meeting new people, making life-long friends, and having fun! Studying abroad contributed to my personal development by making me a more decisive person and someone who can handle change. My academic development can be seen through my deepened knowledge of stereotypes, theology, and human interactions. I also aspire to be a teacher and studying abroad gave me many experiences that I can share with my students someday. 

What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?

Do it! You will mostly likely never have the opportunity to live in a different country with people who support you so much ever again. Studying abroad is not as expensive as you think it might be. Look into all programs, look into cost. You will be surprised. You only regret the things you don't do. Studying abroad is such an amazing experience and there is nothing else like it.