Samantha is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork
Major: Chemistry with a concentration in Chemical Biology
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Since my decision to come to the College of Saint Benedict I have desired to study abroad for a semester. I wanted to have an enriching cultural and uniquely new educational experience. As a science major it was important for my schedule to have the choice of classes to take and even the opportunity to take science courses. I also wanted to take classes with locals and experience the different, more independent, educational system. The Cork program was the perfect fit! I was able to transfer to UCC and take a chemistry course and have all my classes count either towards my major, minor, or common curriculum. I also love the culture and country of Ireland. It is beautiful with many great natural landscapes to explore and plenty of rich history!
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
In the Cork study abroad experience, we all go on a group trip to the Ring of Kerry in County Kerry. It is a beautiful area with national parks, mountains, and opportunities to learn about traditional Irish culture. We had the great opportunity to learn and practice Irish ceili dancing! It was such a fun experience to learn from locals and give it a shot ourselves!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had a wonderful time studying abroad! I enjoyed getting to travel both all over the beautiful country of Ireland and to many places in Europe. I also enjoyed the different independent style of the program and academic environment. I made some great friendships, learned a lot about the world, and also learned a lot about myself in the process.
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?
Spending a semester abroad stretches your thinking, level of independence, and your view of the world as a whole. It allows you to explore a new culture and take a step out of the CSBSJU setting and into a new environment that allows you to grow and be challenged. I grew a lot as an independent thinker and gained much more confidence in myself while abroad. Studying abroad provides a venue in which to gain a whole new view of the world. Being exposed to new cultures and many many different people, you begin to realize how much larger the world is. There are so many people from many walks of life that you will meet when travelling. This new perspective made me more open to all different cultures. It gave me a global perspective on issues that I may not have considered before. It also reminded me that despite people's differences, we are all human. We all can connect in some way or another. In regards to my academic and professional self, the Cork Ireland program allowed me to study some chemistry in another country and take courses in a large university setting. This experience is not available at CSBSJU and so it challenged me to try a different learning style. Overall, my study abroad experience impacted me very positively.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Go for it! The study abroad experiences that I have had in my time at CSBSJU have been some of the greatest experiences of my life. I do suggest to check out all the programs to see which is right for you. Each program is different and offers unique experiences. There are semester programs, ones with internships or research worked in, and others that are shorter, say two weeks or a month. Some have program faculty advisors and some do not. Also do a little research on the country and its culture. See if its a place you would like to immerse yourself in for a good amount of time. All in all, the programs offered at CSBSJU Study abroad are great and whichever one that suits you, I believe will be a great experience!