Wendy is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway
Minor: Secondary Education, Theology
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I choose the Ireland-Galway program for several reasons. Freshman year, I was reading The Record, in which an article about the program was written. As I was reading, I knew it was the program I wanted to apply for. After further studying the details of the program, I learned about the rural aspect of cottage life, the extensive group excursions, and ability to form close relationships with professors, the Park Lodge Hotel owners, and my other group members. Additionally, I had always wanted to visit Ireland, and this program was a wonderful opportunity to do so.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
In Northern Ireland, we visited the Free Derry Museum, which depicts the events that unfolded on Bloody Sunday. The discrimination and disgust that was present was heart-breaking and intensely aggravating. It was undeniably an eye-opening experience that made me realize not only how small my world view was, and is, but also how important it is to study, understand, and respect the history and current situations of the entirety of the world.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My experience of Ireland was widespread. Our group reached nearly every corner of the country, and learned an incredible amount about its history. It was incredible to learn from Irish professors, and to hear their personal stories about growing up, especially those who grew up during the time of 'The Troubles'. We were able to meet many people and experience Irish culture in the various cities we traveled to. I was able to travel beyond the borders of Ireland to expand my horizons even slightly more.
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?
My study abroad experience in Ireland was definitely one that has impacted my life. The ability to travel and to be uncomfortable at times, helped me to grow and learn to make decisions to the best of my ability. Studying the history of Ireland expanded my understanding of the world in the sense that history is so much more than what we have learned it to be here in the states. It has inspired me to learn more of the history of other countries and to participate actively in the history that continues to unfold around me.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Be willing to be vulnerable in the sense that you may not always know exactly where you are, who you are talking with, or where you are going. These moments can undeniably lead to some of the most moving and influential experiences and conversations. Absolutely do your best to be PRESENT! You only (at least most of us) get an experience like this once in a lifetime-spend the extra few dollars for a taxi or train ticket, and don't worry too much about the things you can't change at the time. The smallest moments are the most meaningful.