Garrett Hedberg

Garrett is an ambassador who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland
Major: Physics and Pre-Engineering

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

I really wanted a group fell to my study abroad program. I knew going abroad was going to be one of the most difficult things I had ever done, and to get through it I would need to find comfort in the group that was there with me. The Galway program far exceeded any expectations I had going into the Study Abroad process. I knew there would be a strong group structure in Ireland, I mean we lived 20 feet away from the next cottage. I did not expect that the people on my trip would become some of my closest friends back here at CSB/SJU.

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

The role of religion in Ireland really struck me as a unique cultural experience. Never before have I been so immersed in a culture that values religion as more than personal institution. Religion permeates almost all aspects of Irish life, from politics to living situations, and seeing that really made me appreciate the religious liberties that we sometimes take for granted here in the US.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

There is not one word to describe my experience in Galway, nor is there a whole book that could sum up all I experienced. It was amazing, breathtaking, challenging, inspiring, but most of all it was special. Special to me, and special to the group I travelled with. It was our own unique experience that no other study abroad program or previous and future Galway participants can relate to. It was a unique experience that will forever be embedded into my mind.

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?

Being abroad for a semester may seem like a long time, and at times I felt like I was missing out on what my friends were doing back home. Only after I arrived back home did I realize that a semester was way too short, and even though my friends were making experiences back home, I was having my own experiences in a place where some of my friends may never get to go. Study abroad really helped me realize that you must take advantage of the opportunities presented to you and not to take any time for granted.

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

There is no other time in your life where you will get to travel like this, with people who are or who may become some of your best friends. It is an experience like no other. In short, if someone is on the bubble about studying abroad there is only one answer; yes, do it.

Do you have questions about studying abroad in Galway? Email Garrett at