Kathleen is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork, Ireland
Major: History and Political Science
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I have always wanted to study abroad, it was one of the reasons that I choose to attend CSB. I decided to participate in the Cork, Ireland program for two main reasons. First, it gave me the opportunity to be independent and be a student at University College Cork for the semester. Second, as a double major I was able to take an upper division history class so that I could study abroad and still graduate in four years.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Did you know that every year Dingle prides itself for holding the first, earliest, celebration of St. Patrick's Day? I was in Dingle for the holiday with Robyn, one of the other girls from CSB, and was able to participate in their celebration. The day was cold and rainy; nevertheless at 6:00am the entire town gathered near the old hospital to follow the local fife and drum corps on a march through the streets as the sun began to rise. The procession ended at the church where everyone was welcomed and attended mass in Irish. That afternoon the town also held a small parade taking pride in their community. I will never forget the heartwarming feeling of participating in such a special celebration of St. Patrick's Day!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Studying abroad in Cork was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I met a lot of new people and had a lot of new experiences. The Irish are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and are more than willing to talk and share their stories. I think back to the memories I made during my semester abroad and can't wait to go back!
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?
Cork is a unique program in the fact that we were very independent, there is no faculty advisor and we directly enrolled at University College Cork (UCC) for the semester. Studying at UCC opened my eyes to different types of educational systems, all of the classes that I took were purely lecture and the grades rode on one or maybe two tests and papers. I also learned a lot about myself while abroad. During the month of April we didn't have classes so I spend much of that time traveling the rest of Europe on my own, something I never envisioned doing a year ago. Being abroad for an entire semester also allowed me to be fully immersed in the local culture, after traveling for a month in April I felt like I was home upon returning to Cork for finals.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Take advantage of every opportunity that arises, push yourself to meet new people and try new things. Also join a club or society because this is the best way to make new friends from the host country and around the world. Just enjoy your time as it is over before you know it.