Katie is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway
Major: Elementary Education
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The reason that I chose to study abroad is because I have always dreamed of traveling the world, and I wanted to make that dream a reality. I wanted to finally experience different areas of the world that I always read about in school or talked about with people. I needed to get out of my comfort zone and experience an adventure that would help me grow as a person.
What was most appealing to me about the Galway program was living in the countryside of Ireland, the community based environment, and the ability to travel as a group on weekend excursions to other areas of Ireland. The program felt more unique to me.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One afternoon I walked into Spiddal, the town where we lived. I went to the coffee shop to get a cup of coffee. As I sat down at one of the tables, an older Irish man sat down next to me. As we started to have a conversation, he quickly realized that I was not from Ireland and began asking me about America. We chatted for a while, and I got to know a little bit about how he was a farmer in Spiddal, the adventures he had in his lifetime, and he also gave me advice where I should take my parents in Ireland when they visit. After we talked, he stuck out his hand for a handshake and told me that it was great meeting me and that he should go on his way with his afternoon. This is just one example of how friendly the people are in Ireland, and how safe I felt in the community where I lived. Overall, the people in Ireland had a unique charm, and I especially enjoyed getting to know those who lived in our community because they showed such hospitality and warmth which truly made me feel at home.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My study abroad experience was incredible. Our study abroad group became more like a family; we became very close with each other. I was able to see all of Ireland with them, and we created unforgettable memories. I met some of the kindest people in Ireland, such as the family who owns the Park Lodge, the venue where we stayed, along with our professors, and our favorite taxi driver. All of these people made my experience very positive. Not only was I able to travel all around Ireland, but I was able to visit other Bennies and Johnnies on the Roman-Greco and London study abroad programs. This opportunity is a perfect chance to independently travel to see other parts of the world.
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?
Studying abroad contributed to my personal development by discovering new things about myself. I gained independence by traveling on my own or with smaller groups, grocery shopping for myself, and learning how to budget my money. I had to learn how to live with fewer possessions, which contributed to a simple-living lifestyle that helped me learn what truly is essential and not essential to live a happy life. Academics abroad taught me how to appreciate other subjects that I was not normally exposed to, and further emphasized the type of learner I am. I furthered my communication skills, learned how to deal with conflict in an appropriate manner, which contributes to my professional development.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Be adventurous by taking advantage of all the amazing opportunities that come your way when studying abroad. Also, get to know the people who live in your host country and realize that time truly does flash before your eyes; so making the most of each and every day is crucial to this experience.
Do you have have questions about studying abroad in Katie's program? Email Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org