Kelly Hanlon

Kelly is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Ireland-Galway
Major: Biology

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

I choose to study abroad because I wanted to broaden by horizons and have the opportunity to be a student in a new place/country. I wanted to go somewhere that would keep me on my toes week to week or day to day, have an experience that I wouldn't get if I went abroad again. I choose Galway because it was rural and outdoorsy. Was low maintenance and I liked the idea of having to adjust. Plus, Ireland I beautiful and I wanted to gain something from a place like that.

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

I got the chance to meet some local people and having these connections really helped me see the country in a new way. Travel to places that the CSB/SJU group didn't get to travel too, experience the day to day life of an Irishman not just as an American studying in a new place. Having this opportunity I learned how to be more independent and take a chance on the unknown and finding adventure in a spontaneous way that not every student gets. Plus, I have lifelong connections and friends that aided in my experience.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Most amazing 4 months of my life. I wouldn't change a thing. At the beginning there were some minor details of living that I had t adjust to but that made the experience even better because I had to learn as I went. I really enjoyed my classes and the engaging of what I learned and seeing it first hand on excursions. I couldn't believe all the beauty in such a small country. I really learned so much about myself and the world from my trip and it was truly breathtaking.

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?

I have a different outlook on students in other countries and here in the US. I have become more confident and independent. The communication skills also improved, living in close quarters you learn to communicate really well which I think most young people should experience. I also learned about what the education system is like in Ireland and if I ever wanted to attend school or get a job what I would need to do and how that differs from US.

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

I would say that students should make goals before going abroad, what is the focus of being abroad. Why are you really doing it, and go for it. don't lose site of the goals while abroad, it is easy to stick with the people you traveled there with but get out and meet locals because you won't get a chance like this again. Don't worry so much, I spend time worrying and I wish I hadn't because life isn't over when you get back, it is different but it is always going to be here and there is no need to worry about home or life back here when you are in another country. Have all the fun in the world, because really that is what everyone wants, OEA and parents and advisors want you to get the best experience you can while in country. I kept a journal instead of a blog but write it all down, because you WILL go back and look at it!


Do you have questions about studying abroad in Kelly's program? Email Kelly at