Marie is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork, Ireland
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I always wanted to study abroad especially after learning about all of the phenomenal programs that CSBSJU has to offer. I decided to spend a semester in Ireland after I learned how unique this program was. I was able to attend the University College Cork, live independently in the city of Cork, and have the opportunity to bond with other CSBSJU students as well as other students from around the world.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
One afternoon early on in my study abroad experience, a few other students and I wanted to go on a walk to find some good ol Irish countryside. We walked and walked, and just kept on walking for hours in hopes of finding some spectacular views. A few hours later and one too many conquered steep hills, we made it. We looked around us and it was the most amazing sight in the world. It was just miles and miles of green fields and rolling hills. In that moment I realized this opportunity that I have in Cork is so rare and special, and that I am so lucky to be here in this city and with these amazing people. The experience to study abroad is life changing and Cork was a place where I was able to learn so much not only about myself and those around me, but also grasp how absolutely wonderful of a place Ireland is.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My semester in Cork was the most amazing experience and exceeded all of my expectations. Though I was able to travel to over 5 countries and see and do some spectacular things during my time abroad, it was the small moments that meant the most to me. Cork was such a wonderful place to live and the Irish were some of the nicest people I have ever met. Striking up conversations with people at pubs, on campus, or even at the grocery store always turned out to be great memories. Whenever I think back on my time in Cork, I catch myself smiling and sometimes even laughing out loud. That's when I know that my experience was a true success.
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?
The Cork program is so unique because it is the most independent. This is true in both the personal and academic sense. There is no CSBSJU advisor that comes along with you, which forced all of us to take charge of our own experience. The classes we took were at UCC, with Irish students and Irish professors, and were mainly lecture based. This was definitely something to get used to but allowed me to become comfortable in a variety of educational environments. The Irish lifestyle is also so different than what we are used to back in the States. After spending time in Ireland, it made me realize the importance of just slowing down and appreciating the time you have with friends and family. During the month of April, we had that entire time to backpack around Europe. Throughout those 30 days, I learned that flexibility, spontaneity, and independence are crucial. I had the time of my life and experienced valuable things that I'll remember for a lifetime.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Our group in Cork always joked around with the phrase YOLO (You only live once) but truer words could not have fit more perfectly with this study abroad experience. Live up every moment. Those five months absolutely fly by, so don't waste a second of it. Take a few risks and step out of your comfort zone, you'll never regret it.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Ireland? Email Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org.