Anna is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I wanted to see more of the world and learn about another culture. I decided to go to Galway because we would live in a rural setting, I would have the opportunity to live and grow closer with other CSB/SJU students, and I would get to learn more about the country my ancestors were from.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Our group went to see a 12th century church which had multiple graves surrounding it. Our theology professor, a monk, reached into one of the graves and pulled out a leg bone! We were all shocked. This is just an example of how far back Ireland's history
goes and how much you are able to see. The United States is a very new country compared to Ireland, and I now have a new appreciation for history.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had the best semester of my life in Ireland. Living in cottages allowed me to grow very close with the Bennies I was living with, and our entire group of 29 students was able to grow quite close as well. We took excursions to different places around Ireland almost every weekend, and this helped me develop an understanding of the history of Ireland and what it is like now. Everyone is nice in Ireland (it is not just a stereotype) and the pace of living is just
very relaxed. I was able to learn more about the country and about myself throughout the semester, and I have made friendships that will last a lifetime.
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 became much more independent while studying abroad, and I think most of the people on our trip did. I was able to travel to Italy, Scotland, and England during breaks and in post-traveling, and this allowed me to learn even more about other cultures. Learning about a culture is one thing, but actually experiencing it is so much
better. Our classes helped me to learn more about the culture of the country I was staying in, and then I got to go experience it firsthand.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Go into the experience with an open mind. I had a lot of stereotypes about Ireland that I didn't even realize I had, but once I got there and experienced the culture, I kept an open mind and allowed my views to change. Also, travel as much as possible. At least in Europe, flights between countries are not expensive at all, and while you are over there, you might as well take advantage of it.