Cathryn is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Ever since I was young, I wanted to see the world. Coming to CSB/SJU and learning about what great study abroad programs they had, I knew it was my chance to get to see some of the world. It was an easy choice for me to decide to study abroad. I knew the area I really wanted to go to was Europe. I was also looking for a country that spoke English and that is when I came across the Cork program. I was drawn to the fact that there was no director, it was a small group and that we were fully immersed in the university in Cork. All of these things stood out to me.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
On St. Patrick's Day, our group went to the parade in Cork. I stood next to an older couple and we talked throughout the whole parade. They told me all about their lives and asked about mine. They told me a lot about Cork that I would not have been able to learn without talking to locals. They were such a nice couple and it really made the holiday all that more special.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It is hard to put into words how great my experience was. I would not trade my experience for anything. Being home for a while really made me realize how much I loved it in Cork and everyone in my group. I could really see myself living in Ireland at some point in my life. Life is so much easier there than in America. The Irish people are extremely welcoming which made the transition so much easier. Traveling to different countries in Europe only made me love my study abroad experience even more.
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 learned so much about myself while studying abroad. I learned to be more independent and more outgoing. I made so many new friends that I would have never met if I did not go to Cork. Traveling throughout Europe made me more conscious and appreciative of the rest of the world. Being gone for a semester also made me more appreciative of America. Since the Cork program is fully immersed in the university, I had a new perspective on academics. The Irish do college way different than CSB/SJU and it was interesting to see how two different institutions can both be very successful. All of these things I have learned while abroad for a semester, will hopefully give me a leg up in my future professional endeavors.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The advice I can give is to do it! It was an amazing experience and it makes college that much better. Start saving up early so you aren't too stressed out about money once you are abroad. It may seem like a big step now, but it is a life changing experience.