Elizabeth is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Ireland-Cork
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose the Cork, Ireland study abroad program because I have always wanted to visit Ireland and immerse myself in the culture. This program directly enrolls CSBSJU students into University College Cork which means you get to join Irish students in their classes and interact with them on a daily basis. Ireland is a beautiful country and with part of my heritage being Irish, I wanted to learn more about their traditions in order to learn more about myself.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The most impactful cultural experience I had while studying abroad was when I visited Belfast in Northern Ireland. We learned all about the divisions between Catholics and Protestants and saw the walls that have divided the city for decades. There was a specific wall that was called the Peace Wall. It had written words of peace and love from people all over the world in many different languages. We were all able to write our own words of hope and continue the tradition that has been going on for years. Seeing such a powerful display of unity has made a big impression on me and I try to carry it with me everyday.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I enjoyed my time in Ireland immensely. I was able to experience so much of the culture and people. I learned how to play Gaelic football, Ceili dance, and see many beautiful landscapes and castles. I was able to take a classes a Irish Archaeology and Irish History that taught me so much about the culture and basis of current traditions. Ireland is an amazing country and the people are even more so. I definitely plan on visiting again soon.
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 really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and taught me to be independent. I was a unsure of how I would handle making my own travel plans and adjusting to other cultures, but after traveling to several countries I feel more comfortable and am able to enjoy the experience to its fullest. Being able to visit different countries and cultures has been very beneficial for me and opened my mind to new places I want to visit in the future.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I suggest you research the country you want to study abroad in. Knowing more about the current events and environment you are going to be in is very beneficial. You will be better prepared for the culture and types of people you are going to encounter.