Jessica Sawyer '20

Program: Ireland-Cork Spring Semester

Major: English

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

Study abroad was part of why I chose to come to St. Ben's so I knew I wanted to study abroad during my four years here, but I decided on the Cork program because of the academic flexibility among other aspects of the program. Because of the opportunity to attend University College Cork, I was most interested in being able to attend a different college which would provide me with all of the resources and opportunities of a regular institution yet abroad.

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

One of my favorite activities while abroad was experiencing Irish traditional music and dancing. As a part of a final for one of the classes that a couple of my roommates took, they performed a couple of Ceili dances at a local pub. It was memorable to experience the blending of traditions as a couple of Bennies were a vital aspect of such a rich Irish tradition.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

Cork was the most formative, culturally rich four months of my life so far. I learned so much about myself, gained some of my best friends, and experienced a country and people that are so invested in their culture and country.

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?

Spending a semester abroad allowed me to grow independently from the typical CSB/SJU environment. Studying abroad helped me to be confident in my ability to ask for help when I need it, allowed me to take courses that I never would have had to opportunity to take at CSB/SJU, and I grew in understanding of how to be a global citizen.

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

Do it, and do it now. There will never be a better time or opportunity like this. There is something for everyone in each study abroad program, so find what works for you and do it.