Jonathan Zierden

Jonathan is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork

Major: Political Science

Minor: History, Music


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

I decided to go on the Cork trip because of the freedom and convenience with regard to location that it afforded me. Cork was a program with only one planned excursion and with no adviser and this allowed me to forge my own experience and make my own way while abroad. Ireland is a great place from a cultural standpoint as well as a natural beauty standpoint, additional it is in the EU and is therefore a great location from which one can travel to other countries.                           

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

Instead of one specific experience I will instead describe a part of the culture. It may sound crude or stereotypical for me to reference drinking culture as I am a male college student that was in Ireland, however, the pub culture in Ireland is vastly superior to the college drinking culture in the USA. In Ireland one goes to the pub to have a chat and pal around with friends. In the US, binge drinking is the unhealthy norm. It was rather refreshing to be able to go out to a pub with Irish friends and listen to Trad (Irish Traditional Music) with the expectation being centered around having a fun evening, not getting smashed.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

I felt that the overall experience was positive. I enjoyed much and I soaked in as much as I could. I will say that there were lonely moments. But, those were out weighed by the positive relationships and experiences.

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?

From a personal stand point, being abroad taught me a great lesson in self-reliance. Additionally, it renewed my appreciation for my home country and culture. From an academic and professional standpoint my experience served to bolster my confidence while conserving and interacting with those who are different from myself.

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

Weigh the option. You'll miss a lot by being gone for the semester. You'll miss good and you'll miss bad. But, you will also gain much by taking a step outside of comfortable central Minnesota. If you decide to study abroad. Be bold. Be fearless. Don't only make the comfortable choice.