Margaret is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
One of the reasons I decided to study abroad was because my brother was always reflecting on his time abroad and it seemed to have a significant impact on his life. I wanted that too, I wanted to do something that would relate specifically to me--a place I had always wanted to go to. That's why I choose Galway, because growing up in a very Irish family, Irish Dancing since I was a young girl, I've heard nothing but great things about Ireland.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Our group had the unique opportunity to go to see an Irish Dancing event called Trad on the Prom which featured world class dancers who had won worlds several times. I got to meet Claire Greaney afterward, who I had heard of many times and was in the film "Jig". That was one of the most exciting nights!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I had a fantastic experience...I enjoyed staying in the country and being walking to wherever I needed to go. We were able to see so much of Ireland which was fascinating...the country changes so dramatically! Driving through the country is very peaceful and I spent so much time listening to music watching the country go by.
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?
One of the most beneficial parts of spending the semester abroad was being able to meet a new group of people whom I don't think I would have gotten to know had I not gone abroad. I found one of the most rewarding parts about going abroad is that I feel so much more independent. I feel more comfortable traveling alone, speaking to people with accents and making my own decisions on purchases. I enjoyed the academic part of being abroad because everything seemed to relate to what I was interested in in. In my Literature class, we talked about many Irish poets. Professionally, I think I have grown. Of course, being abroad stands out in my resume. But also, I can talk about the identity crisis Ireland is going through and how we tried to make sense of that while we were there, showing that while I was abroad, I tried to look past the stereotypes and learn something new about the country.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I would say you pretty much always pack more than you really need. I should have packed a little less, to allow for some of the things I was going to buy. But I managed to fit it all in and keep it under the weight limit!