Nathaniel is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland
Minor: Secondary Education
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I decided to study abroad after hearing stories from friends and family about their own study abroad experiences. Upon enrollment at St. John's University, I initially had no intention of studying abroad. However, after spending a great deal of time here on campus, I decided that an opportunity for a change of pace would be welcomed. I decided on Galway almost immediately after that. The decision was simple for me - I had always loved Ireland and its culture, and the close-knit nature of the participants was wonderfully appealing.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
It is no easy feat to choose one experience out of the many beautiful moments that took place throughout the semester. As I ponder the question, a memory of sitting down to lunch with an Irish professor and our Irish bus driver jumps out at me. I recall feeling completely astonished at the personal stories these men told about their experiences in Ireland, and I was floored by the number of people whom both of these men somehow knew and shared stories about. Observing this cultural phenomenon helped me understand how small Ireland truly is and how friendly and willing its people are.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Quite simply life-changing. I came back from Ireland a new person. I managed to alter desires and habits that I did not appreciate about myself while abroad, and made friendships that I am absolutely certain will stand the test of time. I feel wildly blessed to have seen the things I have seen, and to have met the people that I met, both Irish and not.
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?
It is cliche to say, but there is no better way to stretch your comfort zone than by traveling abroad. You learn how to market yourself to a completely different culture, as well as navigate new environments on your own or with groups. This serves my personal, academic, and professional goals, as feeling comfortable with diverse people is an invaluable life skill.
What advice can you offer for CSB|SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
I can suggest ways to improve and increase what they will take away from the trip, as well as things to avoid. I can offer advice for thriving in a unique culture. I personally had minor financial stress on my trip, so I can help students with the real costs of Ireland.