Richard Swanson '19

Program: Ireland-Cork Spring Semester

Major: Political Science

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

I wanted to enrich my life experience by going to another country to learning their culture. The Cork program gave me the best opportunity to really get to know and be embraced by another culture, while also giving me the freedom to explore and grow as a person.

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

Ireland had their worst snowstorm that they had seen in ten years, which shut down the entire country. The night of the snowstorm I went exploring with my roommate, and a group of Irish kids who lived in our apartment area. We spent the night having snowball fights and building snowmen. We are still friends to this day.

Describe your overall study abroad experience.

The Cork program has become the defining accomplishment of my college experience. The friendships I have made through this I will cherish for a lifetime. The freedom that was granted forced me to grow as a person. I am a better man today, and it is all because CSB/SJU gave me this unique opportunity. I now have close friends whom will talk to until the day I die who live in a separate country from me. All this given to me, because I was given a chance to go an unforgettable adventure that I will cherish for my entire life.

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?

What is so amazing and wholly unique about the Cork opportunity is the freedom granted. Everything you take from this experience is earned. I have learned to be a more confident and self-reliant human being for having this experience. This has made me a more tempered and determined student entering into the final year of my education.

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

I would say they MUST choose the Cork program. One of the things that I felt the previous ambassadors from this program didn't emphasize is how amazing Cork is. The Cork program is the ONLY one offered that truly gives you an opportunity to learn and be embraced by the local culture. While the freedom to travel wherever and whenever you want is a plus, the true beauty of the opportunity is getting to truly be a citizen of the city of Cork. The relations that can be made is one that will never be regretted, and will always be thought back on with the biggest smile.