Wyndham is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork
Major: Psychology & Biology
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Studying abroad is always something I new I wanted to do. I wanted to gain the experience of learning about and within another culture, have the opportunity to travel, and be pushed outside the comfort-zone of CSB|SJU. Deciding on the program was the tricky part. As a double major I needed to find a program that allowed me the flexibility I needed to stay on track with my four year plan, thus meaning I needed to find a program that allowed me to open-enroll in a university while abroad, the Ireland-Cork spring program was a perfect fit. The program allowed a great deal of flexibility, allowing me to take classes covering both general liberal arts requirements as well as a couple of classes towards my psychology major.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
For me one of the things I will remember the most about my time at UCC was joining the Choral Society. The group met every Tuesday night and the welcomed me in with open arms. It was so nice to have the opportunity to keep singing as that is something I was involved in at CSB, but more so than that I was a chance for me to meet some incredible people, people who became some of my close friends while at UCC. Choral was more than just a place to sing, it was a place to hang out and get to know people, both in rehearsal and in the social that followed. I felt so blessed that the group welcomed me in and showed me around the campus and the city, invited me to join their Relay for Life team, and made sure I felt at home. I miss the group dearly.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was absolutely INCREDIBLE! Every single person I met was so welcoming, my classes were interesting, I loved the campus and the city, and the chance to explore was once in a lifetime. To be quite honest its rather hard to simplify the whole experience into one paragraph as there were so many different elements of the experience that made it special. The professors were incredible and all so passionate about their work, I joined the Choral Society on campus and became close with a lot of the people in that group, I got the chance to participate in the Relay for Life in support of the Irish Cancer Society a cause I am incredible passionate about, I became close with the group from CSB|SJU with whom I lived, and so much more.
Just walking around the city and UCC's campus there is an incredible energy that made Cork feel like home and I am so incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity to travel and study abroad and experience the beautiful culture of Ireland.
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?
Studying abroad is definitely a learning experience, and more so than just within the classroom. Yes, I grew as a student and I learned what I needed to do to succeed in a different style of classroom, however I also learned a lot about myself as an individual as well. Study abroad forces you to step out of your comfort-zone and form new friendships with people you may have never met had you not been on the same trip, it challenges you to test your navigational and budgeting skills, and it can even put a strain on friendships that you left behind in the states so it forces you to put in the effort to stay connected and maintain these relationships. As a whole I think studying abroad challenges us in a way that helps us grow in the areas that we most need it and helps of realize the things that are really the most important to us in life.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
Go for it! It might be stressful or scary or unnerving at first when you start to plan it or pick a program, but once you find a program that fits with what you need it is an experience that will change your life. Don't be afraid to ask for help either, family and friends are always there and the staff at CSB|SJU are phenomenal and are always willing to help out with getting ready for a trip. I actually wouldn't have ended up on the trip I did if I hadn't made stop in Academic Advising first to make sure I could still graduate in four years, so I am incredibly grateful for their help.
As for the trip itself, you don't need as much stuff as you think you do, don't forget to call your parents, and ask your the ambassadors of your trip questions (they want to talk about their experiences and help make yours great!)