Aubrey Walter '21
Program: Ireland-Dublin Spring Semester
Major: Global Business Leadership
Minor: Environmental Studies
Why did you choose to study/intern abroad and how did you decide on this program?
The opportunity to study abroad while in college was something I had been looking forward to since graduating high school. Coming from a predominantly white and more rural area of the US, I hadn't had many opportunities to interact with other cultures and ways of life. I also hadn't travelled out of the US before my study abroad experience. I was looking to expand my worldview and my understanding of how other countries operated differently from the life I was accustomed to in the US. As an entrepreneurial and business-oriented student, I wanted to choose a study abroad program in a bustling city with lots of business growth. I was also very drawn to the internship aspect of the Dublin study abroad program, which would allow me to broaden my understanding of work in another culture and develop relationships with local people through my placement.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your program that made a lasting impression.
While our group was on our excursion to the west of Ireland, we spent time in the small and lively town of Galway. One afternoon in Galway, we stopped into a pub, grabbed a Guinness from the bartender, and found a spot in the back on wooden barstools amongst chatting couples and older men. Not long after we had sat down and taken our first glorious sip of our beer, two men next to us introduced themselves, shook our hands, and asked us what brought us to Galway. We had a lengthy conversation with these two, who were both Galway locals. This simple interaction has stuck with me as a reminder of just how friendly and welcoming everyone in Ireland was, and how accepting this culture was of us.
Describe your overall study/internship abroad experience.
So much of my study abroad experience in Dublin was a learning experience, stretching me to think and explore and broaden my understanding of the world. I met students studying abroad with our CSB+SJU group from other schools in the US and made friends with students from France and Germany. I learned about the history of Ireland and all that has led it to become the unique country it is today. I explored parts of Europe and experienced the widely-available public transportation system. I grew so much individually throughout my study abroad semester and will never forget this experience!
Based on your experiences abroad, what are some of the benefits of spending a semester or short term abroad? How has studying/interning abroad contributed to your personal, academic, and professional development?
Personally, my study abroad semester allowed me to harness my independence and make a lot of decisions for myself. Planning weekend travel, budgeting my money, and making the effort to connect with others were all choices that I had to make myself. My semester also forced me out of my comfort zone in interacting with another culture and helped me broaden my worldview. Academically, I was able to study at the Dublin Business School, which was attractive to me as a business major. My semester-long internship brought my learning to the next level in engaging in a role and workplace that aligned closely with the sustainability passions and project management interests. This program also helped me explore the 'global' aspect of my Global Business Leadership major here at CSB+SJU. Professionally, my internship experience with ECO-UNESCO, a small environmental nonprofit that provides sustainability training and workshops to youth, contributed greatly to my professional goals. My specific internship role helped me to identify my career interests in the realm of project management, while also allowed me to explore my passion for environmental issues. I also developed a few mentoring relationships with my supervisors and co-workers throughout my internship that I hope to continue to nurture as I begin my career post-graduation.
What advice can you offer for CSB+SJU students who are considering or planning to study/intern abroad?
I am excited to help answer any questions and/or concerns from students considering a study abroad program. Because I had such a positive experience throughout my program, I want other students to feel comfortable, ready, and excited to embark on their experience as well! I can offer advice on traveling in Europe, what to pack, what classes will be like, what to expect during an internship, and any other aspects I can speak on from my experience.