Laura Cerkvenik '21

Program: Ireland-Dublin Spring Semester

Major: Elementary Education


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

I love to travel and I have always wanted to study abroad or live in a different country! I thought that I wasn't going to be able to study abroad with my major and minor at the time. I eventually dropped by minor and decided I would much rather study abroad with my new free space than graduate early. By this time, Dublin was pretty much the only option with space available. I didn't know much about Ireland at all but since I wanted to do this so bad, I decided to go for it! Best decision ever!!!!

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

Having an internship at Special Olympics Ireland in Dublin taught me so much more about the culture and is something I will always remember. I got to know so many co-workers who were some of the nicest people I've ever met. They loved to share things about their culture and country with me!

Describe your overall study/internship abroad experience.    

Although our experience was cut short due to Covid, I wouldn't give it up for a thing. Something I loved about this program was that it was more of an independent program (with no advisor/professor coming with from CSB/SJU), so we were part of a different program (FIE) with other students from around the U.S. This meant I got to make friends with new Bennies and Johnnies, but I also made some life-long friends from around the U.S.!! There are so many awesome things to do in Ireland and I'm so glad I got to spend even just two months there. I made the best memories I could ever imagine. It's crazy to think that I didn't even really "choose" the Dublin program, because I really think it was perfect for me! Now, I just can't wait to go back and finish the rest of my bucket list!

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? 

Throughout my experience abroad, I became so much more independent and confident in myself. I grew a lot as a person by stepping out of my comfort zone. I became more outgoing and made many new friends! My internship was something that was definitely far out of my comfort zone. But I learned SO much and it really helped me grow professionally.

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

One piece of advice I would give is to make a bucket list! There is so much to do in Dublin and all around Ireland. Make a good list and start checking stuff off! Make the most of your time while you are there and step out of your comfort zone often. Ask the FIE staff and the Dubliners (or me!!) for recommendations, they all love to share their favorite spots around town!