Why did you decide to study abroad?
I have always been interested in studying abroad, mainly because I knew it would be such a unique opportunity for traveling. I love my home with all my heart, but there is so much to discover in this world. I realized that there was no better time in my life to explore the world than the present, and no easier way to do this than by studying abroad!
If you could tell someone one reason why they should go, what would you say?
Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience! The people you meet and the memories you make while studying abroad will stick with you for the rest of your life.
What did you accomplish while you were abroad?
My biggest accomplishment was running a marathon in Ireland. I had never run one before, and I decided that marathon training would be a great way to keep in shape and burn off some of the extra pounds I gained sampling plate after plate of amazing foreign foods! Along with this, I managed to learn some of the Irish language (which proved to be quite challenging!) I was also able to visit the Vatican and see the Eiffel tower, both of which I had hoped to do while studying abroad.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to face while studying abroad?
I had never traveled on my own prior to studying abroad, and planning my first trip was a bit overwhelming. However, by the end of my semester abroad I considered myself a professional at navigating airports and subway systems with signs in different languages!
What was the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?
Some of my friends and I went backpacking through the mountains of Ireland. The scenery was unlike anything I had seen before, and we certainly lucked out with the amazing weather!
If you were involved in any clubs or sports at Saint A's, did you feel like you missed out by studying abroad?
I run cross country in the Fall here at Saint A's, which is why I chose to study abroad in the Spring. I missed my teammates, but studying abroad was absolutely worth it.
How did you decide to go where you did?
I knew as soon as I decided to study abroad that I wanted to go to Ireland. I am very proud of my Irish heritage, and there was no place in the world I would rather have studied. I already had family friends in Galway, the city where I was studying, which was very helpful while I was growing accustomed to life in Ireland. Every day I thought it would be impossible for me to love Ireland more than I already did, but time and time again I proved myself wrong!
What was your experience like?
The experience was absolutely amazing! While studying abroad, I didn't just make friends with people from Ireland, I met students from all over the world who were studying abroad too! I traveled all over Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy. I visited friends from Saint A's who were studying abroad, and even had some very devoted friends fly out from America to visit me over spring break! If I had to write down all of the adventures and experiences I had while studying abroad, it would produce a novel that rivaled War and Peace in length, but I can assure you my book would be far more exciting than Tolstoy's! My time abroad was truly one of the most fun experiences of my life!
Did you interact with host country nationals? If so, how often?
I spent a lot of time interacting with the Irish! As a whole, I would say they are one of the friendliest and most welcoming groups of people I have ever met. When an Irish mother invites you over for dinner, expect to be fed until you can't walk! Hospitality is definitely one of the virtues that the Irish embrace, and any time I visited an Irish family they made me feel like I was right at home! They also tend to put far less emphasis on the importance of punctuality than Americans do, which I loved! For the college students in Ireland, life is all about the craic, which is the Irish word for "fun." I was fortunate enough to share an apartment with two Irish guys my age, and their happy-go-lucky approach to life was guaranteed to brighten even the rainiest of days.