Abbey is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
Since high school, I knew I wanted to travel during my time in college. It is a great time to do so because we are not tied down with a career or family. I have an on campus job working at the CSB Phonathon and during my first year of calling I constantly heard from alums that I "have to study abroad." Almost every alum was excited to tell about her experience and those that did not study abroad wished they would have. Talking to these successful Bennies excited me to learn more about our study abroad opportunities. I talked with student who went on past trips and from hearing about their experiences, I knew the Galway, Ireland program was best for me. It's the most rural and rugged, which I absolutely enjoyed since I'm a lover of the outdoors.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
As a nutrition major and "foodie," I get a better understanding of cultures through national cuisine. One of my favorite aspects of the trip was the cooking classes with Geraldine Foyle, the cook at the Park Lodge. Through the cooking classes, we learned that the Irish live simply, use what they have, and have a connection to their food sources. Most of the produce sold in the grocery stores is grown and raised in Ireland. It was comforting to go to a restaurant and know that my meal was locally produced. This gives the Irish a sense of pride and accomplishment. I enjoyed eating the local cuisine of fish and seafood. A few of us from the group arranged to go deep sea fishing on Galway Bay, one of the best fishing spots in Europe. It was my favorite day spent in Ireland and we caught lots of fish, even baby sharks!
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I have no regrets about my choice to study in Galway, Ireland! It was the best option for me because we lived in a rural part of Ireland but got to travel to various cities on the weekends. The Irish are very hospitable and sociable people. They made us Americans feel welcome where ever we went. This made me proud to be a part of the Bennie/Johnnie legacy we have in Spiddal, Ireland. They village people are aware of our coming and welcome us into the community. We are even on their Wikipedia page! One advantage you have on the Galway program is that you have the opportunity to travel almost every weekend. The excursions were my favorite part and they are what set this program apart from the others. There are 32 counties in Ireland and I'm proud to say we traveled through all of them!
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?
In retrospect, I feel very refreshed and ready to take on the last three semesters of my college career. I feel a special bond with other students that have studied abroad because we have experienced something spectacular known to only to us. I have acquired a global awareness that has helped me understand new cultures better. The knowledge I gained abroad will be to my advantage when applying to internships and careers, as the workplace is becoming more cultured and diverse.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
When making plans to study abroad the financial aspect may seem difficult. I can assure you that every penny spent is well worth it! There is no other opportunity to study and live in a new country with other students like the one you have now. Studying for a semester may seem like a long time to be away from family and friends, but you will be having the time of your life and everybody knows time flies when you're having fun! Don't worry about applying with friends you already know because being apart of this program, you will gain many new close friendships. Get the most out of your trip by being the instigator, the one who wants to see and do everything.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Galway? Email Abbey at firstname.lastname@example.org