Anne-Marie is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad because I was looking for a new and exciting adventure in my life. I had very limited international travel experience and figured that studying abroad would be a once in a life time opportunity to spend an extended amount of time in a country and culture different than my own.
I chose the Galway program for a variety of reasons. One was the unbelievable stories and reviews from my friends who had previously went on the program. Upon return, I know they were exactly right. Another was the numerous group excursions that were built into the trip. Although it seemed a little overwhelming at first, the excursions turned out to be one of my favorite aspects of the program. We got to see so much of the beauty and history of Ireland.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
Jacqui, the archeology professor, led our excursion to Derry, Northern Ireland. Jacqui had first hand experience growing up in The Troubles and it was very interesting to hear her account of what happened. When she took us through the streets of Derry on a tour it was a very somber and powerful experience. Also the Free Derry Museum, which primarily focused on the events of Bloody Sunday, was very moving. The raw history and division is still very much prevalent in the area and it was incredible to see the history that we had been learning about in class.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I can honestly say that studying abroad in Galway was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The multiple excursions that are built into the program allowed me to see much more of Ireland than I could ever have done on independent travel. The Irish people are so hospitable, hilarious, and friendly and made me feel at home the second I walked off the plane. The Foyles, the owners of the Park Lodge Hotel, Rory, the professors, and my 29 fellow bennies and johnnies all became a part of my big Irish family. I have some of the best memories and friendships of my life from my time spent in Ireland and look forward to going back to visit in the future.
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 gives you a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience a culture different from your own and expand your worldview. Studying abroad has taught me to be more decisive, independent, and has given me a willingness to experience new things. I will take the unbelievable hospitality that the Foyles and many others gave me while abroad and translate it into being more welcoming back home in the United States. Academically, studying abroad forces you to be more of an independent learner and allows you to study curriculum and classes you might not have had the opportunity to take elsewhere. Finally, studying abroad gives you the opportunity to develop relationships with people of many cultures that can give you an edge in future professions.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?If your schedule allows, JUST DO IT! You will not regret it. Take a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend 4 months in another country. Although I know it seems like a long time away from home, trust me it goes by quick. CSB/SJU has a study abroad program like nowhere else. If you do choose to go abroad, just enjoy yourself and be willing to try new things! Live in the moment because you really won't appreciate how amazing it is until you are back to reality in the United States.