Gregory Wieland is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
I got to know Rory O'Conner, an Irishman who was the Hackney driver connected the the CSBSJU Galway program. I often visited his house and he taught me a lot about what it means to be Irish. As his family history is right along the lines of many people from Galway, he was a great example of a native Irishman. With my time there, we formed a lasting relationship, and we still keep in contact now that I am home.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I wanted to study abroad in order to experience something totally unique to what I was used to. I wanted to learn about other cultures and gain as much worldly experience as I could. I also wanted the experience of actually living in a different culture for an extended period of time. I chose the Galway program because I have always been interested in Irish culture. I also visited Ireland one time before for a short time and fell in love with it.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
It was a life changing experience. I truly got to know the Irish culture, and I had the most fun of my life. I consider it the best decision of my educational career, and I would not take it back for anything. Through it, I have learned so much, not just about other people and cultures, but also about myself. It helped me to learn more about myself, and provided me with the experience to communicate and interact with different cultures.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
I am definitely more understanding of why people from different cultures act the way they do and how where someone is from changes the way they think. I think I am also more open to different types of people and different activities that I would not have given a second thought to before my trip. Overall I think it has made me a more worldly experienced, understanding person.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Do everything you can do, and get as immersed in the foreign culture that you are in as you can. Talk to as many people from that foreign culture as you can, and explore everything that you can fit into your busy schedule.