Kyle Richards 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 was one of six people to arrive in Ireland a day early, and the first student from the trip to show up at the park lodge. One of the owners, JP, greeted me at the door, and his accent was so thick he had to repeat each sentence three times before I understood him. Then another owner, Geraldine, served dinner for the six of us that night. She gave us a meal that could have easily fed fifteen. We had to tell her to stop bringing out food because we simply could not eat anymore. I will always remember the Irish peoples hospitality and generosity.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
I felt that studying abroad was an integral part to my college education, especially at SJU where so many people study abroad each year. When I was looking at which program to pick, my entire decision was based on the place that sounded interesting to me, rather than the classes being offered. The Irish culture had always interested me, and the Galway program more than exceeded my expectations.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I have nothing but good things to speak of my study abroad experience. I learned so much about the Irish people, their culture, and all the many other aspects of Ireland. It was a great experience to talk about a place one day in class, and then go see it in person the next day. Not only did we stop at the famous places in Ireland, but we also made stops at places that I would not have thought to go to otherwise. It was a wonderful experience and I am sure it will be for these prospective students as well.
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
I feel that now I have a much greater appreciation for history. Before I went to Ireland I just saw history as yet another class outside my major that I needed to take. My trip to Ireland has definitely changed that perspective. To truly understand the classes or the culture, I first had to get a grasp on the hundreds of years of history that led up to that point, whether it was a history, theology, or literature class.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
First of all keep a budget. It was very easy to get lost in all the conversions, especially when traveling to multiple countries in a very short period of time. Also I would suggest learning to cook. You can only have pasta so many times before you tire of it. Keeping a journal or blog is also a great idea. Looking back I wish I wouldve kept one.