Rochelle Taus Dumdie
Rochelle is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Cork, Ireland
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I chose to study abroad for so many reasons. I had always wanted to live abroad for a longer period of time. I have been to Australia and New Zealand on a school trip for 3 weeks in High School and it completely expanded how I saw the world. I knew that this would amplify that ten times over and I was correct. I chose Cork, Ireland because of its independence. I have always been more independent and I wanted to test myself and get to know myself that much more. I knew this program would allow me to do that. Of course, I have also always wanted to see Ireland and experience their culture.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
As a program through the College Cork, we went to the Ring of Kerry. It was lead by a native of this native speaking area. It was one of the most beautiful places I saw, but we also spent time with the locals. They taught us Gaelic and about the people that live there. They are all feeling the recession and it was powerful to hear them discuss what they are all going through. The most amazing part of the night was learning Ceili dancing; an Irish Step Dancing. The locals danced with us and it felt as if we were getting an insider glimpse of what their culture was really about.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
My experience abroad was one that I would never forget or want to replace for any reason. I had the most amazing time, but I also learned an enormous amount myself; who I am and who I would like to be. I went so many places that I wanted to see, but it only whet my appetite to see so much more. I learned so much about the people that live in those cultures and what it means to think internationally. I had conversations with people that I would never had considered even existing much less thriving. The people I met and the cultures I was ingrained in will stay with me forever.
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?
The benefits of studying abroad are vast but I have seen certain that still affect me. It opens your mind to other circumstances and viewpoints that you would never have to ever consider. To try and mesh with another culture forces you to make internal observations and you get to know yourself and the people you are with so much more than you would otherwise. Professionally, this experience put me in a place that I was able to step back and really think what I want to do with my life. It centered me and put my focus into something that I am really passionate about now. Also, seeing how another college works was very beneficial in knowing I am where I want to be. It made me understand how the European system works. Again, my mind opened to seemingly everything.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
The advice I would give to anyone considering studying abroad would be to find any way possible to do just that. I believe everyone should have experience abroad in any form because it is invaluable to growing as a person. If they are planning on studying abroad, I would say to make the most of the time you have and never pass up an opportunity. It may be generic, but it is incredibly true.
Do you have questions about studying abroad in Ireland? Email Rochelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.