Nicole Kirkvold is an Ambassador who studied abroad in Galway.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
A unique experience for me was when we had the opportunity to see Oileán, a play performed in Gaelic at the National Folk Theater. The performers used, singing, dancing, and even traditional instruments such as the bodhrán to express their story. I loved being able to experience the culture in a different way, and even though we could not understand the words that they were saying, we were still able to understand the story.
Why did you choose the program in which you participated?
For me, study abroad was the chance to travel to another part of the world and experience other cultures. I went abroad as a sophomore because I love to try new things and I wanted to prove to myself and others that I could become more independent. I chose the Galway program because I had heard such great stories from people on previous trips, and I loved the idea of forming such a close community with the other students on the trip.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
Studying abroad really is the time of your life! It's a great chance to experience new things and to step out of your comfort zone. Even though there may be some difficult moments, I learned so much about myself and people in another culture, and I would gladly go back any chance I get!
How has the trip affected you? How are you different for having completed the experience?
Studying abroad has influenced me in such a positive way. Since being back, I have had much more independence and feel confident to make difficult decisions. I also had the opportunity to become close with the people on our trip and am thankful for the great friendships I gained.
What advice do you have for future Study Abroad Students?
Enjoy every minute! Be open to new experiences and don't be afraid to try something new, even if others may not want to. Don't worry too much about what is going on back home, it will still be there when you get back, and really surround yourself in the culture while you are there.