Thomas is an ambassador who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you decide on this program?
I knew coming to college that I wanted to travel abroad. After researching the different programs I decided that Ireland (Galway) would be an excellent fit for me. I had always wanted to go to Ireland and the rural setting of the Galway program was very appealing.
Briefly describe a specific cultural experience you had on your trip that made a lasting impression.
The friendships I made with local Irish people were awesome. JP at Park Lodge, and Rory our cab driver especially. I became close with both of them, and I know that we will remain close. They both made my experience in Ireland much more enjoyable than it would've been without them.
Describe your overall study abroad experience.
The material we learned in class was very applicable to our understanding of Irish culture. Anna did an awesome job of providing us with information on Irish history as well as the current culture in Ireland. Each of our professors were awesome and so unique from one another. Our excursions were an absolute blast, and there was never a dull moment. I've never had so much fun in my entire life as I did in Ireland.
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?
While abroad I noticed how well known American news and culture were. It seemed to me that people in other countries are far more knowledgeable about what is going on in America, than Americans are about what is going on abroad. My experience abroad has provided me with a new lens for the way I view the world outside my home country. Learning about Irish history also provides more insight to the way I view American history and current culture. Finally, my time abroad provided various reflective experiences that helped me to focus on where I want to take my career path.
What advice can you offer for CSB/SJU students who are considering or planning to study abroad?
If you are considering studying abroad do so! You won't regret your time or experiences you have in your travels. Also, it is important to choose the abroad program that is the best fit for you. Whether, you are looking for a rural or urban environment, or considering the language barriers, let them influence your decision. Not every program is right for everyone.