O’Neill student Jane Wright reflected with us on her experience during the Ireland study abroad program last summer.
Interested in studying abroad this summer? Applications close January 27.
What attracted you to the Ireland summer program?
WRIGHT: I was especially excited about the Ireland summer program because even though it is a short-term trip, the program involves going to multiple cities and two countries– Ireland and Northern Ireland (the U.K). This was awesome for learning about cultures not only different from the U.S. but for examining cross-cultural dynamics and understanding the nuances of different national identities. This was a core aspect of the course topic of Cross-Cultural Conflict and Dispute Resolution, which I found incredibly fascinating to learn about in the context of The Troubles. I am also part Irish, so I was simply excited to experience the culture!
What advice would you give students who are hesitant about studying abroad?
WRIGHT: It’s totally normal to feel nervous about doing something new like studying abroad, but you will feel especially rewarded because of that! I felt hesitant up to the day I left for Ireland, but part of what I got out of the program was a newfound sense of confidence that comes with doing something intimidating. Also, know that there are O’Neill students who would be happy to talk to you about their study abroad experience and the O’Neill International office can help you with the overwhelming parts like creating your application and the logistics of traveling in a new place!
How has studying abroad benefitted you as a person?
WRIGHT: Studying abroad allowed me to travel outside of the U.S. for the first time and what I gained were unforgettable experiences and friends for life! The experience also helped me academically and professionally, as I was challenged to think about concepts beyond the classroom and beyond the U.S. in a way that helped me improve my critical thinking and problem-solving skills and even focus my academic interests.
What is your favorite memory, story, or experience while studying abroad in Ireland?
WRIGHT: It is impossible for me to name just one favorite! Highlights include hiking to the top of the Sugarloaf mountain, learning Gaelic sports and competing with my classmates, taking pictures with my friends at the Cliffs, having afternoon tea service with the class, running into an actress from Derry Girls in Derry, exploring Derry and Belfast with my roommate each day after class, and every opportunity we had to hear from local experts and connect with people who were excited to share their culture and experiences with us. Every day was so exciting and memorable!
What is a fun fact about yourself?
WRIGHT: I love to learn different dance styles, and my favorite type is swing dancing! I have been swing dancing for almost four years.