Catherine Drawdy

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Nutrition BSPH/ Medical Anthropology Minor
Program: UNC Science in Dublin
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Term: Summer 2019


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad because I have always wanted to travel outside of the United States and I knew that this would be a perfect and productive time to do it. Since I am a STEM major, it limits my options on the classes that can be both taken abroad and align with my major. The UNC Science in Dublin program was perfect for me because it knocked out one of my major classes, while also giving me a General Education requirement.


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am more capable than I let myself believe. Initially, I was pretty nervous to go abroad with a bunch of strangers, but once I opened up and got to know the people around me I got really comfortable, really fast. I am glad that I let myself have this opportunity instead of retreating to the safe side of things like I normally would.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I would say that my favorite memory was the first weekend that we were in Ireland. As a group, we went on an IES-coordinated field trip to a place called Causey Farm. We made bread from scratch, saw their animals, and even went bog jumping. That was an interesting experience to say the least...


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Seize every moment to see the city and country that you are in. There is so much to experience around you, especially in a big city like Dublin. I remember feeling exhausted and just wanting to sleep in on the weekend we were planning to see the Blarney stone and castle. Luckily, my friends dragged me along, but I was incredibly thankful that they did because Blarney was one of my favorite things that I saw. It exceeded my expectations in every way and endowed upon me the ‘gift of the gab.’


Would you do it again?
With zero hesitation, yes I would absolutely do it again. The 45 days I spent abroad with my program were life changing. It helped me push myself out of my comfort zone, while also allowing me to reach my potential. I left Ireland with long-lasting friendships, an amazing mentor, and countless memories in the form of pictures that will line my walls for years to come.


How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
I took Biology 202 (Molecular Biology & Genetics) with a UNC faculty member. Abroad, there were only 18 people in my class. Had I taken BIOL202 at UNC, I would have had 200+ students in my lecture hall. With such a small class setting, it allowed me to engage in the material better. I got to know my classmates well and forming study groups was easy because we all lived together. I was also able to get close with our professor, who has given me copious amounts of advice, encouragement, and overall guidance. Overall, taking the class abroad was a lot different than UNC, but it was all different in a good way.


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