About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: EXSS/Chemistry and Biology
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 and explore countries all over the world, and the chance to get credit for my minor while doing just that made me incredibly excited. I found out about the program during the Study Abroad Fair and selected it because I was able to take an important science course for my minor/pre-med track.
What did you learn about yourself?
During my time abroad, I learned that I am able to feel comfortable and confident even when I am away from my family and friends. I have always been a home-body who feels most happy when I'm around people that I love and feel comfortable around. While on this trip, I was forced to step way out of my comfort zone. I did not know anyone on my program and had never been in a European country, so the amount of new things I experienced was extremely high. But by being forced to open up and experience new things, I discovered that I can find comfort and joy simply by walking on streets unknown to me with strangers I had just met. I found a confidence in myself to be able to thrive in any new situation life may put me in.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
My favorite memory I have from my trip was from our trip to Northern Ireland. The sights were out of this world and the food was amazing, but my favorite part was being able to experience these things with my new friends. I remember all of us laughing while climbing on and around the stones of Giant's Causeway. We were all feeling so much glee even though we were getting drenched by the rain that continued to come and go throughout the day. The happiness I felt while getting to know my new friends by exploring the natural beauty of Northern Ireland is what makes this memory so special to me.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
I would tell future students to get to know everyone in your program as much as you can. I feel such a deep connection to all of the friends I met during my program. There's something about being thrown into a completely new environment together that made us all so happy that we had each other. We shared so many new experiences together and had so much fun doing it. They were my support system throughout the program and I will cherish our memories and friendships for the rest of my life.
Would you do it again?
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at UNC?
The difference in class size and the class experience you have because of it will shock you. At UNC, there would be about 200 students in BIOL 202, but when you take it abroad, there are less than 20 of you interacting with each other and the professor everyday. We all quickly knew each other's names, majors, career goals, and many other things. I loved being able to feel so comfortable answering questions and asking for help. I was able to get to know my professor on a more personal level other than just asking questions about the class. In my opinion, a smaller class size allows for a better learning environment.