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Elle Wehner

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Business Administration
Program: Carolina Global Launch, Maynooth University
Location: Maynooth (Dublin), Ireland
Term: Fall 2022


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
Carolina Global Launch is a freshman program that admits students into UNC on the basis they study abroad in one of three chosen locations (Ireland, Scotland, or Spain) their first fall semester. That being said, I did not initially choose this program on purpose. In my application to UNC I selected that I was interested in Carolina Global Launch because I have a passion for travel. I have traveled extensively with my family including living in Australia for a year when I was 14. Studying in a different country and experiencing a new culture interested me. Upon being selected for this program, I ultimately chose to enroll in Carolina Global Launch for these reasons, but also because I wanted to challenge myself to live independently in and successfully navigate a foreign country. I also wanted to make new friends with the other UNC students traveling with me and people from my host country. As a business major, I looked forward to making foreign business connections that could be useful later in my career.


What did you learn about yourself?
My study abroad experience showed me that I can adapt to any situation or scenario thrown at me. I was able to travel around Ireland and Europe by myself, make friends with locals, and connect with my cultural heritage. I became accustomed to using public transportation, grocery shopping and cooking, and navigating new places by myself, which are all things I did not often do before studying abroad. I developed many new life skills that I would’ve never learned in a classroom. These new experiences and skills made me a more independent individual who is more capable of problem solving and dealing with situations on my own.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from Carolina Global Launch was the first night I was in Ireland. In the common area of our accommodation, all 17 of us in the program gathered. One person played songs on his guitar and all of us sang along. We ate dinner together that night and despite being extremely jet lagged, we stayed up until midnight singing. Although this has nothing to do with culturally experiencing Ireland, it helped everyone in our program forge a connection with each other. Our group was extremely close, and we were all friends. During my experience abroad, I created close bonds with people from different backgrounds that I probably wouldn’t have been friends with if we hadn’t been stuck in a foreign country with each other. The friendships I made through studying abroad is one of the most valuable things I took away from this program.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Advice I would give to students studying abroad is to say “yes” and embrace every new experience and opportunity you are given. One of my favorite memories from my time abroad was one I almost didn’t partake it. A few other UNC students were going to go to fort ruins and I almost didn't go. The fort and the views ended up being one of the most beautiful sights I saw in all of Ireland, and I was able to bond closer with the other students who had chosen to go. Some experiences are not going to be planned, and you must force yourself to be spontaneous and jump into situations without knowing the outcome. Some of the best experiences I had abroad were unplanned, and I highly encourage anyone studying abroad to welcome spontaneity and say “yes” to new things.


How do you identify?
Heritage Seeker, Transfer Student