As a senior, studying abroad for a semester did not seem like a realistic option if I wanted to graduate on time and in good standing. However, I could not have been more wrong. Studying abroad through the ILR-UCD program in Ireland was one of the best decisions I made during my four years at Cornell and I would strongly encourage that all ILR students look into participating in it during their college career.
When I first decided to look into the ILR-UCD program I was off-campus on a credit internship. At first I thought the process would be difficult, but Brigid Beachler and Miguelina Tabar (the program directors) made the application and planning process extremely quick and easy while always keeping me in the loop on new updates and meetings. When I arrived in Ireland, the first thing I was able to do was travel around the county with my family before classes started. I found that the people there were very warm and accepting and truly made my semester an awesome experience. I chose to live off-campus near the city-center of Dublin which proved to be a great decision. I was in an apartment complex with a mixture of local Irish students and other studying abroad students from universities like Georgetown, Temple, and Richmond. It was this combination that allowed me to make friends easily and being located near the city-centre meant that every weekend was a new adventure being engulfed in the Irish culture.
The UCD classes were a great way to combine what I had been learning in ILR and apply it globally through classes that took the ILR curriculum and put it into European terms. The professors all had a different style of teaching which students had to get used to, but were always very open to helping us out and ensuring that our study abroad experience was a success. Field trips, midterms, and assignments ensured that we kept up with the material, but still had the flexibility to soak in all that studying abroad offers. I was able to travel to Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels on weekends which were incredible experiences that I will take with me forever. Returning back to Cornell for my final semester before I graduate now has given me awesome stories and experiences to share and life-time friends that were brought together by the program. I also have a new ways of learning and the appreciation and ability to broaden my learning on a wider, global context.
- Alex Gonzales, UCD Fall 2012