From the start of my Cornell career, I knew I wanted to study abroad. However, it was not until I arrived in Ireland that I fully understood the implications of my decision. Unlike my schooling in the United States, I was gaining knowledge through experience, whether it was in the classroom, on the streets, or through traveling. I was constantly learning in Ireland. At UCD, we did not just discuss ideas. We experienced them. For instance, in my Irish history class, we discussed the hunger strikes in North Ireland, then we had the chance to meet a hunger striker. An honest, passionate account of a man’s experience fighting for a cause he believed in. That hour-long conversation was more powerful than any other experience I have had in a classroom. It was a living history told straight from the source—a once in a lifetime experience.
In my Knowledge, Innovation, and Creativity class at UCD, I worked in a cross-cultural group to solve a problem with the education system. We had one student from Canada, two students from France, and another American student. The diversity of our backgrounds allowed us to think outside of the box when brainstorming our solution. My teammates are people I still keep in touch with today. During our project, they taught me invaluable skills about working in a cross-cultural group. As a person interested in International Business and Law, I will continue to draw upon those skills in my future career. If there is one thing UCD reinforced for me, it is my desire to pursue an international career.
When I reflect on my experience in Dublin, I become nostalgic for the little things –the runs from campus to the beach, shopping on Grafton Street, the Dublin double decker bus, and the interesting conversations with Irish cab drivers. Almost a year later, I still think about Ireland almost every day. It left an impression on me, as I am sure it will leave an impression on you. I have to say the country stole a little piece of my heart, and in return it gave me the gift of the gab.