During my freshman and sophomore years, as I was trying to plan out my time at Syracuse, I really struggled with whether or not to study abroad. I had made a great group of friends at school and we were all really excited about living together in our first apartment for junior year. I was worried about what I would miss out on if I was away from campus for a semester. Also, there weren’t as many iSchool classes that I could take abroad as some other programs, and I didn’t want to fall behind on my degree requirements. It was important to me to find a way to get the full study abroad experience without missing any time at Syracuse. Soon I discovered, after a visit to the abroad office on campus, that Syracuse offers a wide range of summer programs to students at both their international SU centers and at their world partner institutions.
I found the perfect opportunity in a six-week program at the University College Dublin during the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. UCD is one of Syracuse’s world partner universities. This means that although I took UCD classes with UCD professors, my classes abroad would count for credit when I got back to campus. Often studying abroad at a school unassociated with your home college requires a lot of paperwork and approvals from administration in order to get your credits transferred (and it can be hard to determine which classes your college will actually approve before you sign up for them.) Syracuse’s world partners program however made it really easy for me to transition back to campus in the fall.
Although my major is Information Management and Technology, I also wanted to use my time abroad to learn more about my family’s heritage and culture in Ireland. My advisor directed me to a list of Irish history, language, and tradition classes that were already pre-approved to count towards my liberal arts requirements. I ended up taking an introduction to Gaelic class that was one of the best courses I’ve ever taken. It was so incredible to learn a language native to the country I was in, and to practice while exploring Ireland. Although I traveled to Dublin alone and did not know anyone I was studying with, I was able to quickly adapt to my new environment because of the overall friendliness and acceptance of the Irish students at UCD. I can honestly say that my experience abroad was everything I had hoped it to be and more. I found that when I returned to campus I had a new sense of independence that I wouldn’t have gained had I not taken the risk of moving somewhere brand new for an entire summer. Studying abroad and living in a different culture really helped me get a fresh perspective and gain valuable experiences unlike from anything I have done before.
Syracuse has an abroad program for everyone, no matter when or where they want to study! Start planning your international experience by exploring SU’s study abroad website.