It had been a dream of mine to study in Europe ever since I was a small
child– so when I came to the University of Montana to study English, I was
excited to see that the GLI program I had also signed up for supported students
who wanted to go abroad. I immediately jumped on the opportunity, choosing the
University College Cork in Ireland as my destination.
GLI gave me an interesting perspective on my study abroad experience in
Ireland, because not only was I going to study literature, I also had to take a
few classes that related to my GLI theme of politics and culture. This led me
to taking two interesting classes at UCC, one that was all about the folklore
traditions of Ireland, and another that focused on the blending of politics and
the Irish novel. I also wanted to investigate the Global Challenge of how
political and social division effects a culture long term– something that is
relevant in the country of Ireland due to its history of being colonized by the
British and the subsequent wars with England that followed.
Not only did I have the opportunity to study Irish culture
through both the lens of GLI and the lens of literature, studying abroad gave
me a chance to further my leadership skills. I traveled not only around Ireland
but around Europe alone quite often, and doing o helped me develop more independence
as an adult. At times, it felt as though I was doing my freshman year of school
all over again, as I was dropped in a place where I didn’t know my way around,
what the schooling would be like, or what people I was going to meet. Having a
second chance at that fresh start made me more confident in my abilities to
adapt to new situations—something of which I think has made me a more confident
and capable leader.