Hi! My name is Sami Sykes and I spent the last semester in Cork, Ireland! My global theme that I focused on was Public and Global Health. I took classes like Crime and Deviance, and Women’s Prison Systems. These classes took me up close and personal with the Irish prison systems and the way of life for the average Irish inmate. I found the coursework and education system in Irish very intriguing. There was little homework and classes really relied on the discussions that happened in person. I found this more engaging than standard American schooling and I absorbed more information because everything was discussion based.
School, though interesting, was such a small part of my semester abroad. I made friends with so many different individuals from all over the world and most of which I still talk to! I also traveled all across Ireland and immersed myself within the culture from day one. I think the best way to gain experience and knowledge in a new place is to dive head first into the culture. I met people from Ireland, America, Netherlands, Thailand, and more! Not only did I get to experience Irish culture, but because I met so many people from all over, I also got a taste for their cultures as well. I was lucky to become fast friends with another fellow UM student, Christian, and we were able to explore this country together. I’m lucky to have him because he pushed me to leave my comfort zone and broaden my horizons.
Studying abroad is a gift, a life-changing experience, and overall the best time. From seeing twelve different castles to experiencing the Cliffs of Moher, it was the most enlightening experience. The memories you make while abroad will last a lifetime. One blog post won’t do justice for how amazing it is. It truly is something you need to experience for yourself. I’m glad I had this experience because it made me grow as a student, person, and world traveler.