Major: Biomedical Engineering
Location: Dublin, Ireland (Trinity College Dublin)
Duration: 5 months (Spring 2013)
Why did you choose to study abroad? What factors (your major, other commitments, Take Five) did you weigh as you were making the decision to study abroad?
I wanted to take advantage of this chance to study in another country because I probably will never have the opportunity again. In my junior year the BME course load really started to pick up and I was in a rut, so I felt that this was the perfect change of pace to explore a new city, make new friends, and study different subjects.
Beyond the academic work, how did you engage with your new “community” and culture while you were away from Rochester?
It’s not easy making friends as a temporary exchange student, so I joined as many clubs as I could. I joined a co-ed choral group with some of my roommates, the women’s soccer team, and the hiking club. I also tried to get out of the house as much as possible to explore the city. The IES Abroad center in Dublin was also a great resource. The advisors were very helpful and friendly, and they had great suggestions for things to do and places to go.
How has your experience studying abroad impacted you?
I do enjoy my studies here at Rochester, but it was refreshing to study subjects other than engineering and science. I learned so much about the history of Dublin and Ireland (Irish people are very patriotic). Most of all I got to meet such a diverse group of people, both students from Trinity and my American friends in the IES program.
What skills, tools, knowledge gained from studying abroad will you draw on now that you are back at Rochester?
The most helpful skill I gained from studying abroad is meeting new people. We were in Ireland for such a short time and we were sort of forced to make friends quickly. It was an excellent experience, and my communication skills and confidence have improved dramatically as a result of my time abroad. Hopefully this will translate into better relationships with colleagues and professors as well as help me to find a job after graduation!
What advice do you have for current students contemplating studying abroad?
I would say that students, especially those in the STEM fields, should really know what they’re getting into before they apply to abroad programs. I’m a BME major trying to meet Pre-Med requirements, which forced me to take upper level chemistry and biology classes at Trinity. These upper level science classes were meant for advanced chemistry and biology students, and were very challenging for me. I’d recommend that students pick a program that fits their needs academically, especially if they need to take classes that will act as equivalents at Rochester. Getting abroad courses to count as equivalent courses here is also difficult, so it would help to do that as early as possible before leaving.
Sum up your study abroad experience in six words:
Broadened my interests, made new friends.