BEVERLY, Mass. — Endicott women's cross country rising senior Hannah Mason (Deerfield, N.H.) recently studied abroad in Ireland. Mason, who is a biology & biotechnology major at Endicott, spoke with ECGulls to catch us up to speed on her trip to Dublin.
ECGulls: Give us an overall description of your trip.
I spent this past spring semester studying abroad in Ireland at the University College Dublin (UCD).
ECGulls: Describe your overall study abroad experience.
I was in Ireland for a little more than four months. During this time, I stayed in an on-campus apartment with fellow international students. The UCD campus was roughly 20 minutes outside the busy downtown of Dublin. The University itself is much bigger than Endicott, with approximately 32,000 students.
ECGulls: Why would you recommend studying abroad to other students?
I would definitely recommend studying abroad to anyone, even if you're not completely sure that it's for you. I was hesitant at first, but I loved every experience. I would also recommend studying in Ireland to anyone, as well, because I absolutely loved it there! The landscape, views, history, culture, and people were all amazing and very welcoming. It didn't take long to feel comfortable, and the fact that it was an English speaking country made the transition much easier.
ECGulls: What was the biggest lesson you learned?
I think that the biggest lesson I learned abroad was to be able to be more independent and comfortable in new situations. Before going abroad, I had very limited travel experience. I had never traveled on my own, but throughout my trip, I became much more comfortable with this process as we frequently traveled on buses, trains, and planes. We also traveled to a variety of countries that were not English speaking which really helped us work around the language barriers and fully experience new cultures. I chose not to get an international phone plan while abroad. I only had use of my phone with wifi, making traveling that much more challenging, but also really forced me to be in the moment and find new ways of navigation.
ECGulls: What was your favorite experience?
I think that my favorite experience was getting to travel and explore a variety of different countries. We traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland; Northern Ireland; Paris, France; Venice, Italy; Florence, Italy; Rome, Italy; Amsterdam and Barcelona, Spain. My favorite places were Venice and Barcelona, two very unique and beautiful cities.
ECGulls: Describe the educational side of the program.
During my time abroad, I took a few courses for my biology major, as well as a few elective courses, which focused more on Ireland, their culture, and history. I did find it to be challenging studying abroad as a biology major, mainly because I was one of only a few abroad bio majors studying at UCD. I also found the learning style and process of evaluation to be a little challenging as well, mainly because of how different it was to what I was used to. The majority of my classes did not contain homework and projects, instead, they were graded solely on just a final exam or essay. Although it was a little challenging to study abroad as a biology major, it wasn't impossible and I am so glad that I went!
ECGulls: Were there any funny stories from your trip?
One interesting thing that happened while I was abroad in Ireland was that we had the biggest snowstorm that they have had there in over forty years. We only got roughly five inches of snow, but the whole city and the school campus shut down for five days. With no transportation, we were pretty much stuck in our apartment the whole time. It was pretty cool to see the Irish students reaction to the snow since it is something they never see. They were all outside playing in it, even though there was hardly enough to do much with, but it was enough to put Ireland in a nationwide emergency.
WHY STUDY ABROAD? – (ENDICOTT STUDY ABROAD WEBSITE)
Following the College's philosophy to "learn by doing" through experiential learning, the study abroad program & its international internships prepare students at Endicott for success by offering alternative academic understanding, social & cultural literacy and life-changing experiences. Through semester-long academic study, faculty-led trips, and/or 3-to-15 week internships abroad, students gain new confidence and self-awareness, and obtain the skills necessary for success in today's economy.
"Globalization is here to stay, and students who want to work in our interconnected global world should study or intern abroad.
Despite the inevitable increasing global competition for jobs, American graduates lack the international experience, language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills necessary to succeed in the global economy.
Making education abroad a part of their college education is the most effective and accessible means for students to develop needed skills because it pushes a student to get out of her comfort zone to experience another culture, language, environment and education system. It teaches students to appreciate difference and diversity firsthand and enables them to recognize — and then dismiss — stereotypes they may have held about people they had never met.
Learning how to interact with people from other countries and cultures equips future leaders in all sectors to address urgent issues — from curing diseases and finding energy solutions, to fighting terrorism and hunger — shared across borders."
The Endicott Experience feature aims to highlight the entirety of the student-athletes' experiential learning journey throughout their academic careers. The student-athlete at Endicott is afforded the same opportunities as the general student population at the College as it relates to internships, study abroad, and postgraduate career pursuits. This philosophy mirrors the mission statement of the College which every student is encouraged to take intellectual risks, pursue scholarly and creative interests, contribute to the community, and explore diverse career paths. Read more Endicott Experience features by navigating the links below.
STUDY ABROAD: Studying Abroad as a Student-Athlete at Endicott | James Dwyer Focuses on Opportunities Abroad in Switzerland with Les Roches Global Hospitality | Endicott Student-Athletes Study Abroad in Asia | Holly Erbe Studies Abroad in London, Paris, Amsterdam | Andrea Courtemanche Gains New Perspectives Through Study Abroad Trip | Shelby Elwell Catches Travel Bug From Study Abroad Experiences | Erica Hadad Studies Abroad In Ireland
(Photo Credit - Hannah Mason)