Kathryn Smude: Galway, Ireland

Kathryn Smude study abroad in Ireland Fall 2019
Kathryn Smude study abroad in Ireland Fall 2019

Kathryn Smude

International Studies major
Political Science major
French Studies major

Studying at:
National University of Ireland Galway, NUIG – Fall Semester 2019

Courses at National University of Ireland Galway:
French Literature and Culture 7
European Union: Political Theory and Political Economy
Globalization, Prostitution, and the State
Revisiting Violence: Aggression & Abuse in Contemporary Irish Family & Institutional Life

Most memorable experience:
So far, the most memorable experience for me after three weeks was the second night in Galway. I had just met all three of my roommates and they invited me out of the club with them, which is something I had never done before. I told myself that night I was going to get out and not hide in my room, and I am so glad I stuck to that. It was kind of crazy and most definitely not my scene, but I met so many people and I was able to sit back a little and observe the student culture of Ireland. I probably won't be going back to a club any time soon, but I feel like I have more of an appreciation for the people here, not just the landscape, which is what initially drew me to Ireland. I also visited the Cliffs of Moher, and nothing can prepare you for the wild and astounding beauty of this natural attraction. We picked what had to have been one of the nicest days in September to go, It was so sunny and it felt absolutely freeing to get out of the city for a day. Seriously, what a magical experience! 

Additional Stories:
I just want to say I have the best academic advisors ever! They were so excited for me and have helped me out so much leading up to this experience! So thank you UMD!

Advice for someone considering study abroad:
Definitely take that extra leap of faith to follow through with all the planning, financial and academic, to allow you to be able to spend a semester in another country. When you get there, try to immerse yourself in at least observing the culture. Ask questions. Do things you've never done before. But most importantly, enjoy your new home the way you want to. Do things that you know you'd like because comfort in familiarity can really help you settle in and adapt to the new environment. Lastly, make friends! Always try to make yourself go to events you've been invited to if they seem safe and even remotely up your ally. The worst thing you can do is get somewhere and close yourself off from people around you. We are social creatures, join a club or just go out to a bar or cafe if nothing else. It'll be grand! :)