Allison Hafner (‘17), a psychology major at Grove City College, is currently spending a semester abroad at University College Cork in Ireland. Through the GCC Office of International Education and the University Studies Abroad Consortium, Allison is broadening her education across the pond.
1. Why did you decide to study abroad in Ireland?
Ireland was one of those places I had always wanted to visit. I never thought I’d get the opportunity, so when it started to seem like study abroad was an option, it was one of the first I looked into. Everything started to come together and Cork seemed like the best fit.
2. What was the process that you went through to find a study abroad program?
To be honest, I did very little to find the program. I went to the Office of International Education and asked for information about studying abroad. I didn’t think I’d be able afford it and I was mostly looking at estimated costs. They gave me a couple of books that contained programs and the universities they worked with. USAC [University Studies Abroad Consortium] included a program in Ireland that offered major courses I needed so I ran with it.
3. What classes are you taking this semester?
I’m taking 3 major required courses: Therapies, Biological Basis of Behavior, and Cognitive Psychology. Being a foreign student, I also get the opportunity to take cultural classes not available to Irish students. I’m in an introductory Irish history course and an Irish folklore course.
4. What would you consider to be the best parts of living at Cork this semester?
The most obvious answer to that would be to simply see Ireland. The country is stunning. Learning about its history while getting to see the landscapes and castles is so surreal. However, some of the best memories I’ll be taking from this semester are the interactions I’ve had while here. I was welcomed into a church and, even if for a season, made some wonderful friends. Traveling is fun, but sharing the experiences is such a joy.
4. How has your experience living in another country supplemented your education as a Grove City student?
For me, it gave me a chance to be more independent. I was very much on my own, and while challenging at times, it gave me a chance to see where I’m at. My entire grade rests on my finals, which forces me to study and do the reading without anything to hold me accountable during the semester. It was also a good opportunity for me to be intentional with my faith. University College Cork has the nickname “the godless campus.” It’s a very secular school (which is a very different atmosphere from Grove City). If I wanted to grow, I had to make the time and invest.
6. If you were talking to a prospective student thinking about studying abroad, why would you recommend studying abroad through Grove City College?
Studying abroad is unique; you won’t be able to replicate it later on in life. One of the things about Grove City’s study abroad office that I am so thankful for is their flexibility and patience. They are very good at helping find a program, answering questions, and working through difficulties as they arise.
To learn more about the study abroad opportunities provided by Grove City College, visit the Office of International Education.