This post is courtesy of Jillian Adge, ASU Study Abroad alumni. Jillian studied in Dublin, Edinburgh, and London on the faculty-directed program ASU: London, Dublin & Edinburgh Communication during the summer 2016 months. Jillian was also a recipient of the SAO Travel Grant.
What inspired you to study abroad?
I am graduating in December, so this was my last opportunity to have a study abroad experience. I work full time, so going for a semester was not an option. The summer program was the perfect choice for me.
Tell us about the program you went on.
I went on the faculty directed Dublin, Edinburgh and London summer program. It is a total of 6 weeks spread between the three cities. Faculty directed means that we had three professors that went along with us and taught ASU classes to us while abroad. It also incorporates excursions, field trips and scheduled guest speakers. Our faculty had amazing knowledge and helped make the trip so much more enjoyable.
How did you pay for your study abroad experience?
I paid for my program by using scholarships, community funding, financial aid and personal loans.
What was your biggest concern regarding study abroad? How did you overcome it?
Money was my biggest concern going in. The decision to go on abroad was made after I already picked my classes and used my financial aid. I would recommend planning at least a year ahead of time. Looking for scholarships and community funding helped me overcome the issue.
How has your international educational experience impacted your life, academically, professionally, and personally, since returning?
Studying abroad has been one of the best experiences of my life. I work full time in California and am getting ready to graduate in December. I am considering trying to find a job and moving to Scotland. I fell in love with the country and would love to explore it more for a year or two. The trip helped me realize how short life is and how vast the world is. I was a little older than the rest of the group, so it was nice to get away from my everyday routine. The trip has given me more tools socially and professionally.
Describe your favorite memory abroad.
I have been asked this question a lot since returning and I can’t believe how hard it is to answer. If I had to go with one it would be touring the William Wallace memorial in Sterling, Scotland. He is my ancestor, so to be able to experience that place and a country where he had such an impact on the people was such an honor. Being in Scotland I just felt like I was home. Whether it was touring Edinburgh, or traveling to the lochs, the country is simply too beautiful for words. Also, if you are a fan of Game of Thrones like me, then you will love Ireland and Scotland. They film the show there and the tours are amazing.
Describe your future career and how you think your experience abroad has prepared you for that career.
I have worked for the State of California for 8 years and I can see myself staying here in the future if I cannot find a job in Scotland. My experience has helped me since returning to my job in being more patient and continuing to connect with all different types of people. My customer service and communication skills have increased as well. The experience overall was nothing but positive.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad?
Make sure you take time to stop and enjoy the view. I loved that we had so many things planned, but it is also important to stop and just be present. Pay attention to the cultures and the people around you. Be aware of what is going on in different parts of the world. There are so many experiences to be had, but make sure you take time to stop and enjoy it.
What advice would you give to future study abroad participants?
Plan ahead for weekend excursions. There are many things you can plan a couple days in advance for, but if you plan on traveling to different cities or parts of Europe try to plan as soon as possible. It will help with the cost and stress of planning. Pay attention to the history around you. It is really amazing how old these countries are and all they have been through.
If you are a future study abroad participant interested in hearing more about Gabrielle’s experience abroad feel free to contact her at JillAdge@gmail.com.