Alumni Spotlight: Ceara Woelfel


Ceara is currently a junior occupational therapy major at Elizabethtown College. She is passionate about traveling and can't wait for her next opportunity to explore the world.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the Semester in Edinburgh program provided by CISabroad on a whim, but I am so happy I did. I had previously visited Ireland and England and was considering a program in Ireland. I decided to branch out a bit and choose a program somewhere different, but still close to two of my favorite countries. The excursions and opportunities offered by this program seemed amazing and pictures of Edinburgh looked beautiful, so I figured, why not?

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

A live information session was held where participants in the program were able to have all of their questions answered. I was also in regular communication with staff of CISabroad and they often checked in to make sure I was completing everything I had to. I had to organize my own flights and complete a 'matriculation' process but I had help, if needed, every step of the way.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Visit as many museums as possible - most of them are free!

Climb Arthur's Seat at least once before you leave - the views of the city are unbeatable.

Pick a new cafe to visit every week - I found so many cute little coffee shops and it's a great way to make your way around the city.

Take as many pictures and videos as you can (while still living in the moment); I find myself missing Edinburgh all the time, but it helps to look back on the photos I took to remember all the beautiful sights I saw and the amazing people I met.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Classes in the U.K. (in my experience) are very different to college classes in the U.S. You can expect to be in class less, with more free time to explore the beautiful city you'll be living in!

On a typical day, I would wake up and ride the bus to class (if i had one that day) and then spend the rest of the day with so many possibilities. Maybe I'd grab coffee with my friends, cook dinner with my flatmates, take a walk down Princes Street or the Royal Mile, or visit one of the great museums the city has to offer.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

The experience of being in an unfamiliar place with no support system was daunting to me. I remembered how nervous I was entering college as a freshman and I was scared to have to go through the process of making new friends and finding my place again. Looking back now, I know I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Somehow everything fell into place so easily and I clicked with the people in my program instantly. It helped that the program director in Edinburgh is so lovely and kind and she makes you feel at home right away.

What are the travel opportunities like from Scotland?

There are so many countries just a few hours flight from Scotland. While I was abroad, I had the opportunity to visit Denmark, England, and Spain, and I have friends who visited Iceland and Ireland as well. Being in Europe puts you at a close distance to so many other amazing places, so travel as much as you can! I kept telling myself I will never have another opportunity like this... a $100 flight to Denmark? Count me in!