I really cannot express enough how amazing it was to study abroad in Galway, Ireland. Everything about this location is beautiful and worthwhile, and out of all the other countries I visited while abroad (The Netherlands, England, Poland and Spain), I can truly say that this is the best spot for study abroad students––especially through CEA, which was a super helpful, comforting and beneficial program for me to go through. Even if you aren't sure where to go, you will seriously not regret your decision to choose Galway. Thomas is the program director for CEA, and he actually lives in Galway. Also, he really does know his stuff and is quite the history buff on Ireland. By choosing to go through CEA, I not only guaranteed that someone would be there to look out for me, but I also got to explore different areas of Ireland with most expenses already paid at the time of travel. (We only had to pay a few times for our meals, but this was not extremely bothersome or anything. I didn't even really care much about this factor once we reached our destinations and got to explore this insanely beautiful country.) Additionally, the people in Ireland are really fun, down-to-earth and friendly. Galway is the perfect college town, and honestly the best area to live in Ireland (from what I've heard and seen from other people, not just myself!). Whenever I was on a flight from a different country to go back to Ireland, I didn't feel any sort of discomfort or sadness, because it always felt like I was just returning to my newfound homeland. Ireland became my life, and I cannot wait to return someday.
I can't believe it has almost been an entire month since I flew back home to the states. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything else. I was also placed in housing that introduced me to some people who I really believe will be my friends for life (both American and Irish!). I cannot thank CEA enough for this experience, nor the people of Ireland for being so warm and welcoming. I would highly recommend this program to all––you will seriously have the time of your life... guaranteed. :)
What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers who decide to go through this program would be to say yes to most things, as long as it's not potentially dangerous nor illegal. What I mean by this is it's going to be extremely beneficial for you to step outside of your comfort zone and explore new areas of yourself, while you explore Ireland or wherever else you may wish to go. Also, don't solely rely on other people to go to the places where you really want to go. As a mobile journalist for CEA, I wrote an article with more helpful advice from my own experience as a female solo traveler. But, seriously, you've got this. And enjoy every moment, because once you return home you will want those memories to hold onto... but also don't put too much pressure onto yourself. You know yourself better than anyone, and by studying abroad you will learn even more about yourself that probably wouldn't have been possible to know before your journey.