Courtney participated in a one month long study abroad program known as Carlow Cares in Ireland. In this program, she assisted students on the autism spectrum ranging from ages thirteen to eighteen in a school centered primarily around children with various disabilities. This experiential learning experience prompted Courtney to challenge herself in ways that she never thought were possible, by doing things such as learning the Irish disabilities sign language known as Lamh. Doing so allowed her to communicate to children in the school who were non-verbal. She also had to develop a change of character and become assertive so that she could earn the trust of the children she assisted. She fell in love with the children she taught, and they solidified her passion for helping children with disabilities. On the other hand, Courtney had to challenge herself physically during her travels throughout the country of Ireland. She hiked mountains, walked for hours and hours, and climbed big rocks that proved to be sharp and quite intimidating. She has always had a difficult time with physical activity, but after she did those things she felt unstoppable and is now seeking a healthier and more adventurous lifestyle. She explored famous landmarks such as the Cliffs of Moher, Saint Bridget’s Well, and Bunratty Castle. At Bunratty Castle, Courtney was amazed by the folk town and authentic feeling of being sent back in time. She felt as if she was living in a fairytale while in Ireland because everywhere she went was enchanting and unbelievable. Courtney was inspired by the people of Ireland to remain a selfless and kind individual because their kindness towards her when she was in an unfamiliar place confirmed how much kindness impacts peoples’ lives. The people of Ireland were genuine and made Ireland feel like a second home to her. Overall, Courtney’s study abroad experience was enlightening and rewarding in a way that has changed her life significantly. She could not be more grateful for the unforgettable experiences she had in a months’ time in Ireland. She he will carry out the valuable knowledge she has obtained and apply her newfound cultural competency and leadership skills to her work in the psychology field
CEE Title: You See What You Say: Exploring Language Internationally
My group’s CEE “You See What You Say: Exploring Language Internationally” aimed to increase the cultural competency of attendants by sharing our experiences with language while studying abroad. We also expressed that embracing vulnerabilities is a component of international experiences. Our evening consisted of a cultural performance of a traditional Indian dance that allowed participants to embrace their vulnerabilities while attempting to learn something foreign to them. We also incorporated conversation about each of our individual experiences to educate our visitors about the countries in which we were immersed in. The conversations revolved around four groups rotating in increments of fifteen minutes. Within those fifteen minutes, each member informed the groups about the countries that we studied abroad in. Furthermore, we spoke about language, vulnerability, and our personal experiences that participants may find interesting. We also allowed participants to ask us questions about each respective country, which allowed them to learn content that we did not cover. Our hope was to inspire students to study abroad, and for everyone to consider increasing their cultural competency. Furthermore, we hoped to make the participants feel as if they were immersed into the countries that we studied abroad in through our presentations. The result of our CEE was the excitement of our participants and our group alike. It was quite successful, and we reached the goals that we sought out to achieve.