Maddie Hansen - 2014 Program Participant

Students learning to play Hurling at Causey Farm in Ireland

Maddie with a couple of friends learning how to play Hurling at Causey Farm

Why did you choose to study abroad?

Typically, I’m not adventurous or brave enough to go out of my comfort zone. With that said, I am both surprised and proud of myself for taking on this life-changing challenge! I chose to study abroad because it was the perfect opportunity to travel. Life gets hectic quickly, so being able to travel while continuing my education seemed like the ideal time to explore the world.

My study abroad experience allowed me to take courses that mimicked my curriculum at my home university, Purdue. Therefore, studying abroad in Ireland did not hinder my academic progression, which is a factor that I greatly took into consideration.

What were your housing arrangements like in Dublin?

I was in student apartment housing (Shanowen Square), which was located about a block or two away from the university. My flatmates were a combination of other international students and host-university students. For my situation, I shared an apartment with three Irish students and an international student from California. The housing was great because I had the opportunity to befriend people from all over the world, which I have maintained those relationships to this day. Plus, we all had our own bedrooms/bathrooms with a common kitchen/living room area, which was really nice.

What was the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?

As a whole, my most memorable experience was traveling to multiple countries. That feeling of being able to visit different countries and interact with their culture is a feeling that I most likely won’t be able to duplicate. People ask always ask me if I had a favorite place to travel. Every time, I reply with the same answer: I can’t decide! There is a piece of each country that I fell in love with. I was extremely grateful to have had that opportunity. 

Visiting the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland

Maddie at the Cliffs of Moher

How has studying abroad in Ireland changed the way you see the world?

This experience has made me more aware of the world around me. The world is a place filled with beauty and excitement that’s just waiting to be explored. Studying abroad made me aware of the variety of culture all over the world, and I grew to appreciate the diversity.

It also made me more confident and adventurous. Being away from home in a completely different country is never easy. However, I was able to overcome that challenge and excel. Therefore, my confidence with taking on challenges has definitely increased with every aspect of my life.

Would you recommend IES Abroad to other prospective study abroad students?

Absolutely! IES Abroad made my study abroad experience easier and less stressful. Anyone in the program is always willing to help you with any questions or concerns. IES Abroad offers a lot of financial aid, making my studying abroad experience attainable. They also had an IES Abroad Center in my host-city, which was extremely convenient. If we had any issues at all, we were able to go to the center and obtain any help needed. This was great, considering the fact that traveling to Ireland was my first time out of the country on my own. Plus, they made it fun by offering field trips that were very organized and a ton of fun.

Hiking in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland

Maddie at the Wicklow Mountains

What important tips can you give to future participants of the Dublin program?

The best advice I have is to plan ahead and set a budget. Plan everything: trips, transportation, cell phone expenses, souvenir shopping, grocery shopping, etc. It will definitely make your experience less stressful, and your trips way more fun! Speaking of trips…my next advice is to take advantage of the reasonable prices for traveling. There is so much to see; it would be unfortunate for anyone to miss out on such an opportunity.