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Sophomore Sami Nowlin from Cincinnati wanted to connect with her Irish roots and experience the culture of the land her ancestors came from. She fulfilled her dream through the University of Cincinnati’s study abroad program in Ireland.
By: Maria Roos '13
Nowlin, an electronic media student in College-Conservatory of Music, left Cincinnati Jan. 20, to study at National University of Ireland, Maynooth, a 20-minute bus ride from Dublin. She is currently enrolled in four classes: Acoustics of Music, Traditional Irish Music, Women in the Celtic World and Introduction to Business Management.
Preparing to live in another country is overwhelming, Nowlin says. She had to turn in a lot of paperwork to UC and to ASA(Academic Studies Abroad), an external program Nowlin went through because UC does not offer a program in Ireland that works for her major. This enabled her to study abroad and get credit at UC.
“Packing was also very difficult. It’s hard to think of everything you are going to need for the next five months,” Nowlin says. “In the end, there is only so much preparing you can do. Nothing can really prepare you for the actual thing until you experience it firsthand.”
A typical day at the University of Ireland is similar to home. Maynooth is a small college town, Nowlin says, and she walks to get to places. Most weeknights, students go to a local pub or the pub on campus and have a few pints while enjoying some live music. Weekends are the time to travel and experience Dublin or nearby cities.
“The best thing so far has probably been traveling to London. We went for a weekend and got to see all the sites,” she says. “We saw Wicked on West End, visited Buckingham Palace, saw Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. It was definitely a fun adventure.”
So far, Nowlin describes her experience as “incredible.” Studying in Ireland has changed her, and it has made her appreciative of other cultures, as well as her own. She admits there have been rough days.
“It is hard being thrown into a completely new culture and environment and having to adjust immediately,” she says. “You are forced to grow up very quickly, and you learn a lot about yourself along the way.
Nowlin strongly advises other students to study abroad and experience another culture, even if it is only for a few weeks. “It’s such an incredible experience that you won’t ever have again, so take advantage of it while you can,” she says.
Nowlin returns to Cincinnati June 1. She will no doubt go back to Ireland; it has become her second home, she says.