Semester Abroad (SA): University College Cork, Ireland
Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP): Galápagos Education and Research Alliance, Ecuador
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I spent this past summer abroad in Ecuador, and then went abroad for the fall semester to Ireland. The juxtaposition of two back-to-back abroad experiences in very different regions of the world was interesting for me. I was also fortunate during my time abroad in Ireland to be able to video call into lab meetings for my lab at Penn, and thus continue my involvement.
My Experience Abroad:
During my time in the Galápagos, I designed and implemented a field ecology study investigating invasive plant species. This field experience complemented my biology coursework at Penn. During my semester abroad in Ireland, I took three biology courses which broadened my perspective on biology as an international field.
Experiencing music abroad. Both communities I lived in were very musical, and I loved exploring the live music scene.
Exploring the natural beauty. I lived very close to national parks in both the Galápagos and Ireland. I grew up next to a national park in the United States, so I loved having proximity to the natural beauty of my host countries.
The chance to meet interesting people. In the Galápagos, I lived in a small community and formed friendships with many people who I saw everyday. In Ireland, I joined the track club and met local students that way. Making friends in your host community is a wonderful way to experience a foreign environment from more local eyes.