What I learned about myself and others in Ireland

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Studying abroad halfway across the world taught me lessons in empathy I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

UI Alumna Elle Wignall reflects on her study abroad experience in Ireland

Sunday, January 21, 2018
Elle Wignall (B.A. English ’13) studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland, as an undergraduate student at the University of Iowa. After graduation, she returned to Ireland for a nanny position in Cork, Ireland, before returning to Iowa to work as a business communications consultant at Wells Fargo in Des Moines. Below, Wignall reflects on the importance of studying abroad and the long-lasting impact it has had on her life and career.

Rites of passage

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Bray is a quaint, compact town south of Dublin. It has a nice combination of friendly community, a freshness in the air that can only mean you’re a step away from the sea, and a darling view of Bray Head. But it’s also the home of a very special gallery called Signal Arts, where I’m interning this summer.

No syllabus week, no problem!

Friday, June 9, 2017
What would we Iowa students do without our precious syllabus week? It is the only week out of the semester where we are nurtured back into the swing of attending classes. For those students who choose to take classes during a winter or summer term, syllabus week is a false promised land. My first week at University College Dublin was still nurturing even without a full syllabus week. Here are some of the biggest lessons I learned coming into a summer program abroad without having a full week to adjust.

Long live the confident and the brave

Friday, June 9, 2017
It hasn’t even been a week here in Dublin and I already feel… to be honest I don’t know how I feel. Contempt, scared, badass? Does the feeling really matter though? Everyone who goes abroad for the first time goes through a mixture of emotions that has us all reeling on our heels, grasping for holding points. For me, this trip is about pushing against the boundaries of my comfort zone, which are about as widespread as jail cell bars. This is the point in the trip where orientation has happened, I’ve explored the city with my 16 great new classmates, and I’ve gotten my bearings.


Friday, June 9, 2017
There are firsts for everything. Whether that's a first day of college, of being away from home, of feeling at home, there's always a time you can pinpoint these moments in your life that change you. Over the next six weeks or so, I'll be experiencing an entire novella of these kinds of moments.

Finding the beauty in nature

Thursday, December 1, 2016
“Masterpieces of art can translate nature for us.” Though originally stated by Dr. Drew Harvell, a marine biologist and professor at Cornell University, these are the words which served as inspiration for Stanley awardee Jacquelyn Whitman, who recently utilized sculpture and ecology in her research to illustrate the anthropogenic effects humans are having on the environment.

Ireland, Study Abroad Blog Post

Monday, October 10, 2016
Hello everyone! Greetings from mystical Ireland—a land steeped in tradition and natural wonders, with Subway restaurants around every corner.

Student Reflections on First-Generation Abroad: Ireland

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
My name is Kelsey O’Donnell and I am a fourth year student double majoring in International Studies and Anthropology. For my entire third year, I had the amazing opportunity to study abroad in Cork, Ireland. As a first-generation college student, my sisters and I are the first of our family to attend university, while I am the first of my family to travel abroad. As indicated by my choice in majors, I have always enjoyed learning about other cultures and traveling. As a first year student at Iowa, I was bombarded with information about events and opportunities.

UI alumna awarded Global Grant scholarship to Dublin

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Kristina McLaughlin (B.S. political science and B.A. economics ’11), native of Marion, Iowa, is the winner of a Rotary Global Grant scholarship to Dublin.  

Exploring the Irish Countryside

Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The majority of tourists heading to Ireland make the huge mistake of only going to Dublin. I have heard people say that they have “truly experienced” Ireland when they never even set foot out of the capital city.

Home is where you make it

Friday, March 25, 2016
How do you get to the point where you can call a place your home? I believe one of the factors is finding your favorite spots around the city. Cork is home to around 120,000 people, but it does not feel like it. It was not hard to be able to carve out a home for myself in this new place. One of the best things about moving to a new place is being able to explore it. It is very easy to walk or bike all over Cork. As I reflect on all the great things about my time abroad, I can’t help but think about the places that I will miss the most.