My name is Kari Kopf I am a double major in Sociology and Communication Studies. And I studied abroad in Northern Ireland. I started thinking about studying abroad before I even decided on a college. I knew that traveling was something that I wanted to do. That’s actualy what pulled me to the University of Minnesota, was the Learning Abroad Center and how many options I would have. It was a really good experience right from the start with the Learning Abroad Center. I came to a First Step Meeting my freshman year and then started looking at programs. Northern Ireland really stuck out to me because I could fulfill my major credits and still stay on my four-year guarantee which was really important to me. I went to a pretty small school over there the University of Ulster Jordanstown. I really got connected with the professors and my other classmates. So it was really an easy transition for me from the U to there because I had such a great academic support system. For some reason Northern Irish students love Americans. It was just really easy to make friends. The professors there allowed for so much exploration within the class itself, a lot of hands-on experience so it wasn’t all theory. Classes here we meet 2-3 times a week if not more. Over in Ireland you met once a week. I lived in an on-campus apartment. I lived with 3 other American students and 1 Irish student. It was a really good learning experience for me because I was able to ask questions and able to live more independently than if I lived here. Looking back on it, I think I would rather have done a homestay. I was nervous at first because I wasn’t sure about the cultural differences, who I would be placed with and what not. Because we all decided to live on campus they gave us a homestay for a weekend. I learned so much about the Irish culture, just being there. They’re just a very calm, laid-back group of people. And they care about each other. It really speaks well for the Irish people that their hospitality is just amazing, beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. I travelled a lot when I was abroad. I got to travel all over Europe which was the coolest thing. I just got tastes of what I want to go back for more. Italy was gorgeous. Going to Amsterdam or Scotland really made me realize how big of a world it is, and how much more I want to travel and explore. It’s really hard for me to put into words how much learning abroad has meant to me, and has changed me and is going to continue to change me.