During my fall semester of my junior year, I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Northern Ireland through the Irish American Scholars Program. During this time, I lived in Belfast and attended Queens University, Belfast. I took two archaeology courses and one anthropology course, focusing on the study of ancient cultures. During my three and a half months in Belfast, I made many friends, got the opportunity to travel both around Northern Ireland and the wider continent of Europe, and experienced the culture and history of Northern Ireland.
What drew me to Belfast was my interest in the Celtic culture. One of the most important things I took away from the trip was my beginner’s knowledge of this ancient culture, which I hope to study more of as I enter graduate school. The classes offered and opportunities to visit ancient Celtic sites, including Newgrange and Knowth burial mounds, are among my most cherished (academic) memories. The connections I made through the class will, I hope, help me as I do further studies in archaeology. My semester abroad helped me also be able to focus on what I want out of graduate school and create a clear path for my future academic aspirations and career. I determined that in the future, I hope to attend a UK graduate school and study both Museum Studies and the Celtic culture. I intend to pursue research on the ways that museums romanticize the past.
The opportunity to live abroad really helped me get a sense of myself and broaden my horizons. This was, to me, the most important outcome of my time abroad. As my time in Belfast was the first time in my memory that I have lived away from the United States, the sampling of a different lifestyle was thrilling. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belfast and hope to visit again sometime soon.