Study Abroad: Abby McDulin

Abby McDulin in Ireland

Students in the College of Business and Technology (CBT) are taking advantage of Eastern Kentucky University’s study abroad programs. CBT students are studying abroad through a variety of affiliates and exchange programs.

Following is the next in the Study Abroad Series aimed at sharing students’ life-changing experiences studying abroad through EKU. 

Study Abroad Series: Part Nine – Abby McDulin

Q - What is your major? When is your expected graduation date?

A – My major is Public Relations with a creative concentration, and I am expected to graduate in December of 2015.

Q - Where did you go?

A – I went to Ireland. We landed in Dublin and stayed there for a week. We then traveled up to Northern Ireland to visit Belfast, Coleraine and Bundoran. We then spent a few days back in the Republic of Ireland in Galway. Our last stop was in Shannon, which is also where we departed.

Q - Did you take a course and earn academic credit that transferred back to EKU?

A - Yes I did. I took Ireland: Perspectives on PR, and earned 3 credit hours through EKU.

Q - What study abroad organization was  your trip through? (Magellan Exchange, CCSA, KIIS, etc.)

A – I took my trip through the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad, or CCSA, and I would recommend them any day of the week. 

Q - How long did you study abroad? 

A - My trip lasted two weeks. I was in Dublin for one week, and spent the remainder of the time traveling through Ireland.

Q - Why did you decide to study abroad?

A – Honestly, I had always thought it would be cool but I never actually looked into it until EKU told me I could use my scholarship to pay for it. Money has always been a concern, so when I heard that and about all of the other funding opportunities, I decided I owed it to myself to go and experience what else the world had to offer. I talked to other students who studied abroad and they said that it was the time of their life. They told me that it was worth every penny and they wouldn't trade their time there for anything. At that point, I was sold.

Q - How did you decide to go to that particular location?

A – My family originates from Ireland, but we've never known which part. I grew up in a very, very Irish Catholic family, so Ireland has always been hailed as the "motherland". I looked it up and CCSA offered a trip in my price range, with a class offered in my major, with the time span I was hoping for (I get homesick easily), to Ireland. Plus, I'm pale and the sun rarely shines there, so I figured it was pretty much meant to be.

Q - What were three of the most important things you learned from your experience studying abroad?

A - One would definitely be to make friends with the people you go with. I went with a group of 30 strangers and I can honestly say, my experience wouldn't have been what it was if I didn't have friends standing by my side. Studying abroad is way too cool of an opportunity to not share it with others. Two, immerse yourself in the culture. I despise trying new things, but living as the Irish did is something I'll remember forever. If you keep in mind that it's all temporary, that in just a little while you'll be back in the land of cheeseburgers and Netflix, it'll be easier to push yourself and make sure you're getting the full effect. Don't sell yourself short. Three, is DEFINITELY take care of yourself. Trust me when I say that getting sick while abroad is miserable. You still want to go out and do everything because, like I said, it's temporary, but all you'll feel like doing is sleeping. Stay hydrated, sleep when you can and eat something healthy for everything you eat that isn't. The food abroad can make or break your trip - eat it wisely.

Q - What was your favorite and least favorite part of your abroad experience?

A - Picking one favorite thing is really, really hard. Something I sincerely appreciated about my trip was how much history there was. Ireland is a country that is absolutely rich with history and culture, and no matter what we did, we found a piece of it. Even talking to the locals outside of the pub - it was all so enriching. My least favorite part was the food. Don't get me wrong, I adored being in the land of potatoes and beer, but the meat was mostly lamb and the portions were ridiculous. One burger could have fed two people. It sneaks up on you after a while!

Q - What did you gain from studying abroad that has changed you as a person and professional?

A - Perspective for both. As a person, I can really appreciate things more, and I can understand better how I want to change them. Studying abroad introduces you to people who live an entirely different lifestyle in an entirely different place. It opens up your mind and you see things differently, but in a kind of beautiful way. As a professional, there are a million different approaches to get work done. Before, I knew what worked here. Now, I've seen firsthand what works in another part of the world, and I've learned why and how. I can take that and use it at home, giving me an edge in the professional world.

Q - Would you recommend other College of Business and Technology students to study abroad? Why or why not?

A - Absolutely. You can never really say you've seen it all and can do it all until you actually get out there and see how it's done. I really think studying abroad can make the difference between having a good job and having a great career. You learn so much about society, how the world works and about yourself. In the long run, what do you have to lose?

Q – Who do students contact if they are interested in studying abroad?

A - Jennifer White. She is such an amazing support system and will help you with anything and everything.

Q – What advice would you give to College of Business and Technology students before they go study abroad?

A - Convert your money beforehand and get a chipped card. It's cheaper and saves you a hassle in a foreign country. Pack according to the airline's specifications and make sure to leave enough room for souvenirs on the way back. Bring good walking shoes and look up the weather before you go.

Q – Since you have not graduated, how is your study abroad experience helping you with your job search?  How has it helped you network with potential employers?

A - It most definitely makes me stand out to employers. People who study abroad are viewed as cultured and worldly, and they have a point of view others don't. I've been able to network a lot since my return, both in the United States and in Ireland. Not only was it an experience of a lifetime in the most beautiful place, but it's going to take me places in my career field I wouldn't have imagined going before.

More photos from Abby McDulin's Study Abroad experience...

Find out more about Study Abroad:

Students interested in studying abroad may contact Jennifer White at the Study Abroad Office in the Whitlock Building, Room 455, to discuss all the program options. Jennifer can be contacted via phone at 859-622-1705 or by email at ekuabroad@eku.edu.

Find out more about the Public Relations major. Contact Dr. Fran Dickson, Chair of the Department of Communication via phone at 859-622-1871 or by email at fran.dickson@eku.edu.

Published on August 31, 2015