Study abroad in Ireland gives Crawford a global perspective on food and agriculture
Christina Crawford (Junior; AgriMarketing; Boerne, TX) knew before starting college that she wanted to do a semester abroad, ideally in Ireland. When she was 16 she visited her older sister when whom spent a semester in Ireland; Crawford said, "I absolutely loved the short week that I was there."
There were some differences in culture and operating, but lots of similarities, too. While being abroad in an English-speaking city, she was reminded of being away from home. Crawford explained, "they drive on the left side of the road, bathrooms are referred to as toilets, fries are called chips and chips are called crisps, and eggs at the grocery store aren't refrigerated." The first time shopping she spent a while finding the eggs.
Her favorite things about being at University College Dublin (UCD) was being a quick bus ride away from both Dublin city-centre and some nice hikes. Christina only had class Monday through Wednesday, so during my free time she liked going to the city centre to try out new restaurants, pubs, and coffee shops. And if the weather was nice, Crawford added, "I enjoyed going to the mountains or seaside cliff trails." The classes she took included Marketing Communications, International Food Marketing, Ag Policy, and Agri-Environmental Economics. The class structure there was super different: each class meeting once a week for an hour and 50 minutes. Crawford summarized her class experience, "Each class seemed long at first, but once I adjusted I really liked it. This exchange program required that I take most of my classes in Ag. I really enjoyed all my classes, and the fact that 3 of them were within the Ag program really made me feel connected with the Ag community at UCD. One of the main things I wanted to gain from being abroad was a more global perspective on food and agriculture, and between my classes and my own food experiences I think I definitely succeeded in that."
Christina recommends study abroad for anyone who is looking to get out of their comfort zone. She expanded upon that with, "Moving to another country for a semester can be overwhelming at times, but you come home with friends from around the world and the confidence of having navigated a place so new and far from what you're used to." Although her time was cut short due to COVID-19, she enjoyed two months abroad "more than I ever could have imagined." In addition to time spent in Ireland, Christina was able to go to England, Germany, and Austria. In Austria she stayed with a friend who was an exchange student at Purdue in fall of 2018. "It was so fun to be able to reconnect with her after a year apart, and to be able to have her show me her country," Crawford explained.
Christina received a College of Ag study abroad scholarship that encouraged documentation while abroad or write an essay upon returning. She chose to blog and thought this made the whole experience so much more memorable. Crawford ended, "Not only do I have 7 posts to look back on in a year, but blogging really caused me to be intentional and reflective throughout my time in Ireland. There wasn't specifically one thing that will stick with me since I was so intentional with everything I did – from big things like taking a 24-hour trip to London for a concert, to little things like trying McDonalds in every country. McDonald's in Ireland has the best fries, in case you were wondering."
For more insight on her experiences, here is Christina's blog: https://christinacraw37.wixsite.com/blog