Alumni Q&A: Ciara – Cork, Ireland

1. Why did you choose the study abroad program that you did?

I have always wanted to travel to Ireland. My dad is Irish and I wanted to be able to go there and see a piece of my heritage.

Cork doorway

2. What’s your best experience/memory?

A friend and I were wandering around campus and through buildings and we found a hidden spiral staircase in one of the buildings, which we thought was pretty exciting.

3. What were some of the special/unique things you were able to do or see?

It was nice going on field trips with [USAC Resident Director] Mary Steele because she had a story for everywhere we went. We got to learn a lot about Ireland and her life there, which was really nice to see.

4. What was a funny cultural experience?

My name is pronounced “Sierra.” I had to get used to people pronouncing my name “Kyra.” Even if they knew how I said it, if they saw it spelled out they would pronounce it as a Irish name. It was weird at first because I wouldn’t always respond to it, but I soon came to enjoy it.

5. How was studying there different than at home?

Most classes were only one day a week with more individual directed studies.

6. What did you learn about yourself?

I really proved to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to and I wouldn’t let fear get in my way.

7. Would you study abroad again if given the opportunity?

If I was given the opportunity to study abroad again I would take it in a heartbeat. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I learned so much about the world and myself. It was truly an irreplaceable experience.

8. What advice would you tell students trying to decide whether or not to study abroad?

Studying abroad is the best opportunity. You’re able to learn so much about the place and its people. Wherever you go, it will become your home.

Fish and Chips
This is me trying to eat a massive — and delicious — first meal of fish and chips.


-Ciara Kelley, University of Nevada, studied in Cork, Ireland.