Study Abroad Q&A: Jennifer Vickery Experiences Ireland

Management information systems student, Jennifer Vickery ‘22, spent the fall 2021 semester in Ireland. Studying abroad helped her find confidence, better appreciate her major, and gain new skills.

Q: Why did you choose to study abroad in this location? 

Vickery: I chose Ireland because of the gorgeous scenery while staying in an English-speaking country. Ireland is a beautiful country with lots of greenery, rocky cliffs, and beaches. It was important to be in a place I could feel connected to nature. Also, studying in an English-speaking country was a significant factor in ensuring I settled into my new home and made the most out of my semester. 

Q: What's your favorite thing about this location?

Vickery: The University of Limerick is a very popular school for international students. I met lots of great people from the US, Europe, and Asia! I was introduced to so many new cultures and people that really broadened my perspective. 

Jennifer Vickery and her flatmates taken in Corfu, Greece

Jennifer Vickery and her flatmates taken in Corfu, Greece

Q: Who did you meet in Ireland that significantly impacted you during your time abroad? 

Vickery: During my stay in Ireland, I lived with two Americans which made my time in Ireland comfortable and meaningful. While I made Irish friends and got out of my comfort zone, I sometimes felt like an outsider to the culture. Being able to go home and hang out with people from my own country gave me a place to feel connected. They quickly became my best friends and my travel buddies.

Q: What's something you learned about this location that you didn't know beforehand? 

Vickery: I did not know how casual the drinking culture is in Ireland. There are a couple of bars on campus, and going out for drinks on any day of the week is very normal. This was very strange to me in the beginning, but it is a significant way college students here socialize and make friends. That is to say though, that if you did not drink that was okay too! I met many people who would hang out in the pub even if they did not drink. There was never any pressure to drink if you did not want to.

Q: If someone were to travel to the location(s) you studied abroad, what is one thing/activity/event they have to experience?

Vickery: The Gaelic Games! The Gaelic Games are a big source of pride for Irish culture. Learning about the games will give you a sense of how much community and family mean to the people in Ireland. Gaelic Football and Hurling are awesome spectator sports and a great way to learn about the counties as each has a team and competes against each other.

Q: What advice do you have for students who want to study abroad? 

Vickery: As cliche as it may sound, be open to studying abroad early on! During my first two years at RIT, studying abroad was not on my list of things to do and I, therefore, did not plan my classes around it. I waited until my senior year, narrowing my options for programs because of class inflexibility. Consider studying abroad early on so you can have flexibility in your schedule and programs to choose from!

Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Q: What will you take back with you to RIT from your experience? 

Vickery: The class structure in Ireland is different than RIT. My classes were focused on 2-3 papers throughout the semester and no exams. These papers required significant amounts of research and critical thinking. I feel better skilled in conducting lots of research and writing concise, high-quality reports/papers.

Q: Did studying abroad widen your worldview? 

Vickery: After studying abroad I feel more comfortable traveling alone and being open to cultural experiences. This was my first time outside North America, and it was very different. I was originally nervous about traveling alone, but I found new independence and confidence to read my surroundings and make friends to help me along the way. 

Q: Did studying abroad give you a new perspective on your major?

Vickery: Studying abroad made me appreciate my major more! I took some business classes and some Gen Eds in Ireland. These courses allowed me more time to focus on travel and experiences, but I am excited to come back for my final semester taking all MIS classes. 

To prepare students for success in today’s global society, RIT offers a range of exciting study abroad programs giving business majors the opportunity to examine business practices in a new cultural context. Students can immerse themselves in another culture, gain an understanding of international business practices, and build professional skills that will set students apart in a globalized work environment. If you're interested in gaining new educational perspectives by studying abroad, contact Hillary McCormick, Assistant Director of Student Services and Global Education.