Student Studies Abroad in Ireland for Human Development and Family Sciences Minor

Emma Guritza learned lessons outside of the classroom during faculty-led trip to Ireland

Before leaving for Ireland, Emma Guritza deleted Snapchat off her phone. She wanted to be present during the trip, but not being glued to social media (as she put it), allowed for more than seeing the surroundings. Emma experienced Ireland. “It was beautiful to go on that [trip] and see all the nature and really be more present in nature,” she explains. “I was dealing with a lot of anxiety at the time with the trip by being abroad, so being in a place where I could be surrounded by beautiful scenery and really awesome people, it just got me to sit down and meditate and be more patient and present, which I kind of needed.”

Emma spent nine days abroad this past spring as part of the Human Development and Family Sciences, Ireland program. The idea started when she came back home from a trip from Israel with the Hillel Student Leadership. “After going there and realizing how much I loved it, how much I really enjoyed going abroad, I decided to go to Ireland,” Emma says, adding that she learned about the Human Development and Family Studies, Ireland program from her faculty and jumped on the opportunity to travel again.

Although there were meetings with the professor and lessons about Ireland’s history, traditions, and cultures, Emma only met all of her classmates at the airport, “which was a crazy experience, but it made for a really good conversation with getting to know everyone while we were there.”

She recalls how learning about the country beforehand helped her talk to locals and understand the context of their stories and how a visit to a center for adults with intellectual disabilities inspired a reflection about how things could be done differently at home. It will also help with her future goals: “I think for the most part just getting to know everyone and having those friends now and seeing those places and just having that experience, I have more to bring to the table than maybe others in a similar position or other applicants to grad school and job.”

However, Emma believes what stuck with her the most is not directly related to her major and career goals to be a child psychologist, but will help with anything she wants to do next: resilience and mindfulness. “Going and finding my inner Zen again and realizing that, if I can get on a plane and go to a place that’s five hours away, that’s a whole different country and a whole different time zone, then I can do all,” Emma explains. “Sometimes getting out of your comfort zone is how you are able to get back into yourself and kind of understand yourself more completely for some reason.”

Lastly, she has advice for anyone who’s unsure about studying abroad: “If people are feeling anxious about going abroad, because that is such a big thing, both acknowledge that and realize that if you can get out and go abroad, you can do anything. I was really glad that I was able to do a short program because it made it less intimidating for me. There are so many different programs so explore your options and take advantage of the opportunity if you can!”

Learn more about the Human Development and Family Sciences, Ireland program!

Emma in Ireland with a stream and the countryside in the background.
POSTED: Tuesday, July 25, 2023 11:54 AM
Updated: Monday, July 8, 2024 01:08 PM
Natasha Wolwacz Heinz, Graduate Intern for Education Abroad