Q/A with Cara Douthitt About Studying in Ireland
Major: Administrative Management
IFSA-Butler Program: University of Limerick
Why did you choose Ireland for study abroad?
Ireland always had a special place in my heart. The movies with the impossibly green panorama shots of the countryside, the portrayed friendliness of the people, and the slower pace of life were all so endearing to me. It made me homesick for a place I had never been to.
What is your favorite memory of Ireland?
Some of the best times I had were on a bus with the friends I made, traveling the countryside from town to town, discovering the little local gems that the locals would chat to us about. Just the sheer beauty of where I was could be overwhelming sometimes.
How did you budget while studying abroad?
Food is going to be the biggest part of your budget, so know where the super saver markets and stores are in your area. Keep a monthly budget and stick to it once you understand how much things actually cost in your home away from home. Also, make separate budgets for all of your excursions. It will help you keep from spending half of what’s in your bank account at stupid expensive tourist spots in different cities.
What was your favorite IFSA-Butler activity?
The trip to Belfast – a city drenched in culture, life, and history (for the better or worse). Going to the wall on the Black Cab Tour that IFSA booked for us made everything so much more intimate – you could start to really understand the turbulence and strife these people have lived through. Belfast quickly became a city that I hold dear, and I would love to return as soon as I can.
What were your courses abroad like?
Most of the courses I took were psychology or management courses, so I could complete my minor abroad. Lively discussion and a very different view point on certain topics made those classes intellectually challenging, especially as for a majority of them I was “the American” and was usually called upon to give an opinion. Because of this I had to really think through all the material presented to me, which kept me on my toes academically.
What advice do you have for future Ireland students?
The best way to experience the culture though, is to get out there and make those mistakes you’re afraid of making. People are going to know you’re American. Seriously, there’s no hiding it. They’re going to know. So embrace it and learn as much as you can about the culture from those who actually know what they’re doing. They’ll be glad to talk to you about their home, I promise. Then before you know it, you’ll be blending in like you’ve lived there for years.
Like you, the staff at IFSA-Butler have watched recent political and world events unfold with great concern for the people who might be affected, especially the faculty and students on your campuses. As we contemplate the uncertainties of the future, we are committed to remaining responsive to the global landscape and proactive in considering the needs of our student participants.
When we focus on what we can control, we return to our core mission: to create global learning environments designed to foster the development of critical perspectives, knowledge and skills essential for students to thrive in the future. This mission is more important now than ever, and we are committed to delivering on this promise.
We will continue to monitor the events that may impact students on our programs, and we will be proactive in alerting students if necessary. Fortunately, our global staff are well-informed and prepared to talk with students about these difficult issues. Should we have a student who needs to return home unexpectedly due to travel restrictions, we will work with partners abroad to limit their financial burden to the costs incurred only. While we hope that this will not be an issue for our students moving forward, we do not want financial concerns about participation in our programs to cause undue stress.
We will continue to work with you to assist every student in his or her aspiration to study abroad. Together, we will create culturally informed and agile students prepared to enrich the world.
Dr. Heather Barclay Hamir
President & CEO, IFSA-Butler
10 Under $10: Our Favorite Ways to Explore Prague
By Shannon Cates
Vice President for Program Management and Development
If you've heard about the Reimagining Europe and Summer in Prague programs, you already know that Prague is a great place to join a specialized learning community and expand your resume.
But Prague is also one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe, and you can explore it on a limited budget. Here are some of our favorite ways to experience the city, each for less than $10.
- Dinner with a View: Enjoy a traditional Czech sausage dinner at the beer garden in Riegrovy Sady, the beautiful park adjacent to Prague College. From the top of the hill, you'll enjoy stunning views of the historic Old Town. Under $3.
- V for Caffeine: Only a few minutes away from the IFSA-Butler program center, AnonymouS Coffee serves up espresso drinks crafted with beans from Europe's independent coffee roasters. The coffee shop's aesthetic combines elements from V for Vendetta and comic book culture. Under $3.
- New Music: Meet Factory offers music, art, theater, films and more in a refurbished factory space. Recent performers include Mitski, Angel Olsen and Todd Terje. Prices vary, but many under $10.
- Old Music: Dress up for a sophisticated evening of classical music at the gorgeous Art Nouveau-style Rudolfinum. Prices vary, but many under $10.
- Paper with Flair: For a low-cost, high-payoff shopping experience, explore Papelote, which offers Czech-designed and –made notebooks, wrapping paper, sketchbooks and washi tapes. Prices start at around $1.
- Museum on the Water: Enjoy the best of contemporary art the Kampa Museum on tiny Kampa Island in Prague's Vltava River. Afterward, relax on the river's banks to peoplewatch as watercraft ranging from tour boats to kayaks meander by. Under $5.
- International Specialties: Prague 2, home to the IFSA-Butler program center and Prague College, also boasts several highly-rated Vietnamese restaurants. Get your banh mi or pho fix over your lunch hour. Under $5.
- Photo Ops: Wander through Prague's winding cobbled streets and discover squares and churchyards off the beaten path. Set your alarm clock to take photos of the iconic Charles Bridge in the dawn light, when it is at its most beautiful (and least crowded). Free.
- Next Cronut?: Trdelnik had its 15 minutes on Instagram last year; you may have seen photos of this cylindrical pastry cross your feed. The addition of ice cream took it over the top! We think that watching the making of trdelnik is almost as fun as eating it: it's often baked on a sort of open-air flaming rotisserie. Under $2.
- Hike the Region: The Czech Republic offers over 40,000 kilometers of well-marked hiking trails. Collect turistické známky, or hiking badges, to remember your favorite trails. Hiking is free; maps of the trails are about $3; and you can pick up your hard-earned badges for around $1 each.
Unique Career Launchpad in Prague
By Shannon Cates
Vice President for Program Management and Development
The Professional Development Project (PDP) is a unique field component offered by IFSA-Butler's programs in Prague. This 4 credit course is available in both the summer and semester sessions, and offers you a personalized introduction to your chosen field.
Through the PDP, you can expand your resume and have a one-of-a-kind opportunity to:
- Explore your career options
- Meet and learn from experts in your fields of interest
- Expand your own professional network
- Get a backstage view of a variety of professional environments
- Apply your creative problem-solving skills to a real-world question
The seminar component of PDP acquaints you with local business practices and key questions facing organizations in the region. The industry survey component takes you beyond the classroom to engage with companies and organizations. Through opportunities such as company visits, panel presentations and informational interviews, you'll learn first-hand from local professionals about the challenges and opportunities they've encountered in the European business environment.
As you grow your knowledge of the business landscape in general, and your chosen industry in particular, you'll delve into a topic which you find personally interesting.
- For example, a conversation with staff from Coca-Cola HBC Czech Republic may inspire you to examine best practices in route-to-market strategy.
- A question-and-answer session with an executive from Guerbet, which specializes in diagnostic and interventional imaging to improve patients' prognosis and quality of life, could lead you to explore a multifaceted approach to quality assurance.
- A visit to Amazon's Prague fulfillment center may inspire you to look at new technologies for managing inventory.
- Or, you might shadow a designer at Butterflies and Hurricanes to learn more about trends in sustainable packaging and brand design.
You'll also expand your professional circle at networking events, which will give you a chance to meet practitioners across an array of roles and fields.
The PDP is an exciting professional launchpad, whether you're still figuring out your career path, or you've already found your passion. The PDP is part of our Summer in Prague and Reimagining Europe programs.