May Term 2015: Q&A with recent graduate, Shayna Holle

Which May Term did you take?

I participated in A Photographic Tour of Ireland.

Why did you choose this particular course?

I always thought Ireland was magnificently beautiful, so when the opportunity to visit the country arose, I knew I had to do everything in my power to make it happen. Ireland is also where a majority of my ancestors come from, so being able to experience and see where they originated was pretty surreal.

What was your most riveting experience in Ireland?

I’d have to say visiting the Aran Islands was my favorite part of the entire trip. Even though the islands are a short 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland, the people’s way of life is completely different. One thing our guide mentioned that really stood out to me was the fact that the island had absolutely no electricity until the 1970s. It was pretty shocking to hear because the United States had electricity so much sooner. However, I think this underdevelopment adds to the overall beauty. The simplicity makes the islands beautiful, and it’s something we’re not accustomed to in the States.

In your opinion, what are the advantages of taking a May Term as opposed to studying abroad for a semester? Disadvantages?

Being involved in a May Term allows you to experience life outside of the United States in a more structured setting. It’s perfect if it’s your first time out of the country. However, being involved in a May Term seems short when you account for travel days and all of the sights that have been planned out for you. We spent about 12 days in Ireland, and when we left, I still felt there was so much more to see and experience.

What have you learned the most from this experience?

Even though Ireland is an English speaking country, the culture is completely different. I think this whole experience has taught me to be more compassionate and understanding when it comes to our cultural differences. I think it has given me a wonderful perspective about what life is like outside of the United States.