#StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things!

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Nicole Lottig is a graduating senior at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Gender Studies. She studied abroad in Ireland during the spring semester of 2015. She studied at Maynooth University, which is located about a half an hour from Dublin. She learned a lot from studying in another country and would love to go back! Read up on her interview and learn more about her experiences. 

At Giant's Causeway, Ireland. Nicole Lottig: #StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things!

Giant's Causeway

What motivated your decision to go abroad? How/why did you choose where to go?

I have always wanted to go to Ireland because of how beautiful it looked in pictures. I made up my mind to actually go to Ireland because everyone told me that I would not be able to afford it, and I was not independent enough to go. I chose to study at Maynooth University because it was so close to Dublin, which meant that I could explore Ireland directly from Dublin as well as being close to an airport so I could explore Europe! It was also one of the only schools that offered anthropology courses.

Barcelona - Nicole Lottig: #StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things!


What was your experience like? What is your favorite memory? What were some challenges you observed?

The only word I can come up with to describe my experience abroad is “amazing.” I met so many new people and now I have friends from around the world! I got to experience many different cultures while I was traveling, while I also learned a new language. My favorite memory would have to be sitting in my apartment’s kitchen during an “international food party,” as my roommate from China called it, and talking to people from many different nationalities. Many of these people because very good friends who I plan to visit in the near future.

One challenge I observed was when we traveled to countries whose first language was not English. Many of the locals of these countries wanted us to know their languages right off the bat, but it was very hard to even learn to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in another language.

Another challenge was how to go about using public transportation on my own. Being from a small town in Pennsylvania, where public transportation is nonexistent, I was a little afraid of using public transportation on my own, but the people in Ireland are so nice - they help you whenever you need it.

What skills did you develop from your experience? Do you feel changed from your experience abroad? 

I developed many skills from my experience, such as learning Irish, becoming independent, and learning how to understand many different cultures. I most definitely feel changed from my experience abroad. I found it very hard to reincorporate myself into the old things I did at home because I am just not interested in them anymore or because I am interested in new aspects of them. For example, I found it hard to be in one place for so long without traveling, because all I did when I was abroad was travel and explore new places. I did not realize how large our country is and how hard it is to get to new places within it. This also has to do with how I now have my old commitments, such as my job and school, which are places I have to be all of the time. In Ireland, I did not have a job and I only had school three days a week, so I had more time to do new things and go new places.

Blarney Castle - Nicole Lottig: #StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things!

Blarney Castle

Has your experience helped you get to where you are today? 

Yes, I believe my experience abroad helped me get to where I am today because I have decided that when I go to graduate school, I will study anthropology and focus in Irish Studies. I am also currently working on my Capstone project, which is bringing in some research I did in Ireland as well! My experience will help me in the future, I am sure.

What advice would you share with other students who are thinking of going abroad?

On finances, I advise students not to worry too much about the money. Yes, it may look like studying abroad will really clean out your pockets, but the experience is worth every penny! When I went to Ireland, I had to get out an extra loan, which I really did not want to do. However, when I got home, I actually had enough money to pay off that extra loan!

In regards to experience, I advise students to get out and do everything humanly possible that they are interested in! The more things you do, the more people you meet! Having friends around the world is amazing. Go out and meet people from the place you are studying abroad in. Chances are, they will give you new places to eat or to see a film or shop. You learn so much in such a short time about others and about yourself. If you are worried about being away from home, technology is a wonderful thing. I was connected with my family whenever I needed to talk to them, and they knew I was safe. 

North Wales. Nicole Lottig: #StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things!

North Wales

How has international education impacted or influenced your cultural identity?

International education has impacted my cultural identity because I now feel that I no longer belong only in the United States, but I feel as though I can also belong in Ireland. I have learned so much through schooling about Ireland’s history and its presence that I understand how the culture has evolved throughout time. I now want to continue to learn about Ireland, as well as travel to other countries to learn more about their cultures.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

Studying abroad has broadened my horizons about every aspect of life. I have learned so much about myself and how I fit into the world. I learned so much about Ireland and how other people view the world. I have also met so many people from around the world who I call my friends. 

Colosseum - Nicole Lottig: #StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things!


#StudyAbroadBecause... It will open up your mind to so many new things! Making new friends, learning new things, and traveling the world are just a few.


Stasia Lopez is the Global Education Editor for Wandering Educators and is also a Career Consultant at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated with her Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Robert Morris University. Stasia is passionate about international education, travel,  and loves working on a college campus. She’s lived in four different U.S. states (Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania) and also studied and lived abroad in Rome, Italy. Stasia lives in the Pittsburgh area with her husband, Fernando.


All photos courtesy and copyright Nicole Lottig