Nov. 9, 2023

‘Once in a lifetime experience’


NDSU’s Study Abroad Services has the resources to get the most out of the study abroad experience. 

This summer Sophie Johnson, an interior design major, took part in NDSU’s Global Internship Ireland program. The program allows students in all majors to gain professional experience and adds an international dimension to a resume. 

Johnson, who is passionate about traveling, decided to take part in the program after hearing positive feedback from peers on their study abroad experiences.

“I never thought I would study abroad, but after hearing about past study abroad experiences from other students in the interior design program, I knew it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” said Johnson, a senior from Underwood, Minnesota. 

Before embarking on her trip, Johnson said she took a pre-departure course at NDSU that helped prepare her for traveling to another country. 

“From helping with what to pack to helping me better understand the culture that I would be entering, it really helped calm any anxiety that I had about moving to a new country for a few months,” she said.

Tanya Kramer, the assistant director of Study Abroad Services, said the office assists students through the entirety of their study abroad program by providing various resources.

“Interested students can drop by our office or make an appointment, and we will help them locate the perfect program that fits their interests,” Kramer said. “We offer pre-departure orientation and optional Global Learning Courses (before, while abroad and upon return) to ensure students are prepared for their experiences.”

Johnson also received assistance from Susan Ray-Degges, an NDSU professor and program coordinator of interior design, on preparing for an internship at a design firm in a new country. 

Overall, Johnson said she gained experience specifically geared toward her major that will help her in her career.

“I learned so many valuable things about myself and about the profession that I will soon be entering,” she said. “Experiencing design in a new culture will be so valuable as I enter the workforce because I now have a wider understanding of the needs of people from all over. I worked with clients from not only Ireland, but other parts of the world, too.”

During her internship, Johnson was also able to make new friends, create a lasting bond with her host family and learn more about Irish culture. Every week Johnson attended culture classes, where she learned from Irish experts on the history, politics, folklore, archeology, film and sports of Ireland.

While Johnson lived in Dublin throughout the summer, she was able to explore Meath, Cork, Wicklow, Kerry and Galway.  

“I would recommend anyone visit Ireland,” Johnson said. “It’s a beautiful country with so much history.”

Johnson’s advice for students considering studying abroad is to go for it. 

“It can be a scary thought, but NDSU helps prepare you so well and it really is a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. “There is no better time than the present.”

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