Transformative Immersion in an Inspiring Place Past Review

By (Sculpture, Massachusetts College of Art) - abroad from 01/06/2012 to 04/20/2012 with

Arcadia: Ballyvaughan - Burren College of Art

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think I really learned the value of intense introspection, self-consultation, strength and confidence in terms of both my growth as an artist and as a person. I cannot recommend this experience enough, for anyone serious about taking their creative work to the next level, in an incredibly special and beautiful place rich with history and something I want to call magic.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150-$200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be aware that pub-culture is very strong in Ireland, and Ballyvaughan, being the small isolated town it is, is no exception. Even if you are not buying alcoholic drinks, you often end up spending some money several nights a week socializing while eating or sipping on something in the pub. If you want to cut down on costs, make sure you are well-fed before going to the pub, and just be aware that it is an important part of the social/cultural experience in Ireland--take that into consideration when coming up with a budget for yourself!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Tutorial style approach to education
  • The location! The Burren is so beautiful and inspiring, and because of our Irish Studies class, we got to see and learn a lot about it and Ireland in general.
  • The people I met--teachers, locals and students.
* What could be improved?
  • Some technology could be updated--Final Cut, projectors, wifi. All in due time.
  • Even distribution of males/females in the different houses--there was a house full of 13 girls, and I know that caused a lot of unnecessary drama and tension.
  • As much outreach/integration into community (beyond the pubs) as possible.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Definitely sign up for the Berlin or London trips. Amazing! I signed up late, which turned out fine, but definitely sign up in advance. Also, if you are someone for whom having one's own space is important and you can afford it, go for a single. Be prepared for the intimacy/size of the college--30 students at most, everyone in everyone else's business, sometimes for the better, sometimes the worse--and the isolation of the location. I was fine with both of these aspects, but someone that is looking for a bustling environment and relative anonymity need not apply! Think introspection in the natural world combined with closeness in community.