Surprises in Ireland

Lily in IrelandDia duit! My name is Lily Rhuda. I am a junior biomedical engineering major(Class of 2023) here at Syracuse University and I was able to study abroad through the World Partner Program at the University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland.

As an engineering student, people often think that it is super hard to go abroad but I’m hoping that through my experience and what I can contribute to the Ambassadors that I can help change that perspective! I was led to my program by my advising staff and one of my fav professors, shout out Dr. Yung, because while it’s not difficult to go as an engineer we do have to be careful about choosing our program.

I chose UCD because after doing a bit of research, that was my best option for going abroad as a Junior and it was in Europe, which is where I’ve always wanted to go. While sophomore year is ideal for bioeng majors I was unfortunately not able to go because of COVID. Honestly so happy that happened because I would not trade my experience in Dublin for anything!

Rugby team in IrelandI spent my semester living and learning at UCD which is just about the city of Dublin. I stayed in the university accommodation which was great because I was able to get much more involved with my organizations and friendships on campus. While I was there I was able to join the women’s club rugby team and the engineering society and both were great craic! The rugby team was an awesome way to meet new people because in addition to all the Irish girls there were a bunch of other international students on the team. It was so great to have the opportunity to bond with them in a team environment like that and now I’ve also got tons of connections for my future travels!

Castle in IrelandSpeaking of travel, that was 100% one of my favorite things about studying abroad. I was able to travel extensively within Ireland and Northern Ireland. The UCD Study Abroad program had several weekends of day trips to famous destinations that were completely free for us, and my friends and I went on every single one of them. My favorite was probably the first weekend where we got to kayak through the Irish sea out to an island, climbed up a mountain(not a crazy hike lol) to get some panoramic views of the coastline, and finally did some cliff jumping at the local baths. In addition to those trips, I traveled with my friend and with my family when they came to visit.

Part of what I loved about traveling around Ireland was that anything could be a day trip. Which gave us so much flexibility. My absolute favorite trip of the semester was taking a long weekend and going up to Belfast with a big group of my friends. We went on a game of Thrones film location tour(One of the best days of my life) and to Giants Causeway. This will forever be one of my favorite trips and I will look back on these memories for my whole life!

I know it sounds clichébut looking back on my time in Dublin I can really say that study abroad changed my life. By traveling so extensively within the country and joining the university organizations I was able to experience so much of the culture of Ireland. I can also say that I have grown so much as a person since I stepped foot in logan airport ready to embark. I also never knew how close I would get to my friends in the short time that I was there. I’m so thankful that I was able to have this experience and I will cherish it forever.


Lily Rhuda

Biomedical Engineering

World Partner Program: Dublin, UCD

Q&A: Life in Copenhagen

Hello – my name is Kara Mueller and I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark in fall 2021 with World Partner program DIS Copenhagen. I’m graduating in 2023, majoring in Human Development and Family Science. Here are some questions and answers about life in Denmark:

DenmarkWhy did you choose this program?

  • My major was the main component that led me to choose the Copenhagen program. Human Development and Family Science is a super small major so there were not many programs that adhered specifically to HDFS, so I looked to World Partner to find which programs best fit my major. Copenhagen had a Child Development and Diversity program and I thought that fit perfectly with what I wanted to study.

What were some interesting courses you took abroad?

  • Child Development and Diversity in Education in Scandinavia: This was my core course which meant that this is where most of my credits were going toward. Every core course had two trips, one in another part of Denmark, and one in another country that fit our field of study. Having these core courses allowed us to get close with our fellow classmates which was a really cool aspect of the program.
  • Child Development and Diversity in Education in Scandinavia Practicum: This class was an extension of my core course, but it was a placement for every student at a Danish school. We got to rank our preferences for what age group we would want to work with and had the options of infants, day care age, elementary age, or middle school age. I chose middle school because I want to work with adolescents in the future and I was able to work with 8th and 9th graders once a week in the countryside of Copnhagen. This was an amazing experience and a great way to get to know a very different part of Denmark since our commute was about an hour.
  • Danish Language: This class was a Danish language and culture class. The language barrier was not bad at all because almost every Dane knows English, but it was still cool to be able to learn some Danish terms. My favorite part about this class was learning about the Danish entertainment industry. We read some Danish fairy tales and watched Danish movies and learned about how their culture is portrayed through their media.
  • Positive Organizational Psychology: This course was all about psychology in the workplace. We learned about all different characteristics of work life that affect the personality of someone’s career. Balancing these characteristics and making well-being a priority helps work to be so much more pleasant.

Girls in CopenhagenWhat’s one of the best experiences you had?

  • I met some of my best friends through this program. I loved the idea of going on a program by myself and meeting new people from different universities, and that is exactly what happened. It is such a great dynamic because we can now visit each other at our schools and meet each other’s friends. It is definitely strange adjusting back to school life that doesn’t involve them because we became so close, but I am so happy to have met them and be able to travel the world with them. Traveling and learning a new culture together is such an amazing way to get close.

Did you travel within or outside of Denmark during the semester?

  • We had time for field trips every Wednesday which was a great opportunity for immersion and building knowledge about different aspects of our course content. My class went on a 3 day trip to Odense, Denmark, and a 6 day trip to Finland. We had meals together and were able to spend a lot of time as a class and learn a lot about each other. Every class did a 3 day trip to another part of Denmark, and a 6 day trip to another country, so everyone had the same amount of time to travel with their course.

What was your living situation like? How was the experience?

  • I lived in a residential community which involved two floors of people and about 15 people per floor. Each floor had a shared kitchen, two common rooms, 2 bathrooms with showers and 3 bathrooms without. In my individual room, I had two roommates from two different schools. Everyone was spread out across the city and there were other living options like a host family, or in a Kollegium which involved local students as well as American students. I loved my living situation and all the shared spaces worked out so much better than I expected them to. It was a great way to meet people and work on living with others.

After college, I am definitely going to emphasize traveling, which I may not have planned on doing if it wasn’t for studying abroad. I would love to work abroad for a little while, or at least for an international company that allows me to travel for at least the first few years. There is so much of the world to see and it was so helpful to learn about the way different countries function and how it works for them.

Kara Mueller ’23

DIS Copenhagen

Becoming a local in Stockholm

Rachael ChurchHi! My name is Rachael Church and I studied abroad through a Syracuse Abroad World Partner program called DIS in Stockholm, Sweden during the Fall of 2018.

Though choosing a program seemed daunting at first because there were so many options, I discovered and became interested in DIS Stockholm because of the unmatched courses offered there. I am a Biology major with minors in Public Health and in Environment & Society, so finding programs with more than one or two courses that would fill the requirements I still needed was a challenge. In Stockholm, however, I didn’t have to put my academic trajectory on hold to have an amazing experience. I took two classes that counted toward my major requirements: Translational Medicine (my Core Course) and Immunology. I also took Epidemiology and Medical Ethics as two courses to fill my Public Health elective requirement, and Scandinavian Crime Fiction to complete my liberal arts core requirement. The learning experience was incredibly hands-on and collaborative, with small class sizes and “study tours” around Stockholm to talk to experts in each field. Before studying abroad, I was considering pursuing Epidemiology after graduation, but was unsure if it was for me and wanted to learn more about the applications of Public Health and its intersection with my other interests. Studying with DIS allowed me to get an inside view of what my potential careers could be and make informed decisions to narrow down my prospective career options.


Living in Sweden is similar to the US in some ways, but the parts that stand out and make it unique are what make it such a fun experience. Everyone commutes (on the cleanest public transportation I have ever been on) or rides bikes to work instead of driving. The city parks are always full of joggers with their dogs and dads taking their babies for walks in strollers. The sun may set early (around 3pm in the middle of winter), but Swedes have adapted to this and know how to stay happy, healthy and active, and make the most of the sunlight that they have. The easiest way I found to immerse myself in the culture was to go to new cafes in the different parts of the city in the afternoons or during my breaks from class to do my homework and have fika (coffee and a dessert). I would also stop by one of the many museums with friends or take a walk through a park. DIS is also really helpful when it comes to getting involved. Through the program, I signed up for a kickboxing class which I took once per week with other Swedish and international university students. I also joined a yoga studio, which was easy for me to do because though it was taught in Swedish, the vast majority of Swedes also speak English, so I could get personalized feedback when I needed it. Speaking simple Swedish phrases is also pretty easy to pick up once you set your mind to it, and you can take a Swedish Language course at DIS as one of your classes too. Another way I got involved and immersed was by joining DIS’s Outdoor Adventure Learning Community, for which a group of 7 DIS students (who all lived on the same floor of a student apartment building outside the city) would explore Stockholm every Tuesday evening. Throughout the course of the semester, we went on walks, took ferry rides, went bike riding, rock climbing, swimming, kayaking and ice skating, all of which were incredible experiences that I might not have had the opportunity to do otherwise. Since I lived in an apartment with other DIS students, I did not get the experience of living with a host family, although that is also an option. Since I still wanted to get the experience of being part of a Swedish family, I participated in DIS’s Visiting Host Family program, where I was assigned to a family that I met up with once every couple of weeks for dinner. I also made friends with other students who did stay with host families, and we would go visit them every once and a while as well. If you are willing to put yourself out there, DIS gives you endless opportunities to immerse yourself in the Swedish culture.

DIS group

Of course, one of the biggest reasons people want to study abroad is to travel. Through my Core Course at DIS, I had the opportunity to take a trip to London for a week for a long study tour. I also traveled to lots of cities within Europe with the friends I made through DIS including Copenhagen, Bergen, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Zurich, Florence, and Venice on weekend trips and breaks throughout the semester. Though Stockholm is more distanced from the rest of Europe and it’s not possible to just take a train everywhere, it is still more than feasible to travel and get the full European experience.

Studying abroad in Stockholm increased my sense of confidence in myself, taught me how to adjust new and unfamiliar situations, and introduced me to some of my lifelong friends. I was drawn to DIS through the offered coursework, but applied for the opportunity to study in a unique city without a ton of tourist traffic and with students from all over the US to better my ability to meet adventurous people. Though my time abroad has been over for a while now, I know I’m not done travelling and I am so grateful for the experiences I gained in Stockholm because they gave me the confidence I need to pursue other opportunities and live abroad in the future.


Rachael Church ’20

DIS Stockholm, Fall 2018