Reiley Clark—Coleraine, Northern Ireland

img_5539My name is Reiley Clark and I’m a a 20-year-old multidisciplinary studies major with concentrations in history, European international relations and photography at WVU. I’m a sophomore from Charleston, WV, and will be studying at Ulster University in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, until June. While abroad, I hope to take pictures for a personal portfolio, explore castles, and visit the town my ancestors are from.

What made you want to study abroad?

I am a transfer student from University of Charleston, where I attended my freshman year of college. I had the privilege of studying abroad with the university to Greece, where we studied classical Greek history and lifestyle. This unbelievable experience lasted a month and left me craving a longer abroad opportunity.

When I arrived at WVU, I declared a major in multidisciplinary studies and decided to study abroad as much as possible. By being abroad, I’ve learned perspective and people skills, and it forces me to learn something new every day.

What were your expectations for this trip?

I have learned that having high expectations can hinder any experience. It is best to embrace a situation like studying abroad with open arms and to be prepared for the long, hard days while also enjoying the breathtaking, beautiful days. My hope is to live in the moment, and that is the only expectation I have set for myself.

What do you hope to accomplish or do while abroad?

I hope to take amazing photographs and videos to help with my portfolio while in Northern Ireland. I also hope to come back with outstanding marks!

What has been your biggest culture shock, if anything?

The oddest culture shock I’ve experienced abroad so far is the pace of European life. In Greece, everything was slowed down to ensure time for life and conversation. Dinners were normally served around 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. and sometimes as late as 10:00 p.m., although lunch and breakfast times were roughly the same as in American.

Another shock was language and conversation tone. Sometimes in conversations, yelling would be paired with dramatic, loud movements. I would watch, thinking a fight was about to break out, but instead, I learned this was typical for Greek conversation.

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