Dia duit, Cameron is anim dom. (Hello, My name is Cameron Ingrum) I am pursuing a major in Biomedical Sciences and a minor in Religious Studies at Auburn University. As you can see, I have very polar interests. After a tough semester of organic chemistry and the like, I was ready for a break from the sciences and yearned for literature and the arts. I also had an interest in traveling and wanted at some point in my collegiate career to make the journey. One day, towards the end of my sophomore fall semester, a light switch went off in my head…what if I studied abroad in a country where I could satisfy my desire to study religion and travel the world? Brilliant!! I began to research the resources Auburn Abroad offered on their website, and I stumbled upon a program in Dublin, Ireland. The university in Dublin was also partnered with St. Patrick’s Seminary, a Catholic based theology, divinity, and philosophy institute. I have always had an interest in world religions, and the Catholic doctrine was unfamiliar to me, therefore, perfect for me to study. Also, as a part of the “ginger society,” I felt an obligation to explore the roots of my red hair in Ireland and Scotland. So the decision was made, paperwork completed, plane ticket booked, and I was off to Ireland in January! Questions from my peers, friends, and parents began to arise a couple of weeks before my departure:
Q: Do you know anybody going on the trip?
Q: Wait, so you are going to Ireland for six months, and you don’t know anyone going with you….are you nervous?
A: Hmm, to tell you the truth I’m not sure if I am nervous, excited, scared, or just plain stupid for doing this, but I’m sure some kind of emotion will rush over me when I step off the plane in Dublin and realize my return flight is not for another six months.
Q: So, like, do you know Irish?
A: No, but thankfully their national language is English. (I would eventually end up taking a class in Modern Irish, though)
Finally, after weeks of anticipation, I arrived in Dublin, Ireland. This small island country, separated from mainland Europe, became my new home.
The university held a separate orientation for the international and Erasmus students from around Europe. Our Irish advisors took us on a tour of the campus and helped us register for our classes. I took a more difficult road than most study abroad students by making my own curriculum, but I was able to choose the specific classes that I desired to take and contributed to completing my minor in Religious Studies. Thankfully, the time spent not knowing anyone was brief. Before long, I had made friendly acquaintances from Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, and even some new faces from the States. With these new friends came the opportunity to travel, which I desired. I had the chance to travel to Paris and stay with a Parisian friend I made in Ireland. Her family cooked us a traditional French meal as we sipped wine and looked out from the balcony at the glistening lights of the Eiffel Tower - a beautiful sight! I also traveled to Versailles (France), saw a bullfight in Alicante (Spain), Prague (Czech Rep.), Bratislava (Slovakia), Rome (Italy), Northern Ireland, The Highlands (Scotland), and explored the beautiful green countryside and staggering coastal cliffs of Ireland.
During my campus stay, I had the opportunity and privilege to live with four Irish roommates in an apartment style dorm on campus. This instantly immersed me into the culture that I would experience for the next months. I’ll never forget the greeting, Mark, one of my Irish roommates, made the first day I met him, “Hey, what’s the craic?” I was not sure how to respond to this question at first, and I think Mark read the look of bewilderment on my face, because he quickly interjected before I could say something stupid, “Hey my name is Mark, how’s it going?” Okay got the lingo down now. Hence forward, I greeted everyone with a polite, “Top of the mornin’ to ya”, “What’s the craic?” To my surprise, I found out that our typical American-Irish phrase, “Top of the mornin’ to ya,” is not very common. In fact, I conjured a number of laughs for that one. I got better with the Irish slang as time went on.
Auburn Abroad provided me the opportunity to come in contact with a diverse population, in which, we (students from the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia) were able to share and better understand each other’s ideas, influences, and perspectives on the world around us, while finishing my undergraduate minor in the process.
Special thanks to my Mom and Dad for allowing me to go on this trip and the generous scholarship Auburn Abroad provided.