Published April 2018
Written by Laura Henschel
The IA experience does not just take place in a classroom, on campus, or with the guidance of a professor. Sometimes, it can happen in unlikely places - say, in a coffee shop whilst talking about your latest dream-big moment, or online, sharing ideas in the comments thread of a video. For Zahra Khan, her Innovation Academy experience happened in another time zone - 4,000 miles away in Ireland.
Khan, an incoming freshman, was looking to get involved at UF even though her classes had not begun yet. Instead of an internship or a job in her hometown, Khan opted for something more involved – study abroad. “Over the summer, I was getting really sick of not having any academic goals,” Khan said. “Plus, it was a really good opportunity to meet UF students, and not to mention the ability to go travel.”
The UF in Maynooth Fall study abroad program is a one-of-a-kind program offered only to IA incoming freshman students. With the Fall semester off, students enjoy their first semester at UF abroad, taking six credit hours at Maynooth University, about 30 minutes outside of Dublin. The proprietary scheduling allows students to earn credits in composition and international sociology during the day, and in the afternoons and weekends explore the cultural and economic richness of Ireland.
Students participate in excursions to not just the cultural hotspots—places like the Cliffs of Moher, the Irish countryside, and even the set of Game of Thrones— students also tour world-renowned businesses in the area, including Fortune 500 companies like Boston Scientific and SAP Software Corporation.
For Khan, the credits earned and businesses visited were just added benefits to what she mainly got out of the trip. “Having world experiences that are different than what you’re accustomed to growing up in America helps you understand the world better and yourself,” Khan said. “It also helped me become more outgoing. You learn to put yourself out there and make connections with all types of people—business owners, professors, even your peers that you travel with.”
Khan recommends that anyone that is interested should participate in the program. “There’s no way to get a negative experience. You’re going to learn so much about yourself either way.”
Are you interested in studying abroad? Find more information about our program here.