Evan Berti

Major: Kinesiology and Health
Class: Junior
Timeframe: Summer 2024
Type of Experience: Study abroad
Program: Experience Kinesiology in Ireland
Destination: Ireland

Overall Experience

My experience during the Experience Kinesiology in Ireland program was nothing short of life changing. Before participating in this trip, I had never been to Europe and I really had never experienced any cultures outside of the US. At first, I was skeptical, as I had never been this far from home, especially with a bunch of kids that I barely knew. However, I never could have guessed just how amazing of a time I would have. From biking the streets of Dublin, to climbing Blarney Castle, to hiking the cliffs of Moher, this trip was absolutely jam packed with amazing experiences. Besides all of the activities planned and locations visited, one of the best parts of the trip was definitely making so many new friends. I was lucky to have a great group of students that made the trip so much more fun and I consider them all good friends of mine even after the trip. Last but certainly not least, Professor Franke and his wife Libby did an incredible job of making the trip fun, intellectually stimulating, and safe.

Learning experience

The most valuable experience I had was probably learning to assimilate to the Irish culture because I have lived in the US my whole life and have never been a cultural outsider. By going to Ireland and learning the different ways that people interact in their culture, I gained a greater respect for people that immigrate to the US and have to learn to live in our culture.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience I had in Ireland was climbing the cliffs of Moher. It was a 5 mile hike mostly uphill with lots of rocks, bridges, mud, and animals. But, it was the most fun and the view from the top was unlike anything I have ever seen.

What did you not expect?

I did not expect that Kinesiology programs at Irish Universities would be so much smaller and less funded than the US. When comparing UCD's Kinesiology program to Iowa State's program, it was obvious that Iowa State is much higher funded, therefore giving their athletes, students, and professors access to facilities and equipment that the UCD staff and students would never get to experience. This has definitely given me a greater respect for the staff and students at UCD and proven to me that good practice is possible, regardless of how fancy the equipment you have is.

What advice would you give?

My advice would be to do it. There may be parts of you that are skeptical or unsure of if it would be worth it. Do it. Going with a group of kids my age definitely made the trip more fun and the planned itinerary made it possible to see so much of the Island.

How has this experience impacted your life?

The experience gave me a great appreciation for cultures outside of the US and helped me gain a lot of new perspectives through the conversations I with the locals and other visitors from different European countries. Before this visit I was convinced that America was all I needed, but now I know that there is a lot more out there. My personal goal of expanding my cultural horizons was also greatly built upon during this trip. My educational and career goals have been impacted because I feel that I now have a better understanding of how kinesiology works in other countries and I was able to compare to the US to see what they did better there and what we do better here.

How did you learn about this experience?

I heard about this opportunity through an email from my academic advisor, Jeff Barton.

International Connections