Zoey Sherman

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

Overall Experience

I had the most amazing study abroad experience in Ireland! It was a two-week experience with Iowa State students and an Iowa State professor. We spent about a week in Dublin and a second week traveling along Ireland's western and southern coasts. Ireland has such a rich culture and history that we learned about. Through experiences with professionals in Kinesiology and talking with athletes, we learned how important sport is in Ireland to their culture. It was cool to compare the traditions and culture in Ireland to the US and also find ways that we are similar. Ireland is a beautiful country with many scenic destinations. I made great friendships within my group and was very lucky to have this incredible experience I will never forget.

Learning experience

Something very valuable to learn was how important sports are to Irish culture. Compared to the United States, sports last throughout most of their lives, while here, we stop playing sports early on. Sport in Ireland is more about culture, being social, and the bond they share with their teammates and home villages. Athletes stay on their home club team their entire lives and never get traded or transferred to a different team. I believe that if American sports were looked at as a lifelong activity, we would have many health benefits.

Memorable experience

The most memorable experience was the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin Cliff walk. This was a 5-mile hike from the town of Doolin to the top of the Cliffs of Moher. This was the one activity that I was most excited about before we went, and it did not disappoint! It was a really fun hike with amazing views. The cliffs are surrounded by farmland, so we also saw cows and sheep grazing on the cliffs, which was fun.

What did you not expect?

When we visited the physiotherapist, he took us through all the stages he takes a patient through in their recovery process. The last one is the maintenance phase; in the US, therapists usually make sure patients have exercises to continue to do. Still, there is no accountability for them to do them. The physio we visited allows previous patients to get a membership to use the clinic to exercise during maintenance. This provides accountability for the patient to keep the strength they gained during therapy and prevents re-injury. This was a unique method, and I will take this information with me when I become a physical therapist.

What advice would you give?

Go for it, and don't let your fears and reservations stop you from studying abroad. I was anxious about being in a different country for the first time without my family or people I knew, but it was a great experience. When you are there, make sure you do everything you want to do because you will regret it if you don't. Just have fun and if you are with a group spend a lot of time with them. My group pretty much went everywhere together, even during our free time, and we all got really close.

How has this experience impacted your life?

This experience was life-changing! It opened my eyes to how much culture and beauty there is outside of the US. We went to lectures, learned from a strength and conditioning coach for their high-level athletes, and visited a physiotherapy clinic where we learned how they rehabilitate their patients compared the the states. I liked how the physio we met focused on the maintenance phase after the patient leaves therapy. This is a really important step that does not get focused on as much in the clinic I've been to in Iowa. I will take the knowledge about kinesiology that I learned in Ireland on to finish my degree at Iowa State and my future career as a physical therapist. Ireland has always been a bucket-list place I wanted to go to for my personal goals. I enjoy hiking and seeing nature. I saw beautiful cliffs, the ocean, and pretty beaches with seaside towns. I also made close friendships with my group. We all got so close, and now I have many more connections in my major for the next couple of years at Iowa State.

How did you learn about this experience?

I learned about this experience when our professor, Dr. Franke, spoke to one of my freshmen-year classes about the trip. Before coming to Iowa State, I knew I wanted to study abroad, and this was the perfect opportunity to study abroad while still having time for a summer job or internship. I liked being in a group of Iowa State students led by a professor. This was my first time out of the US so this aspect made me feel safe traveling abroad.

International Connections