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Galway Engineering Alumni Spotlight: Dillon Parrack

March 17, 2020
by CEA MOJO
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Major: Electrical engineering
University: University of Missouri - Columbia
Study abroad location: Galway, Ireland
Term abroad: Summer 2019
Year: I am currently a senior, but I am also a transfer student from another college
Extracurricular activities: I am currently not involved in any extracurricular activities because I am currently handling 30 hours per week at a job to pay bills. The job I work at is at Hy-Vee as a produce clerk. Though I do plan on getting into a few later on. 

What about your CEA program fit your academic needs and interests?

The CEA program I took was the Circuit Theory course in Galway, Ireland. What met my needs is that the course helped complete one of the courses needed for my degree.

As an engineer, did you have any concerns or hesitations before arriving at your study/intern abroad location? What made you confident in your decision to go?

One of the concerns I had going on the trip was not knowing where to go. Everyone from the people back at the school to the CEA team helped me know exactly where I had to be. Once I arrived at the Shannon Airport, the CEA team member helped guide us to where we needed to go. What made me confident was knowing that I could afford it and the excitement of going somewhere new that had breathtaking views.

Did you take any engineering courses abroad? Do you have any tips for balancing the rigor of engineering courses abroad?

The engineering course I took was Circuit Theory. The institution I took it for was Mizzou, and it was taken at the National University of Ireland - Galway. One of the tips I would give to help balance the course is to study hard and study every night throughout the weekdays. Then, after studying, go and enjoy the city. If you study every night throughout the week, and maybe a little on the weekends, then you will get a better grasp of what is going on. If you do this, then you can have more time to enjoy your study abroad city on the weekends without worrying about the course. Managing your time and managing how you study is key.

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Do you have any advice for engineering students who are interested in studying abroad?

The advice I would give for engineers looking to study abroad is that even though a course might be hard, enjoy the time spent in the country where you're studying. Another piece of advice I would give is to save up enough money and budget. In the end, the trip is definitely worth its cost.

Why did you decide to study abroad? 

The reason I decided to study abroad is that it was something I was always wanting to do. For the last several years, I have always wanted to travel to another country and experience life as a local in a new culture. When I first heard about studying abroad, I thought it was great that I could do what I have been wanting to do and get a course knocked out of my academic schedule.

What was a typical day like? Walk us through your day and class routine abroad.

The typical day in Ireland started with me waking up and cooking breakfast. Then around 10 a.m., I would walk about a mile or two to the class at NUI Galway. From there, it would be like a typical day at Mizzou. The teacher would put the notes on the board and we would write them down. At the end of the class, he would give us homework to do overnight. Throughout the weekdays we all would study, read, and do homework. On weekends, we would explore Ireland. There were even several days on the weekends that we would go on trips that our CEA advisor would lead us on. By the end of the day, we would go to our respective dorms and sleep for the night.

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Did you take part in any of the weekend excursions or included activities?

I did participate in all of the activities that were provided. Some that I remember included a boat ride, Trad on the Prom, and the Cliffs of Moher. The boat ride took us down a river in Galway. This showed us various castles that were next to the river and told us about the history of the town. Trad on the Prom is a tap-dancing show that also told some history about Ireland. Then, the Cliffs of Moher is a famous cliff on the edge of Ireland. All of them were neat and showed what Ireland was like.

What were the accommodations like?

The accommodations were great. The dorms were kind of like apartments with a kitchen, a living room, and a couple of bedrooms. The dorm had a key that would unlock and lock the front door. We would each get our key, but each key was special because it would also only lock our bedroom door. This was neat because we can each lock the house, but we can only lock our door. The dorms would also come with everything we needed, except for things like shampoo and toilet paper. Each of us also got our desk to do homework on and study.

What skills have you gained by studying abroad?

The skills I gained while on this trip weren't just from the class I took. I also gained skills in communicating with other people in Ireland, navigating Ireland, and knowing what it's like living in another country. I also gained skills in learning what the money system is like there.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I would say that in Ireland the brands and sizes are a bit ____. I say this so anyone can be prepared when going down to the grocery store and they have to buy the small jar of peanut butter instead of the larger one. However, I also think that this also makes the groceries there seem cheaper, too. I also thought Aldi’s and Dunnes were great stores to get food. Dunnes was also a great place to find supplies.

Dillon Parrack is a CEA alumnus who studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, during Summer 2019. He is currently a student at the University of Missouri - Columbia. 


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