Danielle Bryant studied abroad with ISA in Galway, Ireland Summer 2014. Danielle was an ISA Global Ambassador before graduating from Evangel University in May 2016. Danielle is working towards a career transition into the field of international education, which was inspired by her time abroad. She says, “It is so important to me that every student has access to opportunities to immerse themselves and learn from a culture different than their own, and I hope to be able to help make that a possibility for so many young people in the future.“
We reached out to learn more about Danielle’s story!
How did your time abroad in Galway influence you, both personally and professionally?
My time abroad helped me to find confidence not only in myself, but in what I wanted to do with my life. I was able to travel and study with my best friend, but it also helped me to better understand who I was as an individual. It was the first time I had taken a big trip without my family, which pushed me into learning how to function better as an independent person. I am not traditionally a risk-taker, so proving to myself that I could make a big decision like studying abroad and that I could really thrive in that new environment was important for my personal growth.
Professionally, it solidified the desire to work in international education. It is so important to me that every student has access to opportunities to immerse themselves and learn from a culture different than their own, and I hope to be able to help make that a possibility for so many young people in the future. My time as a Global Ambassador gave me the opportunity to work with other students who were interested in studying abroad, along with the opportunity to represent ISA at a study abroad fair here in Missouri. I hope that I can one day have the impact on someone else that the ISA staff I encountered along the way (Program Advisors, Resident Directors, and the Alumni Relations Team) have impacted me in both my personal and professional journeys.
What tips do you have for students looking to make the most out of their time abroad?
I would encourage students to step outside of their comfort zones. Interact with locals: ask them their favorite spots to go and what makes your host city special in their eyes. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but don’t feel like you have to fill every second of your time abroad with activities. Take some time to just “be” and to fully take in what the city has to offer.
Tell us about your experience returning to Galway! How did it feel different? How about similar?
Galway will always feel like home. I knew it from the second I first stepped off of the bus at our Gort na Coiribe apartment in 2014 and I felt it still when I got to show my family around the city in 2019. Some things had changed, of course: shops had come and gone, the weather was a bit colder, the Trad band playing at the King’s Head pub was new, and the ferry ride to the Aran Islands was much less smooth in April than it was when I first visited Galway with ISA in June 2014. Many things, however, felt exactly the same. From the kindness of the locals to the overwhelming sense of home and safety, the beauty of the city, and joy of sitting in a local pub listening to music. No matter how long the time in between my visits is, a piece of me will always be in Galway. It was wonderful to be able to show my parents and my grandfather around the city that I love so dearly, and to watch them fall in love with it too.
What do you do as the Director’s Assistant at the Assemblies of God National Office?
I am currently the administrative assistant to the Director of Christian Education and Discipleship at the AG National Office. My role falls into a few different buckets: part scheduler, part project manager and part event planner. I work alongside the director to ensure that we are creating the best resources for AG leaders across the country, and serving them well by providing assistance and training to them when needed.
What is your favorite part of your job? What’s the most challenging?
I transitioned into this role officially in September 2020 from another department within our building. The most challenging part has also been the most rewarding. I learned a new role in the midst of a pandemic and have helped to create new processes and resources to fit into the world we currently live in due to COVID. It has been a wonderful learning experience and the skills I am learning and improving upon will help me in my future endeavors as I move towards a career in international education.
What inspired you to take continued courses through FutureLearn? Any advice for those interested, but unsure how to start?
I decided to take courses through FutureLearn initially because I wanted to try and learn the Irish language. I attended a short course during my time abroad at NUI Galway, but that was over six years ago and I didn’t remember as much as I would have liked. I found an Irish 101 course on FutureLearn and decided to try! FutureLearn offers free courses from universities all over the world. I am in the middle of my second and third courses, and it has been a great way for me to further my studies and make the most of the extended time at home. My only advice would be to find a subject you enjoy and jump right in. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and learn something new. There is no better time than now!
Inspired by Danielle’s journey and want to discover your own while immersing yourself in an abroad experience? Fill out your details below to let our team know and we’ll help you find your adventure today!