International Studies & Programs

Calista shares good things, bad things and yummy things

Twelve people don’t get close automatically and as we spent our first few weeks getting to know each other, one of my favorite things we did was Pow-Wow-Chow.

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Published: Thursday, 28 Oct 2021 Author: Calista Busch

Busch Cliffs of Moher.jpgThis summer I spent 10 weeks in Dublin, Ireland participating in the Arcadia STEM Summer Research Program. Through this program, I spent my summer working in a lab studying the effect of the gut microbiome on pancreatic and colorectal cancer development. In the future, I hope to pursue a career in cancer research so entering this program my main goal was to gain experience in the lab. I can say now although I had great experiences in the lab and solidified my desire to go into research, the best moments from this summer were the ones I had beyond the laboratory. 

The program consisted of 12 students from 7 universities across America. 12 strangers shoved into two apartments for 10 weeks in a foreign country, all of us with different backgrounds, interests and goals for the program. Things could have gone badly, but somehow, luckily, everything went right and I was able to spend my summer with the best group of people I could have asked for. Twelve people don’t get close automatically and as we spent our first few weeks getting to know each other, one of my favorite things we did was Pow-Wow-Chow. This was a simple icebreaker about the bad (pow), good (wow), and best thing you ate (chow) of your day or week. Now that the summer has ended, here is my last pow-wow-chow about the highs and lows of my summer in Ireland. 

THE POWBusch waterfall in Ireland.jpg
I’m not going to gloss over the summer and pretend everything went perfectly. Being on your own in a foreign country, there are bound to be difficulties and my experience was no exception. Transportation, especially outside of the city center proved to be the biggest challenge - especially due to frequent misinformation by navigation apps. The most notable of which was when a 2-mile hike to a waterfall turned into a 7-mile walk on the side of the road after getting bad directions from apple maps. Although I’ll laugh about it now, and the waterfall was gorgeous, at the moment I was truly missing the ability to hop in a car and drive to any destination that I had in the US.

There’s almost too much good for me to choose from. From seeing the natural wonders of Ireland such as the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway, to exploring the city culture of Dublin, to my first time running an experiment in the lab by myself, I had a summer full of wow moments. Instead of a singular moment, my wow was my ability to get out of my comfort zone this summer to take full advantage of the experience. From cliff walks and hikes to staying in hostels around the country to solo explorations of the city, I was able to gain some of my best memories by getting outside of my comfort zone and taking a chance.

Prior to going to Ireland, one of my biggest worries was the food. I am pescatarian and when looking up traditional Irish food, nearly every meal is meat-based. Having been there, my advice to my past self is not to worry about it. Dublin is a large city and like any city in America, it has a vast variety of food and cultures. In fact, two of the ‘traditional’ foods of Dublin are ones you would never expect - curry chips and spice bags. Despite all of the good food I had in Ireland, my favorite meal was the potluck celebration we had for the fourth of July. We grilled burgers, played traditional American music (i.e. Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus) and tried to bring a little bit of home to Ireland. 

Name: Calista Busch
Status: Senior
Major: Genomics and Molecular Genetics (LBC)
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Program: Arcadia University Summer STEM Research in Dublin, Ireland