Greetings from Across the Sea: Sammie Marzi ’23 on Studying Abroad

Grace Bromage ’23


For many Holy Cross students, this is the first semester where they can fully experience campus life: the rush of students in between classes in Stein Hall, the mental scramble to study for in-person exams, and the struggle to find a table in Kimball at 6 p.m. on chicken parm night. For many students, this semester also marks a resurgence in study abroad programs. According to the Study Abroad Office, there are 23 programs running with 80 students abroad this semester. Last semester, only 16 students studied abroad across 4 programs.

I spoke to one student, Sammie Marzi ’23, about her experience studying abroad at University College Cork in Ireland. Marzi is planning to spend the full year abroad, but will only be at University College Cork for the fall semester. She plans to spend her second semester abroad in South Africa.

At University College Cork, Marzi takes six classes that typically meet for an hour once a week. While Holy Cross has returned to in-person, about half the classes that Marzi takes remain hybrid. This allows for the University College Cork to accommodate large class sizes, like the 350 person microbiology class Marzi is enrolled in.

Marzi’s course work in Cork is far different from her experience at Holy Cross. While many people here are accustomed to an essay or exam once a month, Marzi says that in Cork, she has “two essays a semester, one midways through and one 3000 word essay at the end.” These assignments are worth more of her grade, with one of her classes having a final essay worth 70% of her grade. As for the daily readings and homework, she says that “there are very few required readings, so it’s up to you how much effort you want to put in. It’s more self-paced and up to you how much you want to prepare for essays.”

She did admit that going to the University College Cork was “a bit of a culture shock” but that everyone had been “very welcoming.” The school has many beginner level sports teams that makes getting involved in campus sports easy. There are also international student get-togethers, which Marzi has taken part in. Overall, she’s found it to be “a good situation.”

Photo Courtesy of Sammie Marzi ’23

While Ireland does have higher vaccination rates, Marzi still has observed many restrictions, especially with travelling to continental Europe. Still, she has enjoyed her time traveling within Ireland, saying that “we’ve done a few just day excursions in towns around Cork. It’s really easy and cheap to just take a train for the day.” Marzi has also found herself enjoying the city of Cork itself, saying “Cork is nice and small and still has a lot going on. It’s very safe for a city.” When we spoke, her favorite place she traveled to was the Cliffs of Moher, but since then she has also visited Blarney Castle and Kinsale, an Irish town.

I asked if she had anything else she wanted to say to the people back at Holy Cross, to which she said “I hope Worcester is treating you all well.” 

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