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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Cyan Oelklaus '21

Colorado Springs, CO

Major in Creative Writing, Minors in Studio Art and French

Cyan’s study abroad program allowed her to explore storytelling and playwriting in an Irish setting, and find some direction in her career path.

Cyan Oelklaus '21 studied creative writing in Dublin, Ireland through the Writer's Program.

Describe your study abroad program. 

I studied abroad fall term in Dublin, Ireland at the IES Dublin Writers Program. There I studied writing and storytelling in a variety of forms at the program’s learning center. The classes I took included: Irish Playwriting, Immersion Writing, Irish Short Story, Visual Storytelling, and Exploring Gothic Ireland. In all of my classes we read written works by Irish authors, new and old, while learning how to create pieces of our own that utilized the typical conventions of that literary style. I chose this program because I wanted a bit more direction in my career path that began with a desire to work in the publishing industry. I always had an idea that I wanted to work internationally within that field, but I needed to make connections abroad and better my writing skills. 

What were some highlights from your time abroad?

The writers program has a week-long trip called The Writers Retreat where all of us in my program were whisked away to a secret, breathtakingly beautiful location where we were encouraged to let our creative juices flow freely and share them with our peers. It was an excellent bonding experience for all of us writers and it opened our eyes to how we can be inspired wherever we find ourselves. Another highlight of mine was spending Halloween in Dublin. My teachers loved sharing local traditions that surround the holiday such as the eating of Barmbrack bread and teaching us about the historic locations that we could visit. 

What was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience? 

I learned how to thrive independently. Living in a student apartment, I was often facing situations in which I needed to take charge and make decisions for myself. I learned how to use the bus system in the city to get me where I needed to go. I had to ask for help when I needed it. I needed to decide what activities I needed to prioritize and when it was best to accomplish them. I truly found myself a home in Dublin.

How did Knox help you study abroad?

Aside from the prior English courses I’ve taken at Knox, I was most prepared financially through the school. I am a part of the lucky class that is allowed to apply for the Power of Experience Grant. I applied for the full $2,000, and used all of it for my food and transportation expenses. Without scholarships like that I would most likely not have been able to go abroad.   

At Knox, Cyan is a part of Enharmonic Fire and the Knox Equestrian Team.

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Printed on Sunday, June 16, 2024