As the end of her semester at the University of Limerick approaches, Jenna Steadman reflects on all the opportunities she may never have had if it hadn’t been for her semester in Ireland. Apply to Study Abroad in Ireland for free now.
Studying abroad was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. When I missed out on high school exchange programs I knew that studying abroad in university is just something I HAD to do. I know this decision isn’t as easy for many others as is was for me. But, looking back now that I’m nearing the end of my study abroad term I’m able to reflect on everything I may have never experienced if I stayed at my home university.
1. Exploring Ireland
While this one might be the most obvious, it’s certainly one of the most important points. During my study abroad term I’ve been able to see many different parts of Ireland by bus, train, and by foot. I’ve seen the beaches, the cliffs, the fields of green and everything in between. I’ve ventured up to Northern Ireland and seen the Giant’s Causeway and I’ve enjoyed street food in the market in Galway. There is still so much of Ireland I haven’t seen, but I’m happy to have done what I have done.
2. Exploring the World
Travel is expensive. I’m not saying studying abroad is cheap, but it’s worth every penny. Being abroad has allowed me to visit a number of nearby countries including Scotland, England, France, Northern Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. Flights alone to each of these places from my home country would have added to more than I’ve spent on my entire study abroad experience, hands down. Country hopping is so much easier when you have a nearby place to call home!
[Find out more about European travel from UL students]
3. Meet New Friends From All Over the World
My student housing paired me up with 7 other students, all of whom aren’t from my home country. I’ve also met new friends from all parts of the world in my classes, in clubs, and at other events. I’m happy to say if I ever went to Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Ireland, the U.S.A. or even to other parts of Canada I would have a friend I could meet up with and stay with. Do I plan on visiting these friends and continue to explore the world? ABSOLUTELY.
4. I Wouldn’t Be As Self-Confident
Let me boast a little here and say that studying abroad has helped my self-confidence a lot. I have no doubt I could navigate a foreign country anymore. I’m not scared to study abroad somewhere else in the world simply because I’ve learned to adapt. I’ve been able to plan my own trips, organize my own life, and do whatever I wanted to while still managing the demands of school and life. Studying abroad has allowed me to grow in ways I didn’t even think were possible.
5. Pushed my Limits
It’s easy to get caught in the comfort and routine of home. When you’re abroad it’s completely up to you to meet new people, join new cubs, do new things and it’s a little scary sometimes. Studying abroad practically forces you to step up and stand out. I wouldn’t have survived if I didn’t try new things.
6. Fallen in Love
It’s not what you’re thinking. I’ve fallen in love with Ireland and it will forever hold a special place in my heart. I love looking at the distance and seeing endless green hills, sheep covering the fields, stumbling upon castle ruins, casually enjoying at pint at any hour of the day and the craic of a local trad session. If I didn’t study here I’m not sure I ever would have visited Ireland, but now it’s something I could never forget.
So, if you’re doubting studying abroad, just do it. It may be the best decision you will ever make; it certainly was for me!
Jenna Steadman is a Study Abroad student at the University of Limerick, from Ontario, Canada. Read her Beginner’s Guide To Weekend Trips and 28 Irish Slang Words You Need to Know. Check out her personal Study Abroad blog: Steady As She Goes (Abroad!)
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