Angie is an MA Journalism student from the US who returned to University of Limerick after her Study Abroad semester. Here, she tells us her story of finding love while studying abroad, and her top tips for dealing with long distance relationships. Read to the end for some surprise news!
I first came to UL as an exchange student in 2014.
In April, I got the news that I would be studying abroad starting in September. While I had lived in Canada when I was 17-18, I was a bit nervous about going overseas and living very far away from family. It’s natural to be nervous.
With the wonderful invention of the internet, you can find information about all the travel destinations and meet people from around the world. One day that summer, I went on social media and posted that I was going to UL in September for an academic year and wanted a pen pal from UL to talk to and get to know about the school before I got there. I got a response from a guy named Eoin. He introduced himself. He was going into third year of a B.Sc. in Energy. I introduced myself. I was also going into third year, but I was studying Communications. We spoke every day and we considered each other good friends. Hearing from him always brightened my day and whenever I felt down, he would cheer me up. I was looking forward to meeting him.
I got to Ireland on September 2 and moved into my accommodation. Wow, did I have a lot of stuff. Don’t be a clotheshorse like me. That same day, Eoin was moving into his accommodation. After I was done unpacking, I messaged Eoin and we saw each other in person for the first time. Usually when a student comes from far away they fall ill and I was no exception. On top of that, I was stressed out because of all the adjustments. Eoin was always there for me and we spent pretty much every day together. Exactly three weeks after I arrived in Ireland, Eoin and I officially called each other boyfriend and girlfriend.
I stayed in Ireland from September to June. My parents wanted to meet Eoin and they invited him to come with me to the States. We had a blast going to Universal Studios. We were lucky to spend a lot of time together. We knew that when I had to go back to America to finish my last year of university that we were going to stay together. We are in love. We will plan to live together once again.
That year and some we spent apart was one of the most difficult times in my life. As soon as Eoin went home, I’m going to be honest, I cried. Talking with him on Facetime helped me. We would chat at least once a week. We talked about how we would live together and looked into all the options. Ultimately, we decided that me moving back to Limerick was the best choice and here I am, halfway into a Masters.
Fast forward to the present and Eoin is now my fiancé. We proposed to each other in January during a trip to London.
What are some tips for those who fall in love while studying abroad?
- Communicate! This is my top tip. If you’re only going to remember one tip, remember this one. Communication is important in any relationship: romantic, platonic, professional, whatever. Come up with a schedule and figure out what times to talk are the most convenient. Write letters, send care packages. Eoin and I would buy each other food deliveries from our favourite restaurants. Support each other. Figure out which apps work best for communication. Facetime, Whatsapp, Skype, you decide.
- Make plans for the future. A long-distance relationship works best when there is a plan to live together. It doesn’t have to be short term. Think of that goal.
- Visit each other when possible and prioritise it. This will probably be easier for those on Erasmus, lucky you, you have Ryanair! Overseas flights can be expensive, but shop smart and plan smart.
- Trust each other. Trust is so important in a relationship. Be honest with each other.
- You have your own life too. Focus on your life and make it the best you can: career, education, hobbies, whatever makes you happy. Enjoy your alone time. As much as you love your partner, you need time apart.
Best of luck!
Huge thanks to Angie for sharing her story, and her exciting news! Check out this other UL Love Story while you’re here!