Jena Araojo hails from Virginia, USA and us in Ireland for a semester to Study Abroad. Jena is planning on making the most of her study abroad journey and here she gives us an update on how it is going so far.
“Traveling – it leave your speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
January 13, 2018 I said goodbye to my parents (and yes a few tears were shed), headed to my terminal in Dulles Airport and watched as the plane left American soil. I would be lying if I said I was not as much scared as I was excited. I had been planning for months the clothes I would bring (though I did not bring enough warm sweaters), the cities I would visit on the weekends, and the classes I would take. However like most students who travel abroad for the first time, I started to worry if I would make friends, if I would acclimate to the campus and culture of University of Limerick, and most importantly, if I could make Ireland feel like my home away from home.
But quickly I found my place on campus. When I am not in classes or working on group projects, I am making family dinners with my friends back in Plassey Village, headed to Dolans Pub or the Locke Bar for trad music and a pint, or planning my weekend trips across Ireland and Europe. During the weekday there are fantastic lunchtime concerts in the Allegro Cafe to attend where you can grab a bite to eat and listen to Irish musicians play to their hearts content. If the weather is nice (which frankly is rare), there’s a peacefulness about sitting on the benches on the Living Bridge or taking a walk through the trails. Needless to say, University of Limerick is a great place to study because you have the opportunity to live on a quaint college campus with access to the hustle and bustle of Dublin only hours away.
If you choose to study in Ireland, you are at the gateway for travel; so take on the opportunity to see the world! Travelling across Europe is completely accessible when you have a major International Airport just a few hours away by Dublin Coach. In the 6 weeks I have been abroad, I have already been to most major cities in Ireland and have traveled to both London and Barcelona. Next on my to-visit list includes Belfast, Aran Islands, Manchester, Italy, Budapest, Vienna, and Scotland! So if you are like me and want to jam pack your semester with memories to last a lifetime, consider visiting countries outside of the place you plan to study. Explore a new culture, try new foods, visit the Wonders of the World, and document every moment!
So what would be my greatest piece of advice to a student considering studying abroad? Dive in head first and do not be afraid of the unknown. It is scary at first but then you find your niche on campus and your group of friends who you will do everything with. Integrate yourself with students not just from your own country and say “yes” often. Take a weekend to explore, try the local cuisine, and be ready to probably spend more money than you thought. Because when you leave, you will want to look back knowing you didn’t miss out.
– An Avid Traveler
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