How to handle culture shock 101:

Kerri is a Study abroad student from the USA. In her blog, Kerri shares how to handle culture shock from the minute you arrive in Ireland. As well as that, she gives her tips on how to make the most of your experience studying abroad!

Let’s start from the first moment you land in Ireland; find people at the airport going to UL! I met so many people right off the bat at immigration and turns out we were all staying in the same village!

We talked the whole bus ride about how excited we were, what we wanted to see, where we wanted to travel, what we didn’t know and so much more. Make the most of that time, don’t be anxious to talk to people, you’re all in this together.

Now you’ve arrived at UL, and you’re getting settled in your village. Meet your roommates and your neighbors. These are the people you’ll be living with for 4 months, be their friend!

I am American, but I have roommates from Malta, France, Switzerland and a different part of the US. Getting to learn about different cultures within the comfort of your own home is such a wonderful experience. We’ve found many ways to bond with each other; we try to cook different types of dishes every week from our respective countries, they teach us phrases in different languages and we teach them American slang.

It can be so easy to stay secluded in a new country with strangers but you should put yourself out there. This is a once in a lifetime experience, make the most of it.

Everyone tells you to dive into the Irish culture by making friends with the Irish. This can be difficult for a number of reasons, many of the Irish students go home on the weekends and you most likely won’t have many classes with them if you are taking immersive classes.

However, you should make the effort to go out on campus or into the city centre during the week while they are here! Not to sound repetitive, but studying abroad will be a truly incredible experience if you put forth the effort to make it incredible.

My last piece of advice is to join all the clubs. Even if you don’t end up being an active member, go to the first gathering and see what it’s about. They hold a recruitment drive for you to sign up – it’s as simple as that.

The hiking club brings you to beautiful views within Ireland, the international society hosts events for people to get together, the surf club brings you to the coasts of Ireland, the skydiving club will bring you skydiving here in Ireland or to the south of France.

Without a doubt join the skydiving club. It’s full of other Irish and international students, and there is no better feeling than jumping out of a plane for the first time by yourself!

I am already halfway through my time abroad here in Ireland and it has been the most enlightening, invigorating, empowering and memorable part of my life. I have made life long friends and memories.

All the nerves, the questions, the anxiety about coming to Ireland vanished once the plane touched the ground. This is going to be the best time of your life, so dive right in and savor it!

Have fun!

Kerri

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