What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
I tell my friends a lot about studying abroad... maybe too much. Anyways, there are a few key points I tell people who are considering going abroad! First, I remind them that one we graduate college, it will become much more difficult to ever find a chance to live abroad for 4 months. Being able to study in a foreign country with new professors is an eye-opening experience that can really enhance your education.
Second, there are scholarships out there to help you travel while you are in college! Once you graduate, you're pretty much on your own. And lastly, I made some friendships in connections in Dublin that I am going to carry with me for a lifetime. My roommate is now my best friend, and I miss my internship coworkers every day.
What was the hardest part about going abroad?
The hardest part for me was being strong enough to leave home. I tend to get very homesick when I am away from home for too long, and I was scared I would not be able to deal with it. The morning before my flight, I woke up at 4 am and cried, laughed, then cried again. I became extra dramatic and could not stop reminding myself that I would not have my mother's home cooked meals for four entire months.
However, once I got on that plane, I felt a sense of accomplishment that I've never felt before. I was not only proud of myself for mustering up this courage, but I was SO excited for what was in store ahead of me. I definitely was not disappointed.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
A lot of people mention their worries about the expenses of studying abroad. I am speaking from experience because that was one of my main concerns before I left. Make sure you budget as well as you can but leave a little wiggle room. I left home with a set amount of money and took out the same amount of Euros each week.
Needless to say, I still spent a lot more than I expected. But remember: It's okay! You are probably going to eat at restaurants much more than you would at home, and travel much more than you would at home. I came to terms with this because I realized that I wanted to soak in as much as possible about my time abroad. As long as you go abroad with some loose money guidelines, it will all work out fine.
What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?
My trip to Dublin is something that I am going to remember my entire life. The Irish people are extremely warm and friendly, and I truly hope I can return to their country sometime soon. This trip gave me an entirely new insight on what I want to do with my future. I always knew that I enjoyed traveling to new countries, but being abroad truly gave me a travel bug.
I interned at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. My coworkers were extremely encouraging and helped me learn a lot about Dublin's role in world economics. I was able to attend networking events with members of various companies, ranging from small businesses to multinationals. This was one of the coolest things I've ever participated in!
I now hope to pursue a career involving foreign affairs and try to show other people the importance of being open-minded.