I know many people that have previously studied abroad and hearing all their awesome experiences persuaded me to come to Ireland for a whole semester. Getting much advice and hearing about all the adventures had abroad, made me feel very overwhelmed because I wanted so badly to have the same amazing semester. Days before leaving for Dublin, I had so many questions and thoughts racing through my head; am I going to have enough money? What kind of food do they eat in Ireland? What will the classes be like? Will I make any friends? And the worst and most frequent one, what am I going to pack? I had a mix of emotions about my trip that was rapidly approaching. I was very excited to see what was waiting for me in Dublin, but I was also nervous for the new lifestyle I was going to have to adapt to.
I was also curious about culture shock and if or when it was going to hit me. I am one who never gets homesick, so I thought maybe I was going to be fine and I would not experience such emotions. But boy was I wrong. It was a few weeks after arriving and I was finally getting adjusted to my new life when I started bawling to my boyfriend on skype. I did not want to tell my parents because I did not want to make them feel bad that I was having such a terrible time. My boyfriend reassured me that I was overreacting and that I was abroad, and that in itself is already pretty awesome. I quickly settled down and realized he was right and that I really was having an amazing time. Through this mental breakdown, I learned that I needed to open up to all the new changes and not focus on the things that I miss or am not yet used to. Now I think of all the qualities I have gained already from being abroad; gaining more independence, being more adventurous, and not taking a day abroad for granted. I am so happy I decided to study abroad in Dublin. I have visited many different places; both inside and outside of Ireland. I still get a little sad from time to time, but with all my new knowledge and outlook on being abroad, I do not let it interfere with my adventures or myself. I cannot believe we are already halfway; I am now realizing why so many people say they did not want to come home.
Kathryn Jamieson is studying abroad is studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland, with the Foundation for International Education (FIE).