Five ways that study abroad changed my life
Do you tend to stay in your comfort zone, fear failure and avoid taking risks? Do you want to strive to become more outgoing and sure about yourself? If the answer is “yes” then you should read this post and consider studying abroad in Ireland! Lim Yew Chuan, our IT Sligo and Malaysian Ambassador takes us through five ways his study abroad experience has been life-changing…
When you are studying abroad you are not only far away from home and family, you are totally out of your comfort zone – there is a saying “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and having experienced study abroad, I couldn’t agree more!
Suddenly I’ve become more disciplined and far less reliant on other people. My friend procrastination is no longer hanging around and I have learnt to prioritise and manage my time more effectively. Planning and budgeting for my weekly grocery shopping is no longer a chore. Prior to starting my IT Sligo adventure, I never had to make my own meals back in Malaysia. Whisper it quietly but now I’ve become more than a competent cook!
Improving language and communication skills
As you all know, English is the first language here in Ireland. If you can’t speak perfect English before you study abroad, it’s okay! Why? As an international student yourself, you will be living with Irish and international students. This is the best way to immerse yourself in student life and to practice your English on a daily basis. Practice makes perfect! Whilst people will correct you from time to time, don’t worry about making a mistake! This is all part and parcel of the learning process! As my language and communication skills have improved, so too have my confidence levels.
Making international friends
In Ireland, there is a European Union (EU) student exchange programme called Erasmus + and since being here I’ve had the opportunity to meet many European students from different cultural backgrounds, not to mention the very many non-EU international students at IT Sligo also. I now have a network of friends which span the globe! I have learnt how to work with them, understand their culture and respect their beliefs. This is a life skill which will serve me well in my future career path. Studying abroad is not just about academic achievement. Yes, no doubt academia is important but I’ve also been accepted into a diverse student community consisting of over 45 different nationalities.
- Watch the video ‘East meets west: how to make friends with other international students’ for more tips
Gain a different experience
At IT Sligo I have discovered new people, embraced a new cultures and even tried new sporting activities. I have truly broadened my horizons! I’m already creating memories that will last a lifetime. Studying abroad is not only about pursuing education inside the classroom. What happens outside of the classroom really matters also.
My advice to study abroad students is simply this: take the opportunity to learn how to be flexible and adaptable with groups. You will learn how to balance work and play! When you are exposed to new experiences and challenges, you will learn to see the world from a different perspective. I know I have!
Able to adapt different environment and lifestyle
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is learning to adapt to the Irish climate. It truly can be four seasons in one day. Some people like it, some people don’t. Talking about the weather is a national pastime in Ireland. If you can adapt to the Irish weather you can adapt to almost anything, trust me!
During my study abroad experience, I have learnt to observe how people from different cultures spend their time, what they usually do and how they do it. The people around me, my new student friends, they have begun to change my lifestyle for the better. My old bad habits have slowly begun to disappear and I feel my study abroad experience in Ireland and at IT Sligo in particular has given me the confidence to truly embrace this once in a lifetime opportunity! #SligoWhoKnew