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How my choice to study abroad changed my life

July 19, 2018 | By | One Comment

“Studying abroad for one’s full degree is a unique, unforgettable occurrence. It opens one’s heart, mind, and is an enriching experience for any student seeking adventure.” Sydney Turner, our ​University​ College Dublin​ Ambassador, shares how study abroad has changed her life…

For a 17 year old girl who spent most of her life growing up in a tiny town outside of San Francisco, California, making the choice to study abroad was a big one. I knew the bumps and cracks in the sidewalks from all directions of my house; the traffic patterns for every time of the day; the best restaurants to dine at and the best hiking trails to walk along. Ordinary life, right? And that is exactly what I wanted to change.

The two main reactions I get when I tell others I’m studying abroad as for my full college education: Some think I’m super smart– and some think I’m completely, utterly insane. Here I was, moving my life halfway across the globe, to live and study in Europe. Not knowing a soul here, not even visiting the campus beforehand. But it turns out, I just needed to have a little faith that everything would fall into place and work itself out!

Granted, the ultimate goal of anyone’s time in university is to get the degree but what I discovered to be just as important is the freedom that independence give you. Having the chance to explore and embrace a new environment is amazing. There are moments when I’m staring out the window of a Dublin Bus or walking around the Temple Bar District with cobblestones beneath my feet that I randomly get reminded that I am living in a brand new country. It’s such a odd concept to me, it still doesn’t feel like it’s actually real.

Being a full time international student is certainly the road less travelled, but it’s funny how life works out. I didn’t want just twelve weeks of being in a new environment and then leaving. I wanted to capture the whole experience, rather than just a bit of it; to share, to look back on and remember. I see my decision of moving to Ireland as a  vital part of my life plan because that is essentially what life is, one big drawn-out adventure. I’ve fallen in love with this country; its culture, its music, its people, more than I ever would have ever thought. I’ve never had to think of being homesick, because my home is in Dublin, it’s where I belong, and now it’s what I love and know.

Find out more about studying abroad in Ireland and your options on the Education in Ireland website


  1. Helen Yang

    Dear Sydney,

    I read your blog and really love this sentence “Granted, the ultimate goal of anyone’s time in university is to get the degree but what I discovered to be just as important is the freedom that independence give you.” what is same with mine 🙂

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