Wondering what it feels like to jump on a plane to embark on a study abroad adventure and leave home for the very first time? Leran Qin is from China and a student at Maynooth University and in this blog she shares her experience…

After 23 years of life, this is the first time I have left home, far away from home. There is seven hour time difference between Ireland and China, increasing to eight hours in winter time, and it took me approximately 18 hours to fly here! The numbers leave no doubt that choosing to study abroad was a huge step for me and a massive life decision.

I have to admit that I was really excited when I decided to study abroad. It was a brand new experience for me to leave my parents. Since I was a child, my whole life has been arranged by my parents. Which school I should go to, which subjects I should focus on, which major I should choose, even whether I should go abroad, they have been fully in charge. I don’t know if I am right, but from my point of view, most of Chinese parents like to make decisions for their children under the name of love, and so did my parents.

Without my parents, my life went well during the first few months… until I got into panic in the beginning of March. I became stressed not because I wasn’t able to deal with things such as house work or cooking but because I was confused about my future.

I am doing the taught master in Maynooth University and it is a one-year program, which means I will need to find a job in the very near future. And also, my room on campus dormitory would be due on the beginning of June, that is to say I need to find another place to stay in case I become a homeless.

Suddenly, I just felt so stressed and confused. I felt lost, like I was standing in the middle of ocean, I didn’t know where to go for help or advice. That was the first time I felt totally at sea, so to speak. “I can’t give up!”, I told myself. There still are lots of assignments need to be done, there is dissertation of my course, and more important, there is me, only myself.

So… what did I do? I began searching for apartments. I researched online, I went to visit the landlords and to see the house. I made my own decisions quickly. And all the encouragement I got is from the nice and kind Irish people around me really made a difference. Landlords were willing to help and give me advice too. My classmates were so helpful in regards to my coursework, and the friends I met here were willing to help me with my study.

Just because of this fantastic country and wonderful Irish people, I really feel that growing up is not that hard, to be myself and to in charge my life is not hard. And these days, with the good weather, my life is fulfill with energy again.

I want to say that study abroad is really a great idea to experience growth, and to learn not to bend down to life when frustration comes. And Ireland, is really a good choice to everyone who wants to study abroad.