“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.