Just in case you need some more reasons to decide to study abroad in Ireland, Xin Yi Joyce Lee, from Maynooth University, shares six ways being an international student has changed her life…
You become a lot more independent
When you embark on a new life in a country with no support system so far from home, you will inevitably face many challenges. The only way to overcome them is to actually face them and take responsibility. This comes in all forms – from small things like getting your weekly groceries and dealing with your malfunctioning laptop, to managing your finances and progressing your English language skills.
You get the privilege to start anew
Being abroad liberates you from any confines, social pressures or expectations you may have experienced in your home country. This means you are free to be yourself, and the chance to leave all those insecurities behind. This gives you a fresh start in life, and one can always use this opportunity and take advantage to better yourself – personally and professionally.
You learn to ask for help (and discover it is not a bad thing)
I used to almost never ask for help when I was at home because most of the time people – like my friends and family – were so easily within reach it meant that very seldom I would be stuck in a situation where I had ask for assistance from a stranger. It is different here, especially when you are just starting to familiarise yourself with new surroundings. It makes sense to ask for help, not to mention how this act can also strengthen your communication skills. Fortunately, the locals here are always very generous and so far everyone I have spoken has always offered help without asking for anything in return.
You learn to embrace cultural diversity
You will meet many new people throughout in your college/university life here, and most of them would be of a different ethnicity and cultural background than yourself. If you find it uncomfortable to approach a local or another international student, an easy way to ease into a conversation is to ask about their background. There will be always be a few things about cultural diversity that you can’t read from a book, so get to know them while you can, and people here are mostly very nice!
You will catch the adventure bug
Whether it is travelling locally or around Europe, I find that students here are enthusiastic about exploring while they are away from home. Since being here, I have learned to plan and manage trips, find my way around unfamiliar places and harness courage to do things I normally wouldn’t do. This adventurous spirit is infectious and can sometimes become addictive once you have succeeded, so start taking every opportunity to experience as much as you can while you are still abroad.
You learn to see beauty around you
This is a very unexpected quality I have picked up along my time here. When you have been away from home for a period of time and you have seen so much from a living abroad, you will return home with a fresh perspective on your country. This also comes from embracing diversity. You will find beauty in your culture and country that you might never noticed before leaving home. I used to find old buildings from my home dreary and in need of an upgrade, or how unsanitary street vendors are, but after coming home from my time abroad, I have come to realise these things represent our national identity, and that it sets it apart from every other country around the world.