Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Studying Abroad

I've been in Northern Ireland for over a month, and I was loving every bit of it up until two weeks ago. Some of my past health complications came up again and it's been a really difficult time figuring out how to get better when I'm in an unfamiliar country with doctors who I've never worked with before. During a time like this, I'm reminded again and again how lucky I am to have such supportive friends and family. I've been so caught up in the moment of things that sometimes I forget to Skype my parents or respond back to a Facebook message from a friend, but when going through a time like this, I've been constantly responding to just about every single message and even reaching out to those who I know can help and support me.

I think when people talk about studying abroad, people always say "It's the best five months of your life!" But, what sometimes people are missing is that study abroad may have its ups, but it also has its downs. You're in a whole new country without any familiar faces, and it's really the first glimpse of what the real world is like. Friends and family back home are always around, but you have to adjust to the time difference (for me, 5 hours) and the fact that they aren't just a text or phone call away anymore, unless you sign up for an international phone plan.

At a time like this, it's frustrating because of the above reasons and also because you start doubting things, mainly yourself. You kind of think to yourself, Is it all going to be worth it in the end? Am I able to push through some obstacles? I've always dreamed about studying abroad in Ireland because well, just look at the country. It's beautiful! The locals here are very friendly and my friends I've made here at university are awesome. Being in Northern Ireland also gives me the opportunity to easily travel to European countries. I've already visited Copenhagen with Merrill and Alex, two of my friends from Saint Mike's, and I am planning on traveling with Alex over spring break to Madrid, Rome, Milan, Amsterdam, and London. 

There are so many things to look forward to with this experience, and there's already so many great things that I've already experienced. This, to me, is hopefully a minor speed bump along my journey abroad.

On a lighter note, here are some updates of my abroad experience:


On the search for the pot of gold

A wee bit of our family dinner

Spending Valentine's Day with all of these cool people

Because Frozen is awesome, so why not pretend to be in the movie?

Copenhagen with Merrill, Alex, and Bizzy!          

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