I’ve heard it said that for something new to begin, something else must end, at least for a while. For me, it was giving up the comfort and security of home in order to explore a new country, meet new people, and encounter new ideas. Studying abroad is an adventure that takes risk and no small amount of courage. For me this means employing self-reliance, tenacity, and a willingness to face challenges. When I left the comforts of my own country, it was difficult to know what I would encounter while away from home. The challenges that I faced during my first weeks might at first seem quite insignificant, but during this adjustment period, even the smallest successes seemed like large accomplishments.
In a foreign country and away from home, it is easy to doubt your own courage and question whether you are prepared for this journey. Some days, home is all you can think about — hugs from your family, eating your favorite food, or just sitting on your own couch. However, these temporary longings are partnered with times when you completely understand why you chose to take this journey. Without giving up the comforts of home, at least for a while, I would have never heard and seen the amazingly wonderful and beautiful things I have already experienced in my first four weeks in Ireland. Things are coming together, and people and places are beginning to seem familiar. I am starting to realize that I can call this place home while I am here.
After a month in Ireland, I can honestly say that the challenges of studying abroad have been worth the friendships, experiences, and beautiful scenery. I have visited the Cliffs of Moher overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the southcentral region of Ireland and Giant’s Causeway on the north coast of Northern Ireland, and of course, my temporary home, Galway, Ireland. Although there are many rainy nights and sprinkles throughout most days, the green grass, sunshine, and rainbows are lovely to witness. Despite the cold wind on my outings, I have been blessed with lovely days to view the beauty of Ireland. The image of the sun’s rays peeking through the cliffs as the seagulls fly in and out of the sunlight and the ocean’s waves crashing against the rocks will remain in my mind for a long time.
Of all the adventures that have been a part of this journey so far, I count meeting new people and making many new wonderful friendships as my greatest blessing. I am so grateful to have formed these relationships as they have helped Galway feel more like home. I have also been blessed with wonderful professors who have a genuine interest in their areas of study and whose passion is to share their knowledge with students. In one of my courses called “Literacy and Learning in the Community,” we study the different ways that people learn and strategies for improving memory and study methods. We then have the opportunity to apply our knowledge as we help students in a homework club at a local school. I am enjoying learning alongside other students and feeling integrated into the Galway community through my connections at the school.
Although I do not know where my next destination will be, I look forward to adding more experiences to my unique and rewarding adventure. I look forward to discovering the path the Lord has prepared for me and continuing to learn about myself and others through my adventures!
Last modified: February 12, 2018