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The Joy of Studying Abroad

Katrina Agnitti ‘19

Staff Writer

 

When going to college you are able to try new things that maybe you didn’t have the chance to do in high school. Maybe you would like to try a new club sport, join the finance club or maybe even join the school newspaper. The first month of my freshman year at Merrimack College, I attended a study abroad fair. From then on, I knew I wanted to study abroad. I ended up picking Dublin, Ireland, as the city to spend the spring semester of my junior year.

My semester abroad was one the best times in my life. I was able to travel to a foreign country, experience a new culture and learn about myself. When I first stepped off the plane in the Dublin airport, I was greeted with so any friendly faces. I instantly knew that it was going to a good semester.

Experiencing a new culture is something that I have always been interested in doing. While exploring Ireland I was fascinated with the pretty views and the gorgeous greenery. One of my favorite parts about living there for four months was being able to hike Ireland’s countryside. There is nothing like being able to spend a day outdoors where you can randomly cross paths with dozens of sheep. Other than hiking, Ireland has so much to offer. There are plenty of places to shop, eat and explore countless museums. Before I went to Ireland I had not idea what type of food was popular besides the classic meat and potatoes. However, I quickly learned that Ireland has the best beef I have ever tasted. There is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a pure Irish beef burger.

While living in Ireland I was also able to travel around Europe, too. It is crazy to think that during my abroad semester I was able to do weekend trips to other surrounding countries. I distinctly remember standing on top of the Eiffel Tower, looking over Paris and thinking to myself, “this does not feel real right now.” It is moments like that when I felt like I was living a dream.

Traveling is fun, but it also takes lots of planning and patience. I learned to be independant and get myself from one point to another. There was one time that I missed my flight from London to Dublin due to an accident on the highway. That was probably the most stressful time abroad. Thankfully, I was able to get on the next flight.

Aside from the traveling and enjoying new experiences I was able to take classes and participate in an internship that benefited me both academically and professionally. I took all classes in my communication major and interned at a non-profit that promoted education for people that either dropped out of or want to continue education. It was a great feeling helping people return to education and get back on their feet.

Overall, I would suggest participating in a study abroad program. It is great way to learn about oneself and other cultures. After my study abroad semester I felt humbled by what I had experienced. It made my appreciate the fact that I was able to partake in this opportunity. It is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.