Ever since Alabama introduced me to the idea when I toured, I have wanted to study abroad. Sophomore spring is the perfect time, because I have made some great friends, but my classes aren’t so hard that it would be impossible to enjoy a new country. Ireland was one of the only areas that had civil engineering classes (besides England and Germany), but luckily I had wanted to go there since the beginning. Luckily, my scholarship covered the majority of the costs too! I did have to make sure I would enjoy the culture enough and that they had all my classes, but once I checked those off, I was set on UCD.

  I have had to say bye to most of my friends and family which is tough, but I know the experience will be well worth it. I am just reminding myself that they will still be my friends when I am back, and that I will make new ones in my host country. I of course have to plan out what shoes and clothes I want, but it is kind of exciting trying to pick out what I can’t live without. I’ll be bringing my sense of courage and tranquility to face new situations, because it will be stressful, but that’s how a person grows.

  I created a list to make sure I have every item I need and have done every task to prepare. I have to alert banks of my departure, register with STEP, and just tie up any loose ends. There is a lot to do, but I will be done soon and off on my adventure.

  I have had a whirlwind of emotions the past few weeks: I am nervous for the culture shock, I am excited to try new foods, I am sad I will leave my friends and Alabama, I am thrilled I will live somewhere else for 4 months, I am anxious classes will be tough, but overall I am ready to go. I have just been reminding myself that stepping outside of my comfort zone is the most exciting part.

  I hope that getting thrust into a new culture will help open my eyes to the world around me. I love the United States, and this country will always be my home, but there is a whole world out there to explore. I can’t wait to see the lifestyle of the locals and converse with them. Seeing natural wonders that I can’t see here, as well as the unique culture of Dublin will be thrilling.

  I am just thankful the university has provided me this opportunity.