At the end of my trip to Ireland, I didn’t want to leave. All of these new things were beginning to feel normal. Instead of being nervous for activities I began to feel exhilarated. Being out of my comfort zone was no longer as stressful as before. Unfortunately, that all started as I had to leave. Though I was more mentally prepared for the flight home, I was still miserable. That feeling lasted longer than I expected. I eventually began to settle into normal life after some time but my transition home was harder than I expected.
Of all the things I learned while abroad, one thing impacted me most. I learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. While there were some stressful moments, I learned that I was much more capable than I had previously thought. Getting out of your comfort zone is essential to growth and this was an excellent example of that. I came home feeling powerful and confident! I felt like if I could hold my own in a foreign place for 16 days then I could do anything. I learned to feel more comfortable in unfamiliar places and situations. In addition, I had a new perspective on things. I saw how other people operated and thrived and compared that to our culture. It challenged me to look at my life differently.
Overall, I loved my experience studying abroad. I gained valuable life lessons that I will carry with me always. If you are planning to study abroad yourself, take this advice: be flexible! Not everything is going to be perfect but being able to adapt quickly in stressful situations is a valuable skill. Also, pack light. I am grateful that I had this amazing opportunity through the University of Alabama!