Standing in the middle of my mismatched socks and forgotten bobby pins and crumbled up notebook papers, it hit me. Today is the last day I will get to call Dublin my home. No more running to Orange Tree ten minutes before class for a coffee and a muffin, no more popping into Blackbird on a whim because it’s across the street and nothing sounds better after class than a pint of chocolate stout. For three and a half months I’ve been lucky enough to call this city my home. It wasn’t always easy, but never for one second did I ever regret getting on that plane.
On the last day of class, our teacher Stephen told us that our time studying abroad amounts to just about .02% of lives. To look back at all that I’ve experienced, at all the struggles I’ve gone through, all the endlessly stunning and life altering moments I’ve experienced throughout my time here, and to think that it could be that miniscule of a percentage is absolutely astounding.
They say that study abroad changes you, and in a way that’s true. But what I really have seen it do to me is bring out parts of myself that were waiting, that I was too afraid to be proud of or to acknowledge. I know how it feels to be alone. I know how it feels to have your world turned upside down when you’re nearly 4,000 miles from home. I know now that I can travel across the world, without knowing a single soul, and come out all the richer for it. At the end of all this, I can truly say I’m proud of the person coming out on the other end.
If there’s one thing I can urge people to do, it’s this: study abroad. Travel, create new experiences, get out on your own, but no matter how you do it, find a way to get yourself out of your comfort zone and into an entirely new culture. I cannot emphasize just how quickly those months will fly by, or just how much can happen to you in that time.
After all, it’s only .02% of your life. What’s there to lose?
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<p>I am a junior English major at Illinois Wesleyan University studying in Dublin, Ireland. I love the rain, which is a good thing, since it never stops here. You can find me sitting in a café reading Sylvia Plath in my down time, as any good English major would. Poetry, the sea, and finding the best ice cream in any given location are just a few of my passions.</p>