Study Abroad Advice from Ambassador Laura Teal: Don’t Be Afraid—Go Abroad!

ies abroad logo
IES Abroad
August 26, 2016

Meet Laura Teal, our Ambassador of the Month for August 2016, who is a rising senior at Hope College. She spent last fall in Ireland on our Dublin Direct Enrollment Trinity College Dublin Program. Laura studies Neuroscience and Psychology at Hope, and intends to continue on to graduate school for a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

We recently reached out to Laura to hear about her advice for those who aren’t 100 percent sure about studying abroad, how volunteering helped her get to know Dubliners, the how the struggle from returning abroad is real, but will fade.

IES Abroad: What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about studying abroad?

LT: To anyone who is on the fence about studying abroad because you are afraid of what you might miss out on: You miss out on more by not going.

To anyone who is afraid to live in a new country by yourself: IES Abroad will provide help learning how to navigate a new city and culture, and you'll be with a group of people who are just as alone as you are. You will make friends.

To anyone who is afraid to miss people: You will miss people. But it will be worth it. You will be too busy to miss people most of the time, and when it hits you that you miss people, you can use Skype or text or email. You will not be out of contact, and even if you are, it will be temporary. It will be worth it.

If you are on the fence, here is my advice: Do it. Go. You will regret it if you don't. I've never met anyone who's regretted going.

IES Abroad: How did you meet locals abroad?

LT: The best way I found to meet local people abroad was volunteering with Saint Vincent De Paul, the major volunteering society in Dublin. Meeting people through a volunteering opportunity means meeting a great group of fellow volunteers, as well as contact with a diverse set of people who are being helped.

IES Abroad: What one piece of advice would you share to those who are returning home from study abroad?

LT: Re-entry shock is real. And it sounds, based on the term, like re-entry shock is a moment, but it isn't. It's a series of moments where you miss people or places, where you're stressed beyond measure and want to return to your time abroad because now, looking back, it seems like that time was simpler. But just like homesickness while abroad, re-entry shock will pass. It will not last. It will fade. But you will likely not ever be the person you were before you left. That is a good thing.

IES Abroad: If you could go back in time and tell yourself one thing before studying abroad, what would it be?

LT: Don't say no. Experience everything to the fullest.

Congratulations, Laura!

The IES Abroad Ambassador Program connects our future students with our past students. If you’re interested in learning more about our Ambassador Program or have a question for a past IES Abroad student, visit our IES Abroad Ambassadors page.

IES Abroad News

Read More

IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

View All IES Abroad News