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ABROAD TAKEOVER: My Study Abroad Personal Experience

I can remember sitting in my freshmen political science lecture listening to a presentation on international internships, specifically the British Parliamentary Internship Program. That afternoon I decided I would be studying abroad in London and interning at Westminster.I worked my a$$ off maintaining good grades and an internship each semester at CUA. I was more than qualified and thought this was the program for me. However, I was placed on the waiting list and told to apply for another program. I was devastated, and seriously ate ice cream as my dinner for almost a week. I still wanted to go abroad, so I did some research and applied to the Irish Parliamentary Program. I wish I could go back now and save all of those calories from my ice cream binge because I shouldn’t have been that disappointed.

“As I look back on life, every time I thought I was being rejected from something good. I was actually being re-directed to something better.” -AnonymousThat’s exactly how I feel about my situation now. I have been living in Dublin,  Ireland for almost 3 months and couldn’t imagine myself being this happy anywhere else.

Everything about Ireland is special. The people are welcoming, the views are breathtaking, the food is mouthwatering, and the Guinness, well there is nothing better. I am truly lucky to be here.I was placed with a host family as my living accommodation because that was the only arrangement CUA offered. All my friends at home were very concerned and said things like “it will be awkward” or “you will live in a cottage without heat.” In actuality, I live in the same town as Bono and consider this my second home. My host family treats me like one of their own. They cook for me, invite me places, and even offered me to stay an extra month so I can travel and continue my internship.My internship is another bonus. I work for a female representative for the Irish Government, which is equivalent to a U.S. Senator. I have a personal relationship with my boss and I am treated like a staffer. I help with research, constituent services, event coordinating, and policy. I have experienced working side by side with a woman government official and it has inspired me to pursue a career in a male dominated field.

Here are some suggestions to contemplate during your application process and adjustment period:1. GO abroad! You will miss one day party and a Thursday night at a bar. So what? When you are traveling the world, sipping cocktails, without a care, you won’t even think about CUA.2. Do your research. Look into more than one program. Reach out to other students that completed programs that interest you. Fill out and hand in your paperwork a month early. Whatever happens you will be end up in the right place.3. Save your money. Travel can be expensive and you don’t want to hold back. Get a part time job, babysit, or wash dishes. Seriously, your life changes when you get to visit a different country every weekend.4. Let go. Everywhere else in the world except for America is laid back. You need to accept that it will all work out and let go of all your inhibitions and safeguards. You will grow as an individual and know things about yourself that you fail to recognize in the CUA bubble.5. Have fun. This is the last time in your life when you don’t have serious responsibilities like a career or a mortgage. Make new friends, travel, let down your hair, and definitely dance because this a period of celebration.I hope my rant helped you realize that going abroad is absolute necessary. If you have any questions about study abroad, feel free to email me at 84Bee@cardinalmail.cua.eduBest of luck!

Briana Bee is a senior at the Catholic University of America. She is completing her Bachelor's Degree in American Political Science with a Minor in Public Health Policy and Theology. Briana has interned for Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, PA State Senate, and Irish Parliament. She is extremely passionate about women's rights, health and nutrition, current issues, and her lipstick. Briana joined HerCampus CUA because she wants to raise awareness on important topics and be a voice for women and the greater CUA community. 
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