What You Should Know Before Studying Abroad

Studying Abroad and living in a different country seems so exciting, which is why I applied for it. I have always been up for new experiences and taking risks however, leaving everyone and everything I’ve known since I was 19 was a big one for me.

At the start, when you have finally been accepted to a place to go to, you can not wait to go. You start to think of all the new places you will get see, new people you will meet and new experiences that you will have. You do not really think about everything else, like actually having to leave everything behind. It will hit you as time gets closer and when the hard goodbyes start. Even though it was your choice to study abroad, a piece of you hopes that someone and or something will stop you from going so you have an excuse not to go.

As you start telling people that you are leaving soon for a year, the questions will start and they will not stop. You will get asked the same questions by different people every day: “How long are you going for? Who are you going with? Are you excited?” You will not be able to escape these questions until the day you leave. For weeks I did not like thinking about leaving and almost everyone knew not to ask those questions because I would start to get emotional. Once you accept the fact that you are going, that is when you will be okay with answering the questions and hearing everyone talk about it.

However it still will not hit you. It will not feel like you are leaving even after meeting up with your friends and family to say goodbye and hearing everyone wishing you the best. Even after all the tears, it will still feel surreal. You will find yourself crying at random times whenever you start thinking of leaving. There will be days where you second guess everything and regret even deciding to go. These feelings will all be out of fear because you do not know what to expect. It is the fear of the unknown. “What is it going to be like? What if I hate it? What if I do not make any friends?” These questions will run through your head all the time. However, you will not know unless you try. If you hate it you can always come back and you will have a sense of relief knowing that you have that option. You are only going for a certain amount of time and then you will be back which is what I always told myself.

The process of going abroad is very long and it will stress you out, more than anything. From getting references, sorting out your health insurance, paying tuition, getting your visa and so on will, it will take forever. The paperwork and the process will stress you out so much that you will feel like you do not have enough time to actually look forward to going abroad. You are going to think whether or not it will even work out or if you will even get to go. I was very lucky with the support I had from my friends and family who kept telling me that it was going to work out and encouraged me to go.

It is going to be an emotional rollercoaster as you will find yourself crying more than you ever have. You will cry when you are checking your bags at the airport as the lady asks you where you are going. As you are sitting and waiting for your gate to open, reality and all the emotions you felt before will hit you like a truck. Once you step foot on the plane, you are starting your adventure.

I decided to study abroad for a year, up and leave my family and friends in Dublin and move to the United States at 19 years old. Here I am, 4 weeks in and all the worries I had before coming here are no longer. I have met some amazing people and have made friends who I know will be lifelong friends. With my first month here being challenging yet great, I am eager to see what the next 11 months will hold.