A Guide to Your First Month in Ireland

Cara Simon

There are many things that I have learned in my first four weeks abroad, but below I have listed my top five learning experiences so far.

Always be open to new experiences

I usually like to know exactly what is going to happen and when, but sometime you have to be open to going outside your comfort zone. I have learned how to talk to people that I do not know. I have learned that things change and that you have to roll with the changes.

Always ask questions 

I have always feared being the girl in class that annoys everyone because she is constantly asking questions that everyone else already knows the answer to. I am learning here that asking questions can be really important to making sure that I am getting the right information. Even after a month, I am still learning and it is okay to ask for clarification.

student viewing a lake in Donegal, Ireland
Katie May Enjoying the View

It’s okay to miss home

I can go several days without being homesick and then out of nowhere something will remind me of my loved ones back home, and I will go through a small funk with missing them. I think it is okay to miss home and to sometimes be a little sad, because the people I left behind are important to me. I am learning to be more independent and to step outside my comfort zone. Home is always a phone call away, but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

It’s okay to not know everything or to be wrong

This was a hard one for me. I hate being wrong or getting in trouble, but as I said before, this is a learning opportunity. I have a tendency to dwell on mistakes and beat myself up, so this has been an eye opening experience for me. I am learning how to ask questions, how to handle things on my own, and how to own up to my own mistakes.

This experience is going to change you 

I decided to pursue an internship abroad for this very reason. I wanted to learn to live a little and to grow as a person. I left home behind to find me and to figure out exactly what I wanted to do in life. Each and every day I learn something new about myself that I would not have realized had I stayed where I was comfortable.

In addition to the things that I have learned since going abroad, I have included my top three favorite things that I have seen/done.

  • Glenveagh Castle and National Park
  • Glencar Waterfall
  • Irish danced in Leo’s Tavern in Donegal

– Katie May, Indiana State University

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