Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Daring to Go Solo in Ireland

Q&A with Jessica: Study Abroad in Ireland
Share this
Print this
Jessica
Study Abroad in Ireland
Carleton University
Her thoughts on Motivation
I never really thought I would have the courage to go, but after choosing to go to university in my hometown and keeping the same routine for years, I felt like I needed a big change in my life.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
As cliché as it sounds, say yes to everything. Opportunities will arise that you may be nervous about, but as long as they are safe, never turn them down!
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
I also discovered how peaceful and carefree traveling alone can be. Being completely self-reliant gave me added confidence for my following trips.

When and where did you study abroad? Did you have a study focus?

I studied at Maynooth University in Ireland from September 2014 until May 2015. My focus was in Psychology, but I also used the experience to take many courses outside of my field of study, in order to help develop my knowledge of Irish culture and society.

What made you want to study abroad?

I have always been a pretty shy and quiet person, so my decision to go abroad was quite a shock to both my family and myself. I never really thought I would have the courage to go, but after choosing to go to university in my hometown and keeping the same routine for years, I felt like I needed a big change in my life. Ireland had always been a dream destination of mine, so when I discovered that my school had a partnership with Maynooth University, I decided it was the perfect opportunity for me!

Did you participate in extracurricular or social activities abroad? If so, how did they differ from social activities in your home culture?

Maynooth University provided so many ways to get involved and be social, so it was awesome! From an amazing welcome week for all the international students, to numerous clubs and societies, there was always something to do. I joined a hiking club, which provided a fun and active way to meet other students and see the beauty of Ireland. Outside school, one of the biggest cultural experiences I got to be a part of was the week-long St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Dublin! It was so much fun to experience this tradition in Ireland. The celebration is so much bigger than it is at home!

What made your study abroad experience a success?

There were many incredible factors to my experience abroad, but the best part was creating strong friendships with people from all over the world. I cannot imagine what it would have been like to be away from home for so long without having those amazing people by my side. The experience was also enhanced by all of the traveling I was able to do around Europe. Seeing so many different countries and learning about their histories was something that I’ll never forget. Studying abroad and travelling really taught me to have confidence in myself and to trust my instincts, which I think will help me in my future career. I plan on being an Occupational Therapist, and I will need to take charge of situations in which others may feel helpless and use my knowledge to help them get on with their daily lives. Being confident in my abilities will not only help others trust me, it will also help me be successful in my decision on how to treat their particular case.

It also helped improve my people skills since I was put into many situations where I didn't know anyone around me and had to interact with them. I don't feel as nervous going places alone anymore, because I enjoy meeting new people and hearing their stories! This will definitely come in handy working with new patients all the time in my future!

What was your return like? Do you plan to go abroad again?

Coming home was filled with mixed emotions. Of course I had missed my family and friends while I was away, but I saying goodbye to my life in Ireland was very difficult. I knew how lucky I was to have studied abroad and couldn't believe it was already over. I definitely plan to go abroad again if I get the opportunity, whether it be for school or work. I absolutely loved traveling and experiencing different cultures, so I hope to have more chances to do so in the future.

What is your number one tip for anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps?

As cliché as it sounds, say yes to everything. Opportunities will arise that you may be nervous about, but as long as they are safe, never turn them down! So many things you do while you're abroad are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and you'll enjoy your time so much more if you go out of your comfort zone. Don't be scared to try new things, it helps you learn more about yourself and grow as a person!

Describe an experience from your time abroad that made a particularly strong impression on you.

My greatest experience while I was studying abroad was my first trip alone. While I had chosen to go to Ireland alone, there I was easily guided through the first few days alone until I made friends. Traveling alone was completely different, and incredibly intimidating. I decided to plan a trip to Prague since I finished exams before my friends, but knew I'd have to go alone. Saying I was terrified is quite the understatement, I honestly had to force myself onto the plane when the time came. But the four days I spent there were the highlight of my whole nine months abroad. I met incredible people and had more fun than I could have imagined! I also discovered how peaceful and carefree traveling alone can be, since you can do what you want whenever you want to do it. And being completely self-reliant gave me added confidence for my following trips!

I was also lucky enough to travel to quite a few places. I was in the Republic of Ireland (where I lived) and Northern Ireland, Norway, Czech Republic, Portugal, Hungary, Austria, The Netherlands, Germany, and Scotland! I think the cultural differences grew the further east I went in Europe, where life seemed more laid back. It seemed like everyone was willing to help when it was needed, even if they weren't asked. My roommates and I were studying a map on the streets of Budapest and a woman came up to us to ask if we needed help finding our way. While I'm sure most people in Canada would help if someone asked for directions, I was just struck by the fact that she approached us instead of the other way around. It really made the experience even more enjoyable, since we didn't feel like "annoying" tourists, but rather welcomed guests. I really learned to trust the people around you while travelling, because not everyone is out to pickpocket or scam you just for being a tourist (as some people make it seem)!

What are your future plans for going abroad and for your career?

I would love to have a chance to go abroad again, either for school or work. I plan on becoming an Occupational Therapist and would be delighted if I had work opportunities in other parts of the world. For the time being, I need to focus on finishing my degree and hopefully planning a trip to Australia after I graduate!

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

Jessica has already taken the all-important first step abroad. She challenged herself to travel alone, and rose to the occasion, building valuable skills in the process. Congratulations!

The impulse to grow, push boundaries and experience new things is crucial for any globally savvy person. Jessica clearly has the capacity to surprise herself in challenging cross-cultural scenarios, and we’d absolutely recommend that she keep stepping outside her comfort zone in order to build new cross-cultural skills. We’d recommend that she try spending a few months in a non-Westernized country, and one with an official language other than English. Not only will this help her grow personally, but she will also build valuable professional skills to apply to her future career as an occupational therapist. For instance, she might consider spending her summer holiday volunteering with a health-oriented NGO in Guatemala, Peru, Thailand or Vietnam.

There are so many culturally rich destinations just waiting to be explored. We wish Jessica the best as she continues to challenge herself in new environments!

Jessica's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Want to Have the Same Experience?
Sample Application Documents: See How Others Did It!
Get inspired by actual documents that real students used to apply for internships, volunteer positions and other go abroad experiences.
In a Rush? Read These Articles First
These carefully chosen articles will lead you to our most important go abroad strategies!
Discover the Career Value of Going Abroad
Get the facts! See surveys and stats linking your experiences abroad to future career success.
The World Online
Want to stay in touch with the world? Check out these top (and sometime quirky) links!
Quick Guides! Our Most Popular Go Abroad Topics
View, print or share our easy-to-use guides available in English, French and Spanish.
Do You Have Enough International Experience?
Have you maximized your international experience? Are you ready for the international job search? Find out!
What's Your International IQ?
How much do you really know about living and working abroad? Take this quiz to find out!
Are You Prepared for the International Job Search?
How much do you know about international jobs in your field? Get ready for a targeted job search!
Quizzes: Your Master Scorecard
Check your scores for all quiz categories: international skills, experience & the job search.
Career-Boosting Strategies for International Students Studying in North America
What does it take for an international student to succeed in North America? We’ve got tips to help you thrive!
Earn $25 Gift Card & Submit Your Story From Abroad
Been abroad? Want to share your story? Submit your Q&A today to see your experience online!
Self-Evaluations: Think Analytically About Going Abroad
Keep track of your evolving international skill set before, during and after your international experience. Be ready to apply for jobs in the global economy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find answers to all your questions about MyWorldAbroad by diving into our Frequently Asked Questions section.
Your International Resume & LinkedIn
Write your international resume first, and then create that all-important LinkedIn profile.
Top Tips on Going Abroad & Your Career
Scan our top tips in 40 go abroad subject areas: international skills, getting experience, finding work, and the professions.
International Skills: Be More Than Just a Tourist!
International people have a unique skill set. Learn the terminology and get professional about describing your time abroad.
100+ Ways to Maximize the Career Value of Your Time Abroad
Discover enterprising, innovative ideas for how to demonstrate your international skills to future employers.
11996
- # of # Filtered -
  • 81
81
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
1
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
2
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
3
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
4
10851
Tips From Tasmania
5
9807
Fast Friendship In Korea
6
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
7
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
8
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
9
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
10
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
11
9784
Skill-Building In Bonn
12
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
13
9762
American Freshman In London
14
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
15
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
16
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
17
9741
Adapting To Work In Peru
18
9773
Independent In India
19
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
20
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
21
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
22
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
23
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
24
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
25
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
26
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
27
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
28
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
29
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
30
9771
Learning To Love London
31
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
32
9737
Passionate About Panama
33
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
34
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
35
9787
A Spring Semester In London
36
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
37
10192
Out And About In Paris
38
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
39
10157
Changing Course In China
40
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
41
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
42
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
43
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
44
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
45
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
46
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
47
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
48
9753
A Season In Sweden
49
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
50
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
51
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
52
9752
Giving In Guatemala
53
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
54
9748
Adventure In The Alps
55
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
56
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
57
9754
Building Memories In India
58
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
59
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
60
9765
Simpatico In Florence
61
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern In Rome
62
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
63
9756
Springtime In Spain
64
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
65
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
66
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
67
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
68
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
69
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
70
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
71
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
72
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
73
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
74
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
75
9817
A Bulgarian In England
76
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
77
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
78
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
79
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
80
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
81
11996
All Job Boards
426
All NGOs
1414
Au Pair Resources
31
Awards and Grants Resources
27
Business and Finance Job Boards
63
Business Directories
21
Canadian Federal, Provincial and Territorial Government Profiles
64
Canadian Government Resources
26
Children and Families Abroad
20
Country Guides
51
Cross-cultural Skills
101
Engineering Job Boards
60
Engineering Resources
56
Expatriate Networking Sites
20
Foreign Students Working in the US
8
Freelancing Abroad
23
General Job Search
25
Global Education and Social Action
29
Health and Medicine Job Boards
51
Health Career Resources
37
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
32
International Development Career Resources
43
International Internship Job Boards and Advice
43
International Internship Organizations
228
International Internships and Student Programs With Canadian Governments
32
International Internships With the US Government
39
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
80
International Law Job Boards
22
International Studies in the US and Canada
10
International Trade Resources
28
International Volunteer Organizations
346
Internships With the UN and Other IGOs
138
Language Careers
29
Learn a Language
94
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
28
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
13
Loans for Studying Abroad
12
Low-cost Travel
28
NGO Directories
30
NGO Job Boards
39
Re-entry
13
Regional Job Boards
140
Relocating Abroad
19
Resources for International Students Studying in the US or Canada
40
Stories From Abroad
81
Study Abroad Resources
133
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
95
Teach English Abroad Resources
53
Tools for Travelers
39
Top International Blogs
39
Travel Health and Safety
38
UN and Other IGOs
220
UN and Other IGOs Job Boards
16
UN and Other IGOs Resources
17
US Government Profiles
77
US Government Resources
32
Visas and Passports
15
Volunteer Job Boards and Advice
49
Women Living and Working Overseas
16
Working Vacation Resources
54