A Letter To Myself – Before Study Abroad
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A Letter To Myself – Before Study Abroad

A girl whose incredible study abroad experience was cut short, giving advice to her past self, who was terrified to leave home in the first place.

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A Letter To Myself – Before Study Abroad

I knew before stepping foot on Providence College's campus as an incoming freshman that I wanted to study abroad during my college career. Where did I want to go? No idea. But the opportunity to travel the world, meet new people, and learn about various cultures across the globe was a chance I couldn't pass up. Flashing forward to junior year, after changing my major twice, making new friends, and going through personal changes of my own, I was accepted into Trinity College Dublin for Spring 2020. Spending four months away from home, especially as a home-body myself, was a daunting idea, but I couldn't have been more excited. Little did I know, as I boarded the flight from Boston to Dublin on January 7th, how things would play out over the next few months. I laughed, I cried (a lot), made the most amazing friends a girl could ever ask for, learned from some of the best professors Ireland has to offer, traveled around Europe, and was ultimately forced to head home two months early due to a worldwide pandemic. Despite everything that happened, I wouldn't change my experiences abroad for the world. If you have the chance to study abroad, do it. I promise you, it will be the most exciting, challenging, and wonderfully weird experience of your life. If I could write a letter to myself five months ago, before embarking on this crazy adventure, it would go something like this:

Dear Kat,

Dublin is only a few days away, and I know your stomach is in knots about leaving, but that's okay! It's normal to be feeling a cocktail of emotions right now, but I want you to know that you're going to have the time of your life there. I'm not going to lie, there are going to be some really tough nights. You're gonna cry, call mom, and feel like you just want to go home. But remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I promise you're going to adjust and make the most amazing friends ever. Diana, Katie, Ingrid, and Fiona – remember those names, because you are so incredibly blessed to have them as friends. These next four months are going to take a turn you'd never expect, but don't focus on things out of your control. Live in the moment, try new things, step out of your comfort zone, and most importantly, have so much fun. Rathmines is going to become your second home, and you're going to love it more than you think. This experience is going to present you with incredible memories, some crazy challenges, and lifelong friends. I know that four months seems like a lifetime, and the future is uncertain, but your time abroad will fly by a lot sooner than you think, so enjoy every moment of it while you can.

Travel at every opportunity you get and worry about money later. Try new foods, even if they look weirdly gross. Make friends with locals and soak in every story, piece of knowledge, or advice they give you. Wander through the city in between classes, get lost down cobblestone alleyways (that's where the hidden gems are), and toss a few euros in the street musician's guitar case every once in a while. Take your headphones out and listen to the bustle of Rathmines on your walk to class. Running to catch the 14A will be your new form of cardio. Explore. Spend the afternoon in the corner of a small coffee shop reading Elizabeth Bowen for English Lit class, well after your cappuccino has gone cold. Coppers, Blackbird, Doyles, Flannery's, Umi, Wowburger, Lidl, Flying Tiger, and Penny's – you're going to fall in love with these wonderful places. Bachelor Wednesdays will become your favorite weekly tradition with the girls. Take a million pictures everywhere you go. Savor every moment in Grove Park. Always say yes to homemade pizza, Ben & Jerry's, and The Crown with Diana. Be present wherever you go and with everyone you meet, you never know what you might see or learn. But most importantly, don't become discouraged when things don't go the way you planned.

There are going to be many times where you want to give up and go home, but you are so much stronger than you think you are. Your friends will have your back through every hardship you face, and you'll be there for them too. You can do it, I promise. When every decision or move you make seems to be going wrong, try and try again until you're happy with the results. It will be different than you expect. It will be hard. But the memories, adventures, and friends you make will be so worth it. No matter what challenges are thrown your way, cherish every single moment. Get ready for the best experience of your life.

Sincerely,

Future Kat

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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