Senior Erin Kelly shares her experience studying abroad and its impact on her life outside of the classroom.
On May 8th, 2017, I took a day trip with a couple friends. We left from our apartment at about 8 a.m., rented a car from the Hertz down the road and began our westward pursuit. I was given the task of driving, and I call it a task because it was the first time in my life I would be driving on what we consider the wrong side of the road.
At this point in time, I had been living in Cork, Ireland for five months. I started my Irish journey completely alone, relatively clueless and open to whatever life would throw my way. By the time I decided to take on the country roads of Ireland, I had established myself in Cork, developed friendships, and even become a discount punch card holder at my favorite bakery.
After a brief moment of what I would consider intense stress and uncomfortable silence, I surprisingly adjusted to driving on the wrong side of the road. We plugged in the aux cord and jammed all the way to a small town called Lahinch (LAH-inch), which we had decided would be the perfect place to get away for the day. Once in Lahinch, we decided to spend the day surfing. The waves were perfect and the weather was unseasonably hot. Of all the things to do in Ireland, I never would have guessed surfing would be one of them.
Alas, I spent three hours of my life wiping out in the freezing cold water of the Atlantic. But wait, there is more!
After eating lunch at the one pub in town, the locals brought it to our attention that the Cliffs of Moher were just a short drive away. We didn’t expect to go to the Cliffs that day, but since they were so close, we couldn’t pass up the chance. I had also been to the Cliffs before, but it was rainy and foggy my first time, and I wasn’t able to see anything.
On that sunny day, actually saw the Cliffs and how amazing they were for the first time. As we began our return trip home, we sat in silence for a while and drove away from the sunset with the beautiful, green hills surrounding us. It was an overwhelming moment. We would all soon be making our way back to the States, yet did not want to end our time together and abroad so soon.
It is a moment that I relive frequently. It reminds me of all the possibilities I have in life. I am just an average midwestern gal. Studying abroad gave me the chance to do many things I never even dreamed I would do. It gave me memories I will never forget, as well as many wonderful friendships.
I often hear people say that they can’t afford to study abroad or they can’t speak another language. Some also say that the question of studying abroad is out of the picture.
It is not out of the picture, by any means. If you have the slightest interest, give it a chance, and go check out the study abroad office, located on the first floor of Atterbury Student Success Center. If I had never stopped by, I wouldn’t have known all the possibilities I had, and I definitely wouldn’t have spent the last seven months having the time of my life.