Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Just a Backpack and a Suitcase

It hasn’t hit me yet that I’m studying abroad.

Nearly three months ago I got my acceptance from University College Cork.

Two weeks ago I packed up my entire dorm room and said goodbye to all my friends.

Yesterday I got my euros, bought my suitcase, and double-checked my flight.

I remember a very similar feeling—a concern that I wasn’t more concerned about such a big change—when I first left for my home college, Harvey Mudd. I packed up everything I needed to survive college into a car in order to start a new life somewhere else. If you’re a college student, it’s likely you’ve experienced the same thing; maybe instead of a car you had a moving van, or maybe you had just a suitcase.

For all you “just a suitcase” people, all of you that moved from your hometown to your college via plane, I salute you. Because my dear transnational and international friends, I am currently feeling your pain.

Suitcases aren’t very big. But our lives are huge!

As I mentioned, I just packed up my college dorm room—that took twenty boxes. And then I packed my bags for coming home for the holidays—that took a box, two backpacks, and one giant suitcase. Now I have to pack one backpack and one medium suitcase (both according to strict international flight size restrictions) that will sustain me for the next five months of my life.

My life has gone from twenty-boxes-sized to one-backpack-and-one-suitcase-sized.

And I’m terrified that I’m not more terrified.

I am one week away from studying abroad.

I am one week away from flying across the world to a country I’ve never visited, to live with people I’ve never met, in a culture I’ve never experienced.

I am one week away from the inevitable culture shock and missing my friends and family, armed with only my backpack and suitcase.

I’m also just one week away from the most amazing experience of my life.

I do get excited for my trip when I consider all of the adventures I’ll be going on, ranging from hostel-hopping to finding the nearest grocery store; from flying across Europe to figuring out how to be a vegetarian in Ireland.

And I hope this blog will be an opportunity for you to follow right along with me!

To give you some background, I am an industrial engineer from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. In my spare time, I enjoy costume design and construction and late night hot cocoa and boba runs. It was important when choosing my abroad college that it was English-speaking, offered certain technical courses, and was populated with friendly, fun people. Everywhere I looked, everyone I talked to, Ireland came up as the country with the loveliest people I could ask for. I’m going to be honest: that was about the extent of the research I did before making my decision. I chose University College Cork over University College Dublin because, coming from a very small school already, I wanted to stay at a relatively small college. The more I learn about Cork, the more and more happy I am about my (nearly blind) decision (Are you ready for culture shock to hit me like a brick in the face? Because I sure am!).

Even though I have yet to process this adventure that’s occurring in my very near future, I know it will be the adventure of a lifetime. I’m excited to have you along for the ride!

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