A decision no one will regret

By on February 20, 2008

I have some simple advice for any student currently considering studying abroad.

Do it.

Of course the decision wasn’t quite so clear for me at this point last year.

At that point, I was torn as to whether or not I wanted to spend the fall of 2007 studying at University College Cork in Ireland.

Studying in Ireland would mean seeing my girlfriend only sporadically for nine months.

It would also mean giving up a chance to live with my roommates of freshman and sophomore year.

In fact, it would mean diving back into the freshman mindset of living with complete strangers for each semester of my junior year.

Beyond that, I tend to miss my family and friends from home even when I’m only 90 minutes away for a few weeks at a time. How was I going to react when I found myself 3,000 miles and months away?

For a good while, I decided I wouldn’t do it.

Yet, I soon decided that I’d probably regret not going much more.

On August 23 I found myself flying across the Atlantic Ocean, en route to Ireland.

I made the right call.

I studied and lived in the vibrant city of Cork, in addition to traveling to other parts of the beautiful country.

I also spent weekends in London, Venice and Milan.

I absorbed a new and different culture, while learning more about my own Irish heritage.

For the first time, I shared a real apartment and experienced city living.

I made friends from Ireland, other parts of the United States and even Quinnipiac students that I had not previously known.

In short, I had a blast.

Studying abroad is all but guaranteed as a great experience for any student inclined to do so.

I can’t guarantee that you’ll love the people you’re living with while away, or that you’ll have the housing that you want back in Hamden.

Personally, I was extremely fortunate that I found great roommates both abroad, and upon my return to QU.

It’s no guarantee that everyone who studies abroad will share in that luck. Also, there are stresses involved in the process.

Concern about transferring courses back and the occasional period of homesickness come to mind in my case.

It’s also a bit of a wild ride. Between time home, time at Quinnipiac and time in Ireland the last year seems like a blur of three different lives for me.

But, it’s worth it. No doubt.

One more quick point, don’t let concerns about your degree program deter you from at least considering a semester abroad.

It’s worth it to at least try to fit the experience into a health sciences degree or a double major.

Bottom line, if the opportunity and desire is there, I doubt anyone would ever regret the decision.


About Andy McDonough