Money, money, money
When I studied abroad, I spent 4 months in Ireland and backpacked a total of four and a half weeks. Through diligent planning, I was able to “ball on a budget.”
I’m responsible with my money, but I don’t tend to keep track of how much I spend. While in school, I get stuck in the campus bubble and end up not spending a lot of extra money. However, I became a budget master when I was in Ireland.
Adulting is hard. Being in another continent as my mom meant I was fully responsible for myself, I couldn’t just text her every time I had a question. Becoming self-sufficient gave me a taste of what life after college will be like.
Learning to love communal living
I lived in a flat with seven other roommates. Yes. Seven. Other. Roommates. I wouldn’t trade Plassey 64 for the world though. I was the peacemaker. I knew certain people didn’t get along, but I loved everyone. I learned how to budget groceries, cook for myself, and quickly became the MVP dish washer.
Besides learning how to run a house, I opened my own bank account and booked all my own travel. Omio should have sponsored me by the end of all my travels for how many train and bus tickets I booked through their app. By comparing countless sites and crunching numbers, I made my backpacking dreams a reality.
Besides having the time of my life traveling, I went to school. The University of Limerick is much bigger than Drake University, but it didn’t feel like there were 15,000 more people around. My favorite difference was the size of campus. Campus was so big that I could cross a bridge from one county to another to get from one side of campus to the other.
Learning was so much more rewarding while abroad. While my classes were technically only for credit, I got more out of them. The emphasis on learning and not busy work completely changed how I was able to focus in class. Everything I learned has stuck with me for much longer because I was able to dive deeper into each subject. It doesn’t hurt that all my classes were SO COOL and I got to learn about Irish culture.
After living the dream and crashing back down to reality, I realized how beneficial this experience was for me as a student. I’m still as driven as ever, but I know when to stop and smell the roses. Grades aren’t as important as I make them. I love learning, and sometimes I feel like lower grades reflect that I didn’t learn as much, but that’s not true. Learning more and taking risks on assignments is much more meaningful than getting an A. Going abroad has changed me as a person and as a student, both for the better.