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Importance of Mental & Physical Health While Studying Abroad

March 13, 2024
by Julianna Bruemmer

Hiking and Biking: Keeping Moving and Happy while Studying Abroad in Dublin

Upon moving to a different country to study abroad, knowing virtually nothing and no one, it’s easy for a person to fall into a state of discontent and loneliness. I experienced a similar thing in Dublin after a few months of living there. After the thrill of the newness wore off, I found myself in a state of more or less depression, finding it hard to connect with other people knowing how little time I actually had in the country. That’s when I really started to discover and implement self-care into my routine, and the way I did that was through personal goals and exercise. 

A valley with a river and mountains

If you look closely, you will see one of Ireland’s most beautiful buildings, Kylemore Abbey.

Exercising While Abroad

Hiking Abroad

As redundant as it may sound, exercise truly is a good way to clear your mind and focus on your inner self. Over spring break, I traveled to Connemara where Connemara National Park is located, and I climbed the Diamond Hill Mountain there.

A large grassy field with a body of water in the distance

Connemara is a must-see if you’re traveling to Ireland, a true beauty from every angle.

It was a lot of hard work but the entire time I hiked it, I couldn’t help but focus on the task at hand and my goal to reach the top and bask in my accomplishment.  

A study abroad student standing on a mountain with their arms out

I reached the top of the Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park! 

This journey, however short it was, helped clear my head of all the negative feelings that I felt and helped the serotonin and endorphins kick in. For the first time since arriving in Ireland, I felt a wave of happiness and contentment.

A study abroad student standing on a mountain

My face when I climb a mountain and can feel the endorphins flowing.

There are so many other hiking trails around Ireland that I was so excited to try because once I conquered one, I had to do the others.

A study abroad student taking a selfie

Even from the bottom, this mountain can still look very imposing.

I’m not usually a person who exercises but a good hike really helped me discover how it can help with mental health, which is a very important area for me. 

A grassy area with a hill in the background

The view of the Diamond Hill mountain in Connemara National Park.

Biking Abroad

I also got into riding bikes around and taking time to appreciate the small things around the city and not just the big monuments or images.

A study abroad student riding a bicycle on a road next to a body of water

Bike riding is another perfect way to get exercise and get blood pumping, especially if it’s around Inis Mór!

A study abroad student standing next to a horse

Petting a horse mid-bike ride.

One of the biggest things to support mental health is to stop and appreciate the small things, like being able to pet a horse. Sometimes, all it takes is to go outside for a walk to help clear your head and remember where you are.

A grassy field with a fence and a body of water in the background

Nothing quite beats the natural beauty of the West of Ireland.

Mental health is important to consider while studying abroad because it’s no fun to be depressed or anxious when you have such an opportunity ahead of you, so consider the trails and sights you could see to help get those endorphins going while in your host country! 


Julianna Bruemmer is the Content Creator - Photographer in Dublin, Ireland, and is currently studying at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
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