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Thank You, Ireland: A Reflection On My Time Abroad

As my time abroad comes to a close, I could not be more grateful for my experiences, adventures, and the knowledge I gained over the past three months. Removing myself from my comfort zone and living in Ireland has taught me the value of curiosity, an appreciation for diversity, and the importance of tolerance. When I flew to Dublin approximately three months ago, I struggled to imagine what study abroad would consist of and how I would grow as an individual in the coming months. As I write this final MOJO post, I can confidently say that my study abroad experience with CEA was more worthwhile than what I imagined on that plane, and I will leave Ireland a more mature, open-minded, and well-rounded woman.  
 Seeing the Cliffs of Moher and all the beauty of the island are something I will never forget

Studying abroad pushed me to place myself in uncomfortable situations in order to discover more about myself and about the world. Living in a culture where you do not know the cultural norms, struggle to understand the accent, and worry when crossing the street about what side of the road the cars are coming from instills a childlike wonder in you. Like a child, you are stuck learning how to behave properly and striving for a sense of understanding. Also like a child, you want to ask “But why?” when you learn something new about the culture and possess a level of curiosity that is hard to satisfy. My time abroad has humbled me and made me realize that living with an almost childlike wonder is the best way to learn about different cultures and about myself.
If you are reading this and contemplating studying abroad, my advice is…Go! Take the risk and grasp the opportunity to discover yourself and what the world has to offer. A month before I left, I was second-guessing my decision and I am extremely grateful for the friends and family that pushed me to follow through. You will meet unique people, eat delicious food, experience amazing cultures, and learn life lessons that will change you for the better. I promise you that you will not regret it.
 Looking out onto the mountains in Connemara. One of my favorite photos from the trip!

Finally, thank you, Ireland. I cannot think of a better place for me to have studied. The hospitality, wit, and happiness of the Irish consistently made me feel welcomed and at ease during my stay. The natural beauty of the country, its intriguing history, and lively people give the island a charming personality that has captured my heart and provided me with a life changing experience. So thanks again, Ireland. I will visit again one day, but until then…Cheers!





Abigail Marchione is the 2014 Spring MOJO for Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior at DePaul University.

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