…of a new chapter.
In case you didn’t know, this blog was set up in order for you, and those interested, to follow my year-long (9-10 months) adventure of studying abroad at the University College Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.
Why am I studying abroad in Ireland?
1. Ever since I caught the travel bug when I was accepted into that first internship program at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University, I couldn’t wait until my next big travel adventure. I’ve been on a few since then, but very minor ones, my first two road trips as an adult.
2. In case you didn’t already know, I’m the only — and the last — plant biology major at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) right now. There are no specialized classes for my major at UCI, so I thought it would be a good idea to take the courses somewhere where botany, the more specialized way to say plant biology, is offered.
3. I have two more courses for graduation at UCI, one was offered in fall only and the other one in winter only. I didn’t want to waste a year just taking ONE course for TWO quarters, or however that would’ve worked out. I figured it would be fun to take a year abroad and complete those two classes, and delve more in depth into botany than I can at UCI.
4. Out of the few universities that I could study abroad at through UCEAP, the program I’m required to do study abroad with through the University of California (UC) system in order to graduate on-time and with few complications, Ireland seemed the most appealing to me because it was the only university that was in Europe. In addition to this, I think the greens available for study are probably more appealing than what I can find in Singapore or Hong Kong. Also, it fit the Northern Hemisphere timeline, otherwise I would’ve considered Australia.
What am I excited about?
- Exploring a new culture, city, etc.
- Meeting new friends and finding out who are my true ones back home (and/or who cares to keep connected with me)
- Learning new things that I never knew
- Growing as an individual to become more independent, self-confident, and…well…a woman.
- Preparations for studying abroad have been a pain, somewhat.
a) It was sad, relieving, and surreal to pack up my life into various boxes to be put away while I’m studying abroad. I’ve had to throw away a lot of things I’ve held dear for so long. At the same time, I’ve begun to realize how much emotional attachment I place on things, objects. Hopefully, this will improve after being abroad. I’ve also realized how many things I should digitalize and throw away the physical, to make life simpler.
b) The nitty gritty details of cancelling insurance, establishing a few connections here for emergency purpose, where to leave my belongings and my car has been crazy and nerve-wrecking.
- I worry too much about the future and forget to enjoy the present.
I love my boyfriend, I love my friends, I love what I know. I’m afraid to go beyond this little bubble of the United States/sunny Southern California. I worry about what it’ll be like living in the frequently rainy Ireland with new people, new dangers I must be aware of, new grocery places, new types of food selections. A lot of things. I’m a worrier.
- But I’m excited, because I am curious. Curiosity drives me, it’s why I do well in seasons of change, why I love to learn and get to know strange new things.
To You, who cares to read on about my adventures:
Thank you so much for all your help and support over the time I’ve know you. Thank you for caring about my life and sitting down to update yourself on me. Thank you for understanding that this is the most convenient way for me to keep my communications open with you, since it would be rather expensive and tedious to write a letter to everyone I would like over the year. Although, if you would like a postcard from Ireland, make sure to let me know and I’ll be sure to write you at least that one postcard.
Be sure to check back weekly (probably on Friday evenings or Sunday mornings) for more updates! If not, some people, those I contact through e-mail primarily, will get an e-mail reminder from me once a month or two.
Love you all lots! XOXO