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Sydney Beck

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Exercise and Sport Science & Sociology
Program: University of Limerick
Location: Limerick, Ireland
Term: Spring 2020


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
There were many reasons that I decided to study abroad. The main reasons were because I knew that it would be a new challenge for me and that I would be able to learn about different cultures. In going abroad to another country, I knew I would be placed out of my comfort zone, and I thought it would be beneficial to see how that would build me into a better person. The reason that I chose to go to Ireland specifically was because of my ancestry, a significant portion which is Irish.


What did you learn about yourself?
Before studying abroad, I was a shy person who often relied on others. Going abroad, I was really able to bring out the more extroverted side of me. I had to put myself out there in order to make friends and have people with whom to travel. The trip also brought out a new level of organization and self-dependency that I did not know I had. Being from a small, rural town, I had never traveled anywhere and had never been on my own before. The first time I left home, I chose to go clear across the ocean! Finally, I learned how to work quickly and efficiently under extreme pressure. Due to the pandemic during my time abroad, I had to rearrange schedules, change flights and book new ones, cancel itineraries for future travel endeavors, and pursue refunds, etc.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from my short time abroad occurred the first weekend I was in Ireland. The University planned a day trip for international students to visit the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren and Lahinch Beach. We were very lucky because the weather was perfect, unlike the usual rain and clouds that Ireland experiences. It was also one of my favorite places because a scene from one of my favorite movies (Harry Potter) was filmed there.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Part of the growth experience of study abroad is self-reliance. You just have to know going in is that some things aren’t going to go as planned. You will have to be flexible, you will have to change plans on the fly, and you will have to be resourceful. And your support system will be a continent away. While that may seem scary, you are smart enough and strong enough to handle the adversity that comes your way. And your reward for handling the adversity is the great memories you will make living and learning in another country and culture


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