Almost a year ago I was abroad in Dublin, Ireland studying at University College Dublin. Studying abroad was the best choice I have ever made, and I would go back in a second if I could. When you study abroad many dynamics change. You have casual conversations with your roommates about what country they are going to that following weekend. One roommate will be in Italy, while the other is in The Netherlands. I was able to visit England, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, and Italy while I was abroad. I was able to learn a lot and see many new places!
Me and my friend Carolyn in London.
London was our first weekend trip, and we learned quickly that it's important to look up the location you are staying at. Our air bnb was in White Chapel district. We met someone who told us they wouldn't even go to White Chapel to get groceries, which freaked us out and is very laughable now. After the London trip we were that much more cautious about where we were staying. Cheap is important but so is safety of the location. We were also able to confirm that the London Bridge was not falling down, but it was good and stable. The tea was great and the food at the Borough market tasted amazing.
This is a blurry photo of me and my friend Heidi smiling because we were lost in Germany.
We decided to Couch Surf in Germany, and we had to find the house we were staying at with out cellphones, because we had no service. We ended up missing the exit we were supposed to get off at and rode the light rail to the end of the track. Of course no one spoke English but they knew the name of our exit and with wide eyes motioned that we were way off. We finally found a map and saw that we were 30 minutes away from the correct exit. Once we arrived at the exit, and got to the street, we didn't know how far down the house was, because all we had was the address. As we walked we found where the address was supposed to be but it was a dark alley way. This seemed sketchy so we walked passed it, but after walking a little further we thought we were missing something. We went back to the alleyway and walked down it to find a door with the address. Besides the door were about fifteen different doorbells with last names, and we only knew her first name. So we pressed them all, and some one eventually let us in. But when we walked in it was a long spiral staircase and we didn't know what floor or apartment was hers. So we had to knock on random doors, and show them a photo and ask if they knew where she lived. Luckily a guy recognized her and told us which apartment was hers! We finally arrived, about two hours later then we had expected.
Coffee stop in The Netherlands.
Coffee is very important when traveling because it helps keep you energized for the amount of walking you do. This particular coffee shop was the best because we stumbled upon it, and the interior was adorable. They had a nice patio area where we watched people go down the canal and ride passed us on their bikes. Another great thing about coffee shops while abroad is that you are finally able to connect to WiFi. At this stop we were able to load google maps to figure out how we would get to our next destination.
Riding bikes through Barcelona, Spain.
Barcelona was my last trip while abroad with my friends I made in Dublin. I would recommend biking through any city you visit in Europe. Biking through a city allows you to get a quick glance of every thing and gives your feet a rest. The beach there was gorgeous and they had multiple little restaurants that sat right on the sand. It is very hard finding a taxi that fits six people in Barcelona. There was a time me and my friends had to walk three miles back to our air bnb because we could not find a big enough taxi.
On a hike in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.
It always felt odd when I would leave Ireland for the weekend and then consider it my "home" when I returned from a trip. Every time I came back from a new country Ireland felt that much more comfortable to me, which was awesome to experience. This is me on a hike that was really cold. They have boards that you walk on because underneath is peat/bog a swampy wet type of soil. Towards the end of the hike they decide to remove the boards, which meant my feet got wet, and were freezing cold. The soil was actually so dense that someone stepped in it and their shoe got stuck. It was hilarious, and we had to use a hiking stick to literally ply it out.
Dublin is known for their colorful doors.
Study abroad is an amazing experience that no one should miss out on. If you have a desire to study abroad make it happen, because you will not regret the experience you will have.