Every semester, tons of our Intern Queen Campus Ambassadors take advantage of the amazing opportunity to study abroad. This Spring, we wanted to share their stories with you! The fourth blog in our #InternQueenAbroad series is from Anna Jonas, Dalhousie University.
What city and school are you studying in?
Dublin, Ireland at Trinity College Dublin.
Why did you choose to study abroad there?
Because I had never been here before, but I did know that I adore Europe. It's a world-renowned school with an amazing reputation. The vibe of the city suits me well, as does it's size. The people are very friendly. Plus they have some amazing classes here that would never be offered at home (like European Societies), which adds breadth to my degree.
Have you had to deal with language barriers?What have you done to make it easier?
No language barrier! Unless you count the crazy Irish accent, which I deal with in lectures by sitting close to the front so I can hear the prof's pronunciation better.
Is the classroom environment different from the United States? How so?
Definitely! Professors are a lot more approachable, but there is no real participation in lectures. There are small seminars, which I haven't had since first year. And all my exams are worth 100% of my grades so there's no real assignments during the winter term. Therefore readings are essential for survival. This leaves a lot of time to travel and socialize.
How did you budget for your semester and manage your money abroad?
I got a local bank account and kept all the money I didn't want to use in my home account. I planned out a budget ahead of time based on cost of living and including a travel budget and an emergency fund in case my budget was off or something went wrong. I also have a credit card in case my account wasn't working.
How are you balancing school and exploring your country?
The International Society here runs a lot of weekend trips to various must see locations around Ireland throughout the semester. This is nice because you can meet more international students while also learning about and seeing more of the country you're studying in. Also, they do all the planning and you just have to show up so that cuts out planning and extra transit. I usually bring my readings either printed off or on my iPad and do them during travel time, like on the bus or the plane.
What are the 5 things you HAD to pack to bring with you?
• A sturdy weekender bag that meets airplane carryon requirements (it often costs extra money to check a bag so a sizeable carryon that still fits the requirements is essential for all the traveling you'll be doing)
• A good multi weather coat with a hood (it's quite windy in Ireland and rains often)
• Comfortable walking shoes (preferably in a neutral colour so they match with more things, in my case combat boots)
• An emergency battery pack to throw in your purse so you can charge your phone on the fly (there's nothing worse than showing up to the cliffs of Moher only to have your phone die after 1 picture)
• And my favourite beauty and skin products because they don't sell a lot of them here! (for instance, the deodorant here is all spray on you can't buy it in a stick, and they don't commonly sell my brand of contacts solution)
Also essential - tons of photos and postcards and other decorations from home, a comfortable sizeable cross body bag, ideal for days of sightseeing when you want to go hands free and carry around a sweater and a water bottle, and a warm blanket.
What has been your favorite place/activity so far?
I adored the trip to Galway. Dun Aonghasa was incredible. I also just love everything about downtown Dublin.
What advice would you give other students considering study abroad?
Say yes to everything; take advantage of every opportunity, the more you get to experience and the further out of your comfort zone the better! Keep a journal so that you can remember the little things after you've long returned home. Don't forget to explore the country you're in as well as other countries in the area. Try to meet both locals and international students; it can be easy to just stick with international students. Find a good travel buddy who's interested in doing the same type of things/visiting the same kind of places as you do.
Any last words/tips/secrets to share?
Keep an organized binder full of all your documents and information so that you can find things easily. Take advantage of every minute!