Studying abroad in Ireland has been the most rewarding experience of my life
Credit: LAUREN DIETRICH
Lauren Dietrich, a Fanshawe student currently studying abroad in Ireland is having a number of experiences while she is overseas.
The Lawrence Kinlin School of Business offers a diverse list of options including nine countries and 16 institutions. The school also rewards students with a scholarship to study abroad making it a similar cost to study in London as it would be internationally. The process for completing a semester abroad could not be any easier and I advise every college student to take the leap.
With a family history in Ireland and a 100 per cent matchup between my marketing courses, I chose to enroll at the Waterford Institute of Technology (W.I.T.) for the winter semester. I have been in Ireland since the beginning of January and I can already say that it has been the greatest experience of my life.
When I arrived in Ireland, making friends was extremely easy. There were over 80 incoming international students and the majority of them travelled alone. Everyone brought their own culture and background with them and being able to meet other students from a variety of countries was very rewarding. Adapting to school in Ireland was simple. Not only does each course have one assessment, you only require a 40 per cent to pass. As a Fanshawe marketing student, I am used to having a heavier course load with multiple assignments in each class. At W.I.T., all of my courses contain only one project and most of them you are allowed to work with up to five other students.
Having a lighter academic workload has allowed me to spend more time travelling around Ireland and other European countries. In the first month, I spent most weekends exploring Ireland and was able to see the Cliffs of Moher, Cork and Dublin city and bike 46 kilometres along the Waterford Greenway through the Comeragh Mountains. In the second half of my semester, I will also see the Aran Islands in Galway, Giant's Causeway in Belfast and spend St. Patrick's Day watching the parade through Dublin.
Studying in a European country has also made it easier and cheaper to travel to neighbouring countries. With plane tickets being cheaper than a bus ticket from London to Toronto, it is difficult to keep your feet in one place at a time. I spent the February study break travelling to Barcelona and Madrid in Spain and then Porto and Lisbon in Portugal. The school also has a two week Easter break in March when I will travel to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic. By the end of my semester I will have seen the majority of Ireland and seven other countries.
Although I was not expecting much of a culture shock in Ireland, there were still some things that I had to get used to. Between a few close calls from crossing the street with their cars driving on the opposite side of the road and feeling colder in Ireland than I was in Canada, I have had to do some adapting.
Ireland has brought a new meaning to the saying, “If you don't like the weather just wait five minutes”, I have experienced 10 different types of rain, and it is true that Guinness tastes a lot better in Ireland.
All in all, I have experienced things that I would have never been able to do had I not taken this opportunity. I have made friends that will last a lifetime and developed certain skills and independence that only travelling can give you.
To get more information about studying abroad, visit www.fanshawec.ca/international. To see pictures of my travels, follow my instagram @laur.dd.