Studying abroad is an exhilarating way to try new things. From the food and the language, to the music and the sights, you get to encounter new things everyday. While all the “new” can be amazing for a little while, once you begin to experience culture shock, “new” can become a bit overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, “new” is why I decided to travel abroad and study at the University of Limerick in Ireland. I wanted to try, experience, and learn new things while emerging myself in a different culture. But that does not mean I do not miss my home, family and friends.
Over the past three weeks I have learned that hobbies are a great way to bring something you love from home to your new and exciting environment! The University of Limerick offers many different clubs and societies, as most colleges do, and I decided to look around and not only find clubs that were new and exciting, but also ones that matched up with something I was already interested in.
Back home I love to hike and go on adventures with my friends, and lucky for me, I found the Outdoor Pursuits Club. The Outdoor Pursuits Club is a group of students who love being outdoors; they go hiking, caving, rock climbing and mountaineering.
I signed up and went on the beginners hike to the Kerry Way. The Kerry Way was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, even though it was raining (welcome to Ireland). I had a blast; I got to meet great people and make lasting friendships, all on a 12-kilometer hike. Being interested in the same activity helped us get to know each other and create those friendships. Everyone was so supportive, and it made me feel like I was back at home hiking with my friends.
It felt amazing doing something familiar and at the same time experiencing something new! Joining this club not only gave me a sense of something familiar, it also gave me the opportunity to see new sights I would have never seen and to meet new people that I would have never met. It was the perfect balance between new and familiar, so do not be afraid to join clubs and societies you already take interest in, you will still be able to experience the “new.”