My name is Kiersten Kelly and I am a senior at Westfield, and currently, an international student at Dublin Business School in Dublin, Ireland! I am from Charlestown, Massachusetts, which is a small town right in the heart of Boston. Because I grew up in a large Irish family in a predominately Irish town, being able to visit Ireland has always been the top item on my bucket list. From all of the pictures I’d seen, I could tell Ireland was going to be absolutely beautiful; but what I quickly learned since I’ve been in here is that pictures do not do this beautiful country justice.
I left for Dublin on September 15, 2016 and probably didn’t go to sleep until the night of the 17th. If I were to give you one piece of advice, sleep on the plane! It may be uncomfortable and cramped, but that six-hour nap during your flight will save you during your welcoming orientation. Unfortunately, I was unaware that airplane seats recline, so I was unable to fall asleep. I was like a walking zombie, and it shows if you were to look at my Dublin Business School student ID.
Dublin Business School is located in the middle of downtown Dublin. Their international department is awesome when it comes to showing us around Ireland. The international students are required to take an Irish Life and Cultures class, which not only teach us more about the history of Ireland, but also takes us on field trips all over Ireland. So far, we have visited Croke Park, Glasnevin Cemetery, the National Museum of Ireland, Galway, Inis Mor, which is the largest island in the Aran Islands, the Burren region, and the Cliffs of Moher. My favorite place that we’ve visited so far easily has to be the Cliff of Moher. Being there gives you an entirely different perspective on life. The views are utterly breathtaking.
Westfield has a lot of information and resources when it comes to finding out more about studying abroad. If you go into the International Programs web page, you will see the vast amount of international schools that you can apply to right through Westfield. From Poland and England to China and Japan, if you’ve had a dream of studying somewhere, Westfield probably has a program there. Even if you do not want to spend a semester abroad, they have countless programs during winter, spring and summer breaks where you can go and spend a couple of weeks abroad.
One of the things I am most thankful for are the people I’ve met because of my decision to study abroad. I came to Ireland with three other Westfield students, who I didn’t even know until we got on the plane together. We quickly became not only each other’s roommates and friends, but also each other’s personal photographers, dancing partners, traveling buddies, and little reminders of home. These people, along with the other friends I’ve met from all over the world, are the reasons why I’ve been so at home here in Dublin.
Another piece of advice I want to give anyone who is thinking of studying abroad is to travel! It is so cheap to travel through Europe, with round trip flights averaging around $45. In the beginning of November, my school has what’s called Reading Week, which is like Europe’s version of Spring break. During Reading Week, I am traveling to London, Amsterdam, Rome and Paris!
If you have ever thought about studying abroad, I encourage you to do it. It doesn’t matter if you are the only one of your friends going abroad because you’re quickly going to make friends from all over the world. You need to take that leap of faith because trust me, it will definitely pay off. In the few short weeks that I’ve been here, I’ve visited places with some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see, met new friends from all over the world, and gained the sort of independence that you only get once you leave your comfort zone. I would not be able to write this article on my rooftop balcony in the middle of Dublin if I didn’t take that leap of faith, but I’m glad I did.