There have been numerous personal benefits from studying abroad that I have experienced this semester so far. Currently, I am studying in Ireland at the University of Limerick, but, regardless of the university or country, the number of benefits one can have from being aboard are endless.

The most significant benefit I have had so far is being able to experience different cultures first hand. Not only am I living in another country, but I am also surrounded by other study abroad students from different parts of the world.

I am living on campus with a student from the Netherlands and three people from Ireland. We decided to have a housemate dinner once a week, making each other traditional food from our home country. Not only do I get to taste amazing food, but while we eat, we discuss different ways of life and exchange childhood stories. Every day, I am able to learn something new about the people around me and their daily lives. It is a great way to be able to understand and appreciate the different ways of living.

The second biggest benefit I have had is my own personal growth. By being so far away from home and in another country, I’ve realized what I am able to achieve on my own.

(image credit: Logan Waterman) Killarney National Park provides hikers with views such as this.

I have been able to explore an unfamiliar land and figure out how to get from place to place successfully. I learned the hard way that the best way to travel to new places is to go with the flow. I might take the wrong bus (which I have done) but I eventually get to where I am going.

By not being so concerned about sticking to a plan, one can truly appreciate the area around them. It is okay if nothing goes as intended, and this was the most eye-opening realization I have had here, and it will continue to be a valuable life lesson no matter where I am in the world.

Every student should take advantage of studying abroad while in college. There will never be another opportunity to spend a semester, or even a year, in another county with help from two huge support systems: SNHU and a foreign university. While abroad, you are faced with so many chances to experience culture, travel and meet a variety of people, and this experience allows you to grow as a person and opens doors to new experiences.

Many people might have concerns about being far away from home or not being able to understand the language, but once you are in the middle of another country, it is amazing what you can overcome.

Everyone I have met so far while being abroad has been understanding, helpful and kind. Never have I not been able to stop a stranger and ask for directions. Even if they don’t speak English, between pointing and broken communication, it can be figured out where I need to go.

For missing home, I FaceTime with my family (and my dog) at least once a week, and they have even made plans to come and visit me.

Most people dream of taking a long vacation traveling Europe, and studying aboard gives me the chance to not only spend a few days here, but spend several months fully immersed the culture.