The day before the UK and Ireland were added to the US travel ban, I flew back home ending part of my study abroad experience. Graduating seniors and study abroad students are very impacted; seniors this year are unable to walk across the stage and study abroad students had their experiences pulled from underneath them.
I say that only part of my study abroad experience ended because since I have arrived back home in States, my learning and growing in Ireland have not stopped. My classes and internship are being completed remotely. One of the biggest challenges of studying and working remotely has been the time difference. Ireland is 5 hours ahead of me and the time difference has made it difficult to attend class sessions via Zoom along with scheduling time for group meetings on projects. Despite these challenges, I have still been able to still find ways to connect and share information efficiently between my classmates or my professors. By setting reminders and embracing different programs like Google Docs, Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom, I am still able to participate in my study abroad experience without having to be in Dublin.
While study abroad experiences entail many challenges and adventures, COVID-19 presented new hurdles that left me and my family speechless. No one could have predicted what this semester would be like. While I’m grateful to be home with my family, I still wish I could have spent my full time in Dublin.