JAZZ – Wrapping up Study Abroad after COVID-19

Despite my study abroad experience ending early as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak I still thoroughly enjoyed my experience and encourage others to go abroad if given the opportunity. Studying abroad in Dublin gave me the chance to complete an internship and connect with the diverse Dublin population. During my time in Dublin, I took trips with my FIE group where I was able to visit Galloway and the Aran Islands, these trips emerged me deep into the heritage and local culture of the Irish. 

By studying abroad, I was able to experience customs, heritage, daily ways of life and activities. Since I am a triple minority thus having a low socioeconomic status and being a bisexual African American woman traveling has always been a desire of mine, but I lacked the resources to do so. By attending Elon and being an Odyssey scholar I was then able to participate in the FIE program during my time in the program I was also able to go to Barcelona, Spain for spring break furthering my experience with new cultures. 

The classes in Dublin at the Dublin Business School and meeting other study abroad students allowed me to learn in different styles of teaching. Unfortunately, I was not able to take classes geared towards my major directly which would have let me see another side to how Computer Science is taught in other countries. But, I was able to take Business, Literature and Culture classes which gave me first-hand experience in Ireland’s economy, literature, and past. In my classes abroad I was taken back from how foreigners viewed American politics and media. These experiences are some that cannot be learned from a book or a video, but only from being there in the moment.

Leaving a month early from study abroad trip was bittersweet, but I still feel like I got to make the most of my time in Ireland and Spain. The ability to strengthen my skills in learning new languages, acquiring knowledge of working in other countries, great education and culture. Studying abroad taught me new interest, new things about my self and really allowed me to reflect deeply on what I want in life. Visting Ireland was my first time ever leaving the country while it was daunting and overwhelming at times navigating through new terrain, culture, language, and education threw me new challenges that further developed my skills in problem-solving. 

Overall I highly recommend that if given the opportunity you should study abroad and make sure to heavily research where you want to go for the best classes, education style, culture for you. There are many benefits that come with studying abroad and the fear of a pandemic won’t stop me from traveling abroad again. The COVID-19 pandemic ended my study abroad experience ended, but it hasn’t stopped me from wanting to travel abroad and didn’t stop me from continuing my study abroad education after I was sent back to the United States.

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