In this series, Kate Gibbs explains why she decided to pack up and leave Galway to start a new degree and life in Malta. In this piece, she argues that students must be made more aware of the options available to them abroad.
Back home I'm the girl who dropped out of university and upped and left to start a new degree in Malta.
For a small town in Ireland that kind of stuff is unheard of. Moving to Australia to work is common for young Irish adults, but starting a new life on a relatively unknown Mediterranean island? What is Kate thinking?
Driving back from the city one day, my father and I heard on the radio about a website called EUNICAS which allows students in Ireland and the UK to research universities in Europe.
Straight away I wanted to look it up as I had always had an urge to travel, and starting the degree I wanted to do in another country seemed like the perfect option.
With my love of people, writing and the media, a communications degree seemed ideal, especially with the option to do a joint honours with my first love, English Literature.
The whole situation appealed to me so much. The weather in comparison to Ireland, the fact I knew Irish students go here on Erasmus so I wouldn't be short of friends and most importantly, I wouldn't have to pay a cent.
The education is free for all European students, so in comparison to doing a degree in Ireland, my parents were saving over 3,000 euro.
Two years on and I can honestly say it's the best decision I've ever made. I love every second and the friends I have made here will be with me for the rest of my life.
I've become irreversibly independent, my confidence has soared and I am a happier person.
It was an accident or good-timing that I heard about the option to study in Europe and that all the factors added up for me - right place, right time, right mindset.
If other students in Ireland knew about this, I know there would be many more students doing the same thing as me.
Before I found out about Malta, I thought my options were an Irish or an English university. There is so much more out there, and the option to do this should be made more obvious to Irish students finishing the Leaving Certificate.