Study Abroad

What’s It Like Studying Abroad?

Moving away from home can be tough, but moving away from home to a different country is even more difficult. It’s hard at any age but especially a young age.

Ciera Joyce (19), moved to Bangor in Wales when she was 17. She is studying ‘Sports Science’ in Bangor University.

Although she comes back for holidays such as Christmas, she doesn’t think she would ever move back to Ireland.

“I think there are more opportunities here, especially in the big cities like London and Manchester. There are definitely jobs available especially in sports which is what I want to work in but personally, I think it depends on what you want to do, for example I know people who want to work in agriculture which is great for staying in Ireland but other areas in the work sector are better abroad.”

Moving to a different country can be great for learning new things and gaining life skills and experiences but at the age of 17, some people are still in school.

“I do find it really difficult sometimes being really young away from home especially because being at uni, I’ll go months without seeing any of my family or friends which does make me homesick sometimes,” Ciera says.

On another note, it’s great for independence and character development and “the friends I’ve made here are irreplaceable and me leaving home was probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.”

Colette Folan (20) moved to Boston in America when she was 18 years old. According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the number of immigrants to the State in the year from April 2015 to April 2016 is estimated to have increased by almost 15% from 69,300 to 79,300.

Colette says there were many reasons why she moved away, but the main reason was her Leaving Certificate results.

“There’s not many opportunities in Ireland if you don’t get the points needed for your chosen course. I was scared about retaking the Leaving Cert in case I did even worse, so I did a 1-year course in GTI.”

She says the faculty staff were amazing but she personally felt like it was such a disappointment form NUIG or UL.

Colette said the second she moved she realised there were so many more opportunities, with night classes for college or plenty of professions with promotions.

“For instance, my job is encouraging me to go to college with financial aid from themselves.” In Ireland, there’s very few jobs that offer that kind of financial support.

Similar to Ciera, it’s hard to say if she would move back.

“I’m just after getting a job working for the Inspectional Service Department of Boston City which is already opening a lot of doors for me. I do miss my family and friends very much, but if I were to move home there wouldn’t be many job opportunities for me. Maybe my mindset will change if or when I have children, but for now, I don’t see myself moving home.”

Colette would highly recommend moving to another county.

“I would advise anyone who has moved or is moving to try and make new friends and travel. Although I have been here for almost a year and a half, I’m only taking my own advice now.”

She said when she first moved she kept to herself, which she now admits is wrong.

“You need a support system after a big change like that or it can be very lonely.”

She does wish she didn’t leave so young, “looking at snapchats of all my friends in college while I’m working two full-time jobs does get to me sometimes and I feel like I had to grow up too fast but what’s done is done and I’m so fortunate to be where I am.”