Blog by Luiza Reis
Living in another country might mean being a little outside your comfort zone. Packing up your stuff, taking international flights, communicating in another language, at first sight all these steps seem like challenges and they are!
But at the end of the year, when looking back on all of these challenges, everything looks like a wonderful life experience! However, travelling has its ups and downs and for many of the international students, for example the ones who came under the Science without Borders program, like me, the connections between the flights were the main concern.
Travel – be prepared and bring a reminder from home
Rodolfo, who studies Computer Science at UCC, said that the interval between his flight from London to Cork was two hours and a half. However, the airport was extremely huge and he reached the right gate with only 15 minutes left to get on board! In his luggage, as with many other students, he brought some things that would always remind him of his homeland. Such as the flag of his state, Rio Grande do Sul and the “chimarrao”, a traditional Brazilian infused drink made with bitter mate.
Antonio, a Medicine student, brought with him a flag from his state (Goias), and a Brazilian flag. He says that his first feelings when getting on board the plane were freedom and excitement! I additionally felt nostalgia. I remember I had often caught myself thinking how it would be living for so many months away from home. However, adapting and putting yourself out there in your new environment is essential if you want to live and study in another place and culture.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
In the words of Antonio, if there is something that you learn when living abroad it is that you should not get ashamed or embarrassed of yourself when making a mistake, when speaking a foreign language, because it is only by learning from your mistakes that you will succeed! Therefore, when attending an academic seminar or completing an assignment, practice makes things seem easier and everything becomes more spontaneous. So don’t be afraid to make little mistakes in the new language that you will be practicing for the following months – English! It is normal to miss a word or link in a sentence, and perfect grammar and spelling will come with time. Other students might have the same doubts as you, or they might try to help you, so enjoy every moment to its fullest!
Social life, UCC location and facilities
The UCC clubs and societies also play an important role by enriching student social life. Rodolfo was able to see some faraway counties on trips with the Surf Club. He travelled to Lahinch (County Clare), Dingle (County Kerry) and Achill (County Mayo) looking for the best waves and made many Irish friends. He says that seeking good surf lead him to UCC. When applying to study in Ireland, he wanted a place with a nice coast offering good surfing conditions and a city with all the facilities you need but not so big as Dublin and, of course, a great and beautiful university. In his words, “UCC is perfect, it has all the computer laboratories that I need and even more”.