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After staying in Ireland for 10 months, I went back to Germany 2 weeks ago. It is a very strange feeling to be at home, I am not used to driving on the right side of a road or living with my parents anymore.
I would say that the highlight of my exchange year was definitely getting to know people from all over the world, living within a different culture, speaking English all of the time and exploring Dublin and the area around my host family’s house.
It was interesting to see how English connects people and builds a bridge between cultures which would not happen without people speaking the same language. I made great friends at school and outside of school and not seeing these people is very hard, but I know that I can always come back to Ireland which turned into my second home and visit them.
The only thing that made everything a bit more difficult was the lockdown due to covid, but it wasn’t really a problem to stick to the rules and stay within the 5 km restrictions.
I went for a lot of walks and enjoyed the beautiful landscape but I would have liked to see my friends on the west coast of Ireland and to see more from Ireland than the Greater Dublin Area.
I also had to quarantine during Christmas but this was still a nice experience because I could stay with my friends and had a good time with them.
It was difficult to go to a new and different school and to find new friends as well which got better after some time and I needed to learn to be more open and how to start and become a part of a conversation. I think that my exchange year has changed me.
I have become way more independent and know how to do things on my own and how to organise myself to make the best out of my days. I also learned that you can be at home where ever you want to be, if you really try to integrate and interact with people.
My social skills, language skills and my urge to travel and see different places have improved and have got stronger over the year and I would love to turn back the time and relive my last months in Ireland.
All of these reasons are reasons why I would recommend studying abroad. I already miss the atmosphere in Dublin, it is just the feeling you get when you walk through the streets and enjoy the little shops, pubs and lanes.
It is way more personal as well; the people are incredibly friendly, and I do not remember anything negative people said to me.
Dublin is also very close to the sea and you can go to a beach very easily from literally everywhere, which I love.
I met a lot of amazing people who turned into great friends and I cannot wait to get back to Ireland and visit them again, I enjoyed the Irish school and living in Ireland very much and I know that it is a place I definitely want to go to again and which will always be a big part of me.