Where To StudyIrelandLeaving Canada

Leaving Canada

Jessica Tomlinson
My name is Jessica Tomlinson. I am studying abroad in Ireland during my second year from the University of Alberta. I am studying Elementary Education and plan on becoming a teacher one day. I love trying new experiences and meeting new people!


Starting off on a new adventure is always very scary and exciting.

Deciding what to bring with me was difficult and therefore procrastinating was super easy (although I do not recommend you do this). Getting everything to fit into two suitcases was something I was not prepared for, but I was also not prepared for how far I would have to drag my luggage to get it to my dorm. Thankfully university students met us at the bus stop to help us get everything to the university.

Before leaving I always focused on all the experiences that were waiting for me and all the new adventures that I would be going on.  I never realized how much I would miss my family and friends until it was time to say goodbye. Flying solo for the very first time was extremely intimidating but it also gave me a sense of independence. Although leaving your home is daunting, arriving in a new country and settling into your new home is exhilarating!

New Year, New School

I started my year abroad in September when I moved to Maynooth. Landing in Dublin airport was when it finally all started to feel real. Right from the airport I was able to meet some people who were also catching the bus to the university. We all got settled and went and explored the campus for a bit.

Everything was new and exciting, something that was so different but within only a couple of weeks would become familiar. Next up was supper which we decided to go for the traditional Irish stew and of course a pint of Guinness, the best way to start off my Irish experience!

The new campus was wonderful, it’s everything you expect Ireland to be, very green! It’s very different from my campus back home. Switching to a university town from a big city changes the atmosphere of the campus. Having fewer students definitely changes the dynamics of a school but also having the town atmosphere creates a greater sense of home.

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Arriving Into Ireland/ My Dorm Room View

Culture Shock

Ireland is very different from my home in Canada, yet it already feels like home. It’s comforting to know that somewhere very unfamiliar to me is able to feel like home. Everyone is very welcoming and willing to help you out whenever you need it. Every place I have been in Ireland I have always felt welcome and it leaves me with the desire to go back and meet more people. Going to the local grocery stores, I experience the struggle of having to convert the euro to the dollar to see how much I spend. I hope that it gets to the point where I’m aware of the exchange but not having to fixate on it, this will make the many purchases that I make a lot easier.

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A Traditional Irish Meal/ Maynooth Campus

I never thought that the Irish accent would sometimes be difficult to understand, not to mention the slang words they use. At first when I heard ‘What’s the craic?’ (What’s happening?) I was a little confused. As it’s just a common Irish phrase and practically everyone uses it, you just get used to it.

My journey has begun and I can’t wait for all that lies ahead of me!

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