Shikha Shah at the Blarney Stone near Cork, Ireland.According to legend, kissing the Blarney Stone endows you with the ‘gift of the gab’.
Shikha Shah at the Blarney Stone near Cork, Ireland.According to legend, kissing the Blarney Stone endows you with the ‘gift of the gab’.

Immersed in Ireland

Macquarie University and Global Leadership student Shikha Shah recently returned from a semester abroad in Ireland. Here’s her story about her unforgettable experience. 

 It was six months in the making, almost to the day since I found out I was going on exchange and the excitement, the preparation and anxiousness leading up to that one day, finally arrived!

I was flying more than half way across the world to a country that is just a fraction the size of Australia (literally, Australia is more than 100 times larger than Ireland). I was leaving the beautiful Sydney beaches and heading to where the weather always seems to be less than 10 degrees. The national colour is green (as is most of the country) and the accents are so thick but oh so charming at the same time. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Stepping off the plane, I couldn’t wait to get the adventure started and the gloomy weather on arrival did little to dampen my enthusiasm.

I made the most of my time in Ireland, immediately submerging myself in the university culture, going on adventures with fellow students to explore the famous landmarks, the wonderful history, beautiful villages, unrivalled coastal scenery and legendary pub culture, as well as the occasional eventful bus ride!

Without a doubt, my first time living away from home had its ups and downs – socially, physically and emotionally – but each one of those experiences helped me to open up and be receptive to new experiences that I know will be invaluable as I move into my career.

Six months went by in a flash, yet the places I got to explore, the experiences I had, the people I met,
the friendships I built are still strong to this day. The independence that I developed have proven to be
life-changing.

All I can say is, if you are thinking about it, don’t. Jump in, it’s an amazing ride!