…From across the ocean, Ireland

By Paul Lilly
February 21, 2008

The idea of studying abroad never really occurred to me. I do though recall the catalyst for my American adventure.

Sitting in a lecture in Queen’s University Belfast along with around 250 other classmates, I was awakened when my law lecturer began telling us of a program where we could study in the U.S. The prospect sounded amazing I thought, yet at the time I did not really take the idea seriously.

None of use really paid much attention to it at the time. If I tell the truth we were all probably still suffering from the night before. Monday night in Belfast is one of the biggest student nights and with the university bar and club having drink promotions, the night soon turned into a memorable one, or perhaps not so memorable as the case may be!

I decided to apply for the program, known officially as the Business Education Initiative. It allows students from Northern Ireland to travel to America and study business under scholarship for one year. The aim of the program is to provide Irish students with business skills as well as enabling the Irish students to enlighten their American classmates on current events in Ireland and the peace process.

Even after applying, I still had no real serious inclination of going. My mother too was even less keen.

When the British Council informed me that I had been successful, and again successful in getting into my chosen college, Cabrini, I began to take the prospect more seriously.

Most people who study abroad plan to do it, or even have to do it as part of their degree. I, on the other hand, do not like to plan things too far ahead.

For much of the summer I did not really even contemplate the fact that I was going to be in the US in a matter of weeks. Rather I took the attitude that if I liked it I would stay, and if I did not I would simply come home again.

Unfortunately for some of my friends, they decided it better to stay at home, and in my view they missed out on a great opportunity.

The benefits of studying abroad cannot be underestimated. I have always loved university life, and the prospect of experiencing American College life excited me greatly. In addition to this, I was getting to travel to the “greatest country on earth” or so I am led to believe by some of my American friends.

In general, studying abroad enables one to broaden ones’ horizons and make a host of new friends. This I thought was an opportunity that could not be missed.

I can thank God for bringing me to Cabrini. It was such luck that I glanced at the college just minutes before the interview.

Settling in was relatively simple. It was almost like going from “home to home.” I will be greatly saddened when I have to leave, yet also very happy at the fact that I decided to come here, making such great friends and having memories that will surely both last a life time.

Paul Lilly

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