Hello ! I am Marie and I am French having landed in Ireland since September for a duration of 10 months. I have gone as part of my studies to undertake an academic year in this country for, like many people here, to improve my English. First reason certainly but also to set off on an adventure in this unknown country until then, to have an extra experience abroad and learn a lot of things.
If someone had told me that I would go to Ireland a few months ago, I would not have believed it. It was not something that I had planned. This is an opportunity that has happened to me and of course, I have grasped it. It is a decision that I absolutely don’t regret… Living an experience abroad, in this case alone, brings us so much, it opens us to the outside world, teaches us to become autonomous, to live in a community.
This is not my first experience abroad but I must admit that this one is not comparable with any other, as it is different.
I am lucky to have parents who give me the opportunity to make my own choices and to support me. My parents, who have already lived in several countries, are the kind of parents who push their children to exceed, to go out of their comfort zone and to be confronted with new situations in order to grow up. I remember a sentence my mother told me: “I may be an overprotective mother but I will always encourage you to go abroad for new experiences.”
I never really wondered what my parents felt about seeing me go abroad for a long time. So I asked them a few questions about it. To introduce them to you, my mum is Catarine and she is Brazilian, my dad is Christophe and he is French.
Have you ever studied or lived abroad?
Ca: Yes, I lived in 5 different countries and did my university studies abroad in Canada.
Ch: Yes, 1 year in Scotland and 2 years in Canada as part of my studies. 2 years in the USA and 2 years in Switzerland as part of my job.
Why did you decide to go abroad?
Ca: I decided to go abroad in order to improve my English.
Ch: For the studies, to learn English and to get an international experience, long enough to really understand the culture of the foreign country, to learn to be independent from parents and make my own living. It was also the opportunity to give a different orientation to my studies and major in a different field (chemical engineering instead of chemistry).
What important things have you learned?
Ca: How to live in a community, how to cope with a new environment, different cultures and different ways of thinking.
Ch: The English language, as spoken by the “real” people, adjust to a different culture, not only from the natives of the country but also from other foreign students being with me and being independent
Why did you let me go abroad?
Ca: I let you go abroad so you can have the chance to improve the language as well, and also to live new experiences.
Ch: For the same reasons as myself, to give you the taste for challenges and the opportunity to pursue your studies significantly beyond just a DUT (obtain a Bachelor which would then open the door for a Master). Being we trusted you!
What was your state of mind before I left?
Ca: I was confident that you were going to do well whatever it happens, as you were well prepared for having also lived in three other countries following your parents’ job expatriations.
Ch: No special state of mind. To me, this was an opportunity that you could not refuse, a natural next step to your personal and professional development. No worries at all since we trust your capabilities and sense of adaptability.
What was your state of mind after I left?
Ca: I was still confident.
Ch: A peaceful state of mind, for the reasons mentioned above. You have been keeping in touch often enough, so we know that everything works OK for you, even if sometimes you run into some challenges, but that was expected and desired (no pain, no gain !)
What are the main worries that you have?
Ca: My main worries are that the residence where you live is quiet and that roommates are ok so that you can concentrate on your studies.
Ch: No particular worries. My only concern is if you do not obtain your Bachelor, as it would be a big disappointment for you and would compromise the chance you obtained to start a Master next year in France.
How do you live the distance?
Ca: I live the distance quite well, as we are always connected and exchange via e-mail, skype, etc.
Ch: Distance is not an issue, especially in 2017, with the internet, Skype, WhatsApp, etc… it’s like you are still with us. Besides, the comes back home every 3 or 4 months. In fact, it’s almost too easy compared to my own experience as a student in a foreign country, back in …. 1986 – 1989 (at that time, it was a quick phone call once a month, and letters…)