Studying abroad in Ireland has always been a dream of mine. I had the opportunity to fulfill that dream this semester. Ireland is a beautiful country and I have enjoyed exploring it. I have seen so many castles that remind me of scenes from Frozen. I have crossed the Rope Bridge and seen Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
While in Europe, I have visited other countries. I spent my Easter Break traveling with a wonderful group of friends. I got to sit on the beach in Barcelona and relax. I got to see palaces in London and I have decided I want one. I have gotten to eat pizza, pasta, and gelato every single day while in Italy. It has truly been a semester of experiencing beauty in this world.
While studying abroad has afforded me the opportunity to explore the beauty of the world, I have also seen hate and ignorance. I knew that as a black woman, my experience might be different than the narratives I have heard before. I racial slurs spouted at me in Florence. I have heard people openly talk about white males having a harder time entering medical school. I have been stared down on the streets because I am such a novelty. While these are my personal struggles, I have also seen the bombings in Brussels affect the continent. I have heard waiters talk about refugees being the reason for increased rape. During the time I have been abroad, I have seen the widespread effect of intolerance for difference.
During my time abroad, I feel as if I have experienced some of the best and worst this world has to offer. I have learned so much about myself. I now know that working abroad after graduation would not be ideal for me. I have learned to be fearless while exploring. I have learned that I am capable of doing so much more than I thought before this semester. I am also learning how I am seen in this world because of the identities I hold. This semester has prompted me to be confident in the power of my existence. I have had to believe in my value, strength, and power. I am a better, wiser human for studying abroad. Most importantly, I have awesome pictures as proof.
Assiatou Jallow is a sophomore majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. She is currently studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland.