Lessons From My First Two Weeks Studying Abroad in Dublin

Jun 10, 2019 10:45:00 AM / by Katie Berlin

For anyone nervous about studying abroad, Katie's advice is "do NOT be." In this week's post, she shares how she's been loving every minute of her time abroad and why this is an exciting experience for her. Katie also lists some tips that will do you some good from how not to overpack and what essentials you need to bring (like clothing layers).

Slán America, Dia dhuit Ireland

Let me introduce myself before we get into the nitty gritty of my first week getting culture shocked. Hello everyone, my name is Katie Berlin and for the next few weeks I will be writing about my experience as a first-time study abroad student. So buckle up and strap in for the brutally honest experiences I am about to deliver to you guys.

First things first: WHAT TO PACK. To all my ladies out there, your girl WAY OVER PACKED.... Now hear me out—I came a week early with my family and saw some beautiful, and I mean BEAUTIFUL, sights. The overambitious fashionista in me may or may not have brought more bags upon arrival than what CAPA suggested. The only reason this worked out for me was because my family helped me move in, so I would highly suggest only packing the essentials. The essentials are different for everyone, so below I listed some of my personal necessary items to bring.

Me at the Blarney CastleHere I am at Blarney Castle.

Now, these are the ESSENTIALS, as in you MUST bring to Ireland, in order to survive here:

An Umbrella
Do this or your trip when the sky spontaneously cries will be MISERABLE.

I understand some of you may be from states that do not need this, like me. Let me be the first to say, they are the bread and butter of how to conquer the weather here. IF YOU DO NOT LAYER UP, YOUR EXPERIENCE HERE WILL MAKE YOU HOME SICK SO QUICKLY. It can go from 50 and windy to 70 and sunny in a matter of minutes—minutes, people. And I wish that was an exaggeration. Layers will make a world of difference for your time here, so choose wisely what you think will be the best.

While I am extremely guilty of this, I would HIGHLY suggest to any student coming to Dublin that you truly find your perfect layered outfits and limit it to one bag. You are going to be here for a while, so you are going to buy several items throughout your adventures. Worst part? You will have to return it all to the States. So definitely keep that in mind.

Ask past students/adults for advice on what they brought
Now this is the most important piece of information I have found most personable. It is one thing to read a general pamphlet of the mass, overall items, but it is another thing to have someone give you their personal experience on what jackets to bring, what bags to get, and what shoes do not work here (HIGH HEELS AND STILETTOS ARE A NO GO LADIES). Do your research, ask for advice, and google as much as you can to ease your wondering minds.

Ask for help
Next thing I have learned in my short time: do not be afraid to ask for help! The Irish culture is that of an inviting atmosphere with truly kind individuals. Everyone I have met, from the countryside to the city center, have been very sweet in providing recommendations, directions, and any advice you would like their opinions on. Be respectful and very polite, but never be nervous to ask for the help.

Me on the Giants Causeway (Bushmills)At Giant's Causeway!

Plan your travels
One last thing to keep in mind: TRAVEL TRAVEL TRAVEL! While we are here to study abroad first, getting here a week early with my family allowed me the opportunity to see the breathtaking countryside, some iconic Game of Thrones locations (and there are PLENTY of these), and some of the most beautiful bed and breakfast places to stay in. Traveling in Ireland is relatively cheap; the flights out of this country are also on average very affordable. This country is rich in history, so I HIGHLY suggest seeing as much as you can with the time allowed.

Me at Winterfell castle on a Game of Thrones tour at Down PatrickSword fighting at Winterfell Castle on a Game of Thrones tour at Down Patrick.

For anyone nervous about coming, do NOT be. This is such an exciting experience and I have loved every minute of it thus far. I really hoped this helped anyone needing some last-minute departure advice. Tune in next time on my advice for how to balance your study abroad classes, internship, and fun!!

On my Hawk Walk at Ashford CastleOn my Hawk Walk at Ashford Castle.

Farewell, for now.

Thanks, Katie!

Katie Berlin


Katie Berlin is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2019, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Industrial and Systems Engineering major at University of Florida, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

Katie's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Dublin Program

Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations