Tomorrow, I’m turning in my application to spend next fall studying in Northern Ireland.
The idea of studying abroad has been on my radar since childhood, and exactly one year ago, I got a taste of international travel with the London trip. But a longer-term commitment in Northern Ireland has been wheeling around in the back of my head since my freshman year.
The particular study abroad program I’m applying for is through the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. Essentially the deal is, I can (hopefully) attend one of five Northern Ireland universities but pay the price of tuition at The College of Idaho. And since the Heritage program pays for almost all of my tuition, I’ll only need to pay for room and board, and travel in Northern Ireland.
I’ve been looking at the application info on and off for about two years, and at the beginning of this year, I started to get my real application together. It’s not a complicated application by any means, but I met with my advisor in September and figured out a rough timeline for putting the materials together. The application consists of an essay, official transcript, two letters of recommendation, and nomination from the College. I started drafting my application essay over fall break, and asked for letters of recommendation shortly thereafter. My two letters of rec were sent directly to the dean, whom I’ll turn my application in to tomorrow, and who will in turn send it off to Kentucky, where presumably the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities will look it over.
After that, the Northern Ireland schools will make their decisions about who to accept, and I should know by March if I’ve got a spot anywhere.
Now that everything is assembled and ready to be handed in, I feel like I’ve bluffed my way into applying for this opportunity, simply by always having vaguely expected to study abroad somewhere. It feels like I’m bluffing because when I stop and think about it, it’s pretty terrifying to possibly go from attending a tiny school 30 miles from home to attending a massive university on the other side of the world. Then I think, I won’t know anyone, and I won’t have any friends. And then I think about all the friends I’ve made at the College spending half of our senior year here without me. And then I think, did I already spend my last fall on the campus and not even stop to appreciate it?
But even when I consider all those petrifying aspects at once, I know I’ll still turn in this application, and if there’s a spot for me in Northern Ireland, I’ll go. I love the College, and I’m very comfortable here. And knowing that, it’s time for me to try for something that will push the boundaries again, and if that opportunity takes me quite literally outside of my comfort zone, then it’s all the better.
From the cozy and safe basement of the library,
Megan is a junior Literature in English major from Boise, Idaho.