Studying Abroad is a Leap of Faith

Guest Post By: Anarae Mouth, a Senior studying Marketing and Information Systems. He is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and he studied abroad through a Foster Exploration Seminar in Dublin, Ireland, during Early Fall Start 2023.

When I first found out about studying abroad during the early fall start, it was when I was dissatisfied with my perspective and looking for a change of pace. I wanted to ease my anxieties over my future while developing a new outlook on my career path. I had always wanted to study abroad, but being gone for a quarter in another country was daunting. So, when my professor spoke about the professional and cultural learning that could be had within a three-week trip to Ireland, I knew almost immediately I would regret not taking the opportunity to go abroad. There was also the opportunity to work on a consulting project for an international company in the program, which I knew would be a very gratifying experience.

Once I arrived in Ireland, I was not sure what to expect, but one thing I truly underestimated for the trip was how close everyone in the study group would come to be. After the first activity, where we had a scavenger hunt exploring Dublin, that is when I knew lifelong bonds would begin. This experience helped me realize the value of the time you have with others and the connections you build with them. The scavenger hunt also encouraged us to speak with locals for directions, which they were glad to help. In my experience, the Irish people are very witty and incredibly kind.

Outside of the scavenger hunt, I also had memorable conversations with an Irish local and another with two Germans around my age. They truly opened my eyes to traveling and the vastness of the world. It was enjoyable to learn about other people’s cultures and exchange what our countries are like. With the local, we also ended up talking about all the countries we wanted to explore, and it truly encouraged me to want to travel more. It also solidified the potential idea of working abroad in another country, which originally came to mind at DocuSign. During that visit, I also learned that the work culture in Ireland or even the EU is very different from that of the US in how they balance personal life and work life. I would also learn this at companies like Meta and Cisco.

On an earlier company visit to EY, I would also come to learn several business tips. However, one of them resonated with me as a life tip: “Make your own luck”. In a way, hearing that quote helped me build confidence in the choices I make and in expressing myself. After that visit, I was also very motivated to reach out for internships and put my skills into the workforce. I also learned a lot about the value of community involvement and experiences with the Gaelic Athletic Association. The athletes in the Irish national sports are volunteers, and it is all about representing your county. A few of us had a fun time with a local who was very proud of their county, and the saying “Bring home the Sam cup” from that local stuck with many of us.

All in all, I am very fortunate for the opportunity to go abroad to Ireland, and I hope to experience other countries and their cultures in the near future. I am thinking of visiting Germany, Australia, or Japan next. After visiting Ireland, I genuinely believe I grew in a way I wouldn’t have otherwise if I stayed solely in the US. Seeing the various cultures and realizing how small I am in the world eased my anxieties and helped me find value in the impact and connections I have with other people. It also makes me excited for what is to come in my next year at the University of Washington and the new people that I will come to meet.