Think Piece Thursdays – Rahel Adebabay

Rahel Adebabay | Spring 2023 | SJSU Exchange
University College Dublin, Ireland

From the beginning of my study abroad journey, my goal was clear: I wanted to expand my perspective and decenter from the American perspective in International Relations. Stepping into another country and experiencing a non-American curriculum was just the type of immersion I needed, especially in the early stages of my academic and professional journey. What I found unique and loved about studying at my host university, UCD, was its campus diversity – it essentially brought the world to me. About ⅓ of faculty are international academics and ¼ of the student body represented international students. Engaging with my peers and lecturers who had different perspectives made my academic journey fruitful and reflective. This experience underscored the importance of embracing multiple perspectives and ultimately made me more critical in my approach to global issues.

However, it was outside the classroom where the most profound impact of my study abroad experience occurred, through solo travel. Being fully immersed in various cultures allowed me to learn and grow in ways that I never thought possible. From trying new cuisines to navigating language barriers, each encounter became a lesson in compassion and self-sufficiency. Throughout my study abroad experience, I traveled to 7 other countries in the span of just 5 months. During my spontaneous and exciting journeys, I found myself confronting challenges head-on, strengthening my ability to adapt and thrive in unfamiliar environments.


Today, I attribute my substantial growth in confidence, cultural competency, and navigational skills to the transformative power of my international experience. My journey stands as a testament to the limitless opportunities afforded by international education and its profound capacity to drive positive transformations”

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