“I don’t get homesick, I get sick of home,” I chirped with a grin to everyone who asked me about my impending move to Dublin, around this time last year. In the back of my mind I always knew that even the mighty can get a twinge of homesickness here and there, but I, my stubborn self, figured that I was invincible.

When I packed up my life into four giant suitcases during the last days of August 2017, I was prepared. I was prepared to say goodbye to my grandparents; although I lived across the street from them my entire life, I knew that I would call them all the time, and Nana’s cooking would taste even better after a few months of ramen noodles. I was prepared to say goodbye to my sister, and with her newfound Snapchat addiction, I knew it would be difficult to not keep in touch with my built-in best friend. I was even prepared to leave my mom and dad — my parents, role models, and the ones who raised me to be the person I am today. Prepared to leave Massachusetts, prepared to leave my home. But with first year under my belt, and three more years ahead of me, I am not ashamed to admit that I was actually not prepared then, and I don’t know if I ever entirely will be.

Phone calls and FaceTime work to lessen the distance, but iPhones can’t deliver hugs from your mom

Students travel from near and far to attend UCD and I expect that most international students will agree with me: being so far from home is hard. Phone calls and FaceTime work to lessen the distance, but iPhones can’t deliver hugs from your mom. Not yet, anyways.

Time does not standstill while you are away. Birthdays, holidays, weddings. Grandparents age, little sisters turn into young women. At times I have felt defeated, and questioned my decision to move so far away, especially when it seems I am missing out on so much at home. In the early months of last fall, I was afraid. I was terrified, actually. It had long been my dream to study in Ireland, but I wondered during those months if it was worth it. Worth leaving my family, worth leaving my best friends. Was it worth leaving the only home I had ever known?

The short answer: yes. It was all worth it. I think of all that I have gained during my first year. Lifelong friends, more stamps on my passport, a sense of independence. I joined societies, way too many. I learned how to study for college exams, for the most part. I took classes I am passionate about, and met people who are equally enthusiastic. All of that AND I am able to drink legally. Ireland truly opened doors for me. In all seriousness, what once was the scariest decision I ever made, but now stands as the best.

To my fellow international students, I wish I could tell you that homesickness goes away, that one morning you will wake up and BOOM, you’ll never miss home. Not only would that be a lie, but in my opinion, it’s impossible.

To my fellow international students, I wish I could tell you that homesickness goes away, that one morning you will wake up and BOOM, you’ll never miss home. Not only would that be a lie, but in my opinion, it’s impossible. It is natural to miss your family and friends. It is natural to miss your home. But I can promise that it does get better. I no longer yearn for home as I once did, and I think that is because I now realise that I have two homes instead of one. I feel immensely grateful to love and be loved by so many people, on both sides of the Atlantic. And I hope everyone finds a home in Dublin, as I did.