Being far away from everything you know can be a challenge, but UCD third-year Christina Debowski has overcome the hurdle of homesickness by bridging her extracurriculars from back home to her host campus. Read her account on how joining Ultimate Frisbee at Trinity College has opened the door to friends, new opportunities, and the feeling of belonging during her time abroad!
The thing about leaving the country to study abroad for the semester is that while you’re exponentially excited for all the new exciting people, places and adventures you’ll find abroad, you can’t help but miss everything and everyone you’re leaving at home. Luckily for me, Ireland was very kind and after a few weeks I had not only made some friends and logged some serious Dublin exploring hours, but I had also found a balance in staying in touch with my friends and family. The one thing I was missing though were my teammates and playing Ultimate Frisbee. I knew I wanted to play Ultimate here in Ireland almost as soon as I found out that I was accepted to Trinity College. I had played for two years back at UC Davis, and it became such a crucial part of my life that I knew I couldn’t stay away from the sport for too long.
When I finally got to Trinity, it was that feeling that I needed to play Ultimate that got me over that bit of anxiety before the first practice- It’s never easy to randomly walk into a gym full of people who all know each other. In the end though, it was hands down the best decision I made here in Ireland. For all the nerves I had built up about joining a team, they immediately welcomed me into their gang of misfits (as all good Frisbee people do) and it wasn’t long before the Ultimate Frisbee Club became ingrained into my new life here in Dublin.
Not only do I get to play my favourite sport constantly every week, but I get the opportunity to play and travel in tournaments around Ireland. Some of my favourite memories that I’ve made so far were at our Mixed Outdoor tournament where I got to play on a co-ed team (something new to me coming from an all-girls team). What I am most thankful for though are the friends that I’ve made on the team. I never thought I would be able to make so many Irish and local friends who I would become so close to. They taught me Irish slang, where to find Mexican food (invaluable knowledge for a southern Californian), and how to best experience Ireland. But most importantly they gave me a family of sorts when I’m so far away from home.