Penn Abroad Ambassador Ishaani Basu

Ishaani Goes to Ireland
CAS '24
SA: CASA Dublin: Trinity College Dublin
Semester Abroad (SA)


  • SA: Casa Dublin: Trinity College Dublin

Ask me about...

  • Being an international student studying abroad

  • Homesickness and ways to overcome it

  • Integrating with your home school and home country

  • Travelling solo!

My Experience:

The style of teaching at Trinity College Dublin was much more practical than theoretical and broadened my way of thinking. My history courses fulfilled general education requirements and it was an enthralling experience to study European history in such a historically prominent institution. I joined several clubs (known as societies) and it was interesting to understand Trinity's approach to professional and club recruiting, which is much more inclusive and relaxed than Penn. 

There are three things that I believe are unique to my experience. One, I am an international student from India so everyone would joke that I was studying abroad times two. I think this makes my experience different because I was able to understand what was truly unique about the Irish/European student life, as opposed to just someone who was dealing with the nuances of being abroad.

Second, because I am an Indian citizen, I was not able to travel outside Ireland for the first 3 months because of visa issues. Compared to other exchange students, this gave me a chance to truly integrate with my home country and home school. I became friends with Trinity students who became family, and I visited every small town in Ireland before venturing out to travel in Europe.

Lastly, I can speak to how to adjust to a new environment and overcome the challenges you face while abroad. My first week was very hard, I missed my family/Penn and did not know anyone in Dublin. I had to really put myself out there to become friends with Trinity students and it took 2-3 weeks but was so worth it. I am happy to help out anyone who needs a resource in similar times.

Other Highlights:

  • I went on a tour to Wicklow mountains and Glendalough. The views were mesmerizing and we were able to watch a sheepdog demonstration, and pet lambs/alpacas which was really fun. The long bus ride allowed me to meet my friend, Ava, who I remained close to for the rest of the semester

  • Trinity's Holi (Indian festival of colors) celebration will always be special to me. They do it at a larger scale than Penn, and many places in India as well! My friends and I spent the entire morning playing Holi and went for a Bollywood night in the evening which was such a bonding experience.

  • I went to Amsterdam for a solo trip which was very unlike anything I had done before. I definitely became a lot more independent after that trip and made friends with a random group of people.

  • St. Patrick's Day in Dublin was an unforgettable experience. 

  • On my last day, my friends and I went swimming in the freezing Irish sea. Jumping into the water and holding on tight to my friends was a moment I will always remember. 

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