Bear Abroad Gideon in Ireland

Gideon Harianja

“I wanted to spend my summer traveling. This was the perfect opportunity to do so, while getting ahead in coursework at the same time.”

What led you to study abroad? Why did you choose your country/program?

I wanted to spend my summer traveling. This was the perfect opportunity to do so, while getting ahead in coursework at the same time. I heard Dublin was the best program to do physics abroad.

What was the most interesting cultural experience you had abroad?

The whole program got to travel to a traditional farm. We milked cows, made bread, and chased sheep. Also, the Causey Farm was known for its peat bogs, which are vast areas of saturated soil, almost like mud. We got to jump in, because apparently the mud exfoliates skin.

What was the biggest challenge/concern of your study abroad experience? How did you respond?

I was worried that I would get lost. I responded by always taking screenshots of Google Maps before hand, and researched what bus routes I had to take the night before. As a result, I believe my sense of directionality has dramatically increased.

Describe a typical day for you abroad.

We would eat breakfast together. Then go to lecture. After we would eat lunch together. Then we would go to lab. Then we would eat dinner. Then we would either go to our apartments, or take a bus to the city. Since all our meals were in the cafeteria, and all our classes were together, it wasn't hard to make friends.

What coursework did you take while abroad? How did courses abroad compare with Berkeley classes?

I took the equivalent of Physics 8A/8B all in two months. I can say with confidence that Dublin's curve is more generous than the curves in stem classes at Berkeley. Don't get me wrong though, I believe they taught me well and I am properly prepared in the subject.

What was the most memorable/meaningful aspect of your time abroad?

I spent a weekend in Barcelona with some friends I made in the program. We had a blast. We went to the Barcelona Beach Festival which included Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and other headliners. We also spent time relaxing on the beach, which was a great difference than Dublin's cold and windy weather.

What impact did studying abroad have on you personally?

I believe I am a more independent individual. I am more confident in my ability to make decisions without the help of others, like my parents. Also, it made me more culturally aware of the world outside California. I caught the study abroad bug, and now I'm seeking to study abroad next summer! I love traveling now. There's something about traveling by yourself, that allows you to set your own agenda and learn about what you truly enjoy.

What would you recommend to students considering studying abroad, especially to your country or program?

I would recommend that you go out and do it. Deciding to go is the hardest part. But once you do so, you are in for a life changing experience. For those going to Dublin for Physics: study hard on the weekdays so you can travel (worry-free) on the weekends. Also, take LOTS of pictures.