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Livia Nakada

Major: Bioengineering - Disability Studies Minor

"I think that studying abroad gave me more confidence in general! I'm pretty shy, so talking with people is not my forte. I think that going abroad made me more comfortable with meeting and speaking with new people."


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

I've always loved to travel so I knew I wanted to study abroad in college. I chose Dublin, Ireland because I had never been to Europe before! Ireland has a lot of nature, castles, and history that I found very appealing compared to the other European countries. Furthermore, as a rising junior (at that time), I also wanted to do an internship - so I chose the Berkeley Global Internships which allowed me to intern AND travel abroad.

What was the most interesting cultural experience you had abroad?

Irish humor is definitely different from American humor. I was really confused the first time my coworkers cracked a joke because I did not understand it.

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

I think the biggest concern for me was traveling internationally by myself. I had never traveled abroad alone before so I was quite worried about the immigration process but everything went really smoothly which I am grateful for. I think being well prepared by having all the necessary documents in hand (+making copies of them!) really helped.

Describe a typical day for you abroad.

I would wake up and catch the bus to go to work - the bus ride was around 20 minutes. My friend worked pretty close to where I worked, so we would often meet up at Tesco to eat lunch together. I would get off work at 4pm and, most of the time, I would wander around Dublin. This was my favorite part of the day - I love to just walk aimlessly and discover new places! Then, I would hop on the bus back to UCD, shower, cook dinner, chat, and go to sleep.

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

I took Global Citizenship, which is an online class offered through Berkeley, and Irish literature and history! The workload was manageable and very interesting. The Irish class had field trips to places around Dublin which took us to places that I would have never considered visiting!

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

Definitely traveling around both Ireland and Europe! It was exciting to be able to travel to so many different countries without going broke(er). There was one time my friend and I missed the plane to Paris and bought expensive day of tickets though. We both don't regret buying the ticket and going to Paris!

What impact did studying abroad have on you personally?

I think that studying abroad gave me more confidence in general! I'm pretty shy, so talking with people is not my forte. I think that going abroad made me more comfortable with meeting and speaking with new people. I didn't know anyone going into this program, so I had to go out of my comfort zone to meet new people - especially if I wanted travel buddies!

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

I would recommend just taking casual strolls to nearby places! I think that my daily after-work strolls were really fun, and I found gems in Dublin I wouldn't have found otherwise. Since Ireland has quite a reliable public transport, I would also just recommend hopping on the bus and going a bit further out to a neighboring city!

How has study abroad influenced your future career path? Or, how do you see the skills you gained while abroad translating into the field you want to go into?

I think the skills I learned were mostly social skills which can be used in work and in daily life as well. I think I learned to communicate more effectively!