While most students at Pacific University are caught up in their studies as midterms approach, Amber Patton is busy dominating the sport of barebow archery in Ireland.

Patton,  junior creative writing major at Pacific, left to go study abroad in Ireland at the University of Limerick in September 2012. She joined the archery club to make friends and travel, but she had no idea she would be competing in her first competition after only two months of training.

In her time competing, Patton has earned multiple 1st and 2nd place individual and team awards in female barebow.  She earned 2nd place in barebow nationals on Feb. 17, which ranked her as the second best female archer in the entire country of Ireland.

“Try things even if you think you might not be good at them. I had no idea I’d thrive in archery,” said Patton.  “The archery club is like a family to me now and I can say with confidence that I have discovered a new passion.”

Patton used to shoot low bow at summer camp when she was in middle school, but she didn’t have proper training in barebow archery prior to going to Ireland.

It wasn’t until she studied abroad that she held a recurve bow and fired her first carbon arrow. Patton said she always wanted to learn more about archery and joining the club gave her a chance to do that.

“I’d like to say to the student body at Pacific, I can’t stress enough the importance of studying abroad during college. There is something indescribable about immersing yourself in a different culture, even if it’s just for a semester,” said Patton.  “I have grown in so many ways and my experience in Ireland has opened my eyes to new ways of life and a new passion. The friends I have met here will stay with me for the rest of my life. Study abroad, you won’t regret it.”

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