Ireland is Where the Heart Is

16 Apr

 Now that I have just 4 days left in the beautiful Emerald Isle, I’m beginning to look back on all of the wonderful things I’ve experienced in Ireland with a huge smile on my face. From day one, I could tell this trip was going to be an adventure. As soon as we landed in the Dublin Airport, we hit the ground rolling, stumbling, and freezing. I barely remember most of the first day because I was so sleep deprived, but the rare sunshine kept me alert enough to avoid traffic on our walking tour with Karl. At that point, I thought I was never going to learn my way around Dublin but now it’s my second home.

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Rehashing every trip, big and small, would end up being a novel so I’ll just skip to the sappy emotional effect this experience has had on me as an individual. Studying abroad changed me as a person in more ways than I can probably ever count. I learned how to be my own person and discover things on my own. I learned how to use my stress and confusion as strength in overcoming obstacles. My parents haven’t been here to coach me through my struggles so I had to do life on my own—it was extremely empowering. However, one of my favorite personal developments is my newfound navigation skills. I’ve never been good with directions but travelling Ireland and Europe in general on my own forced me to put to improve my internal compass. Travelling my small home state of South Carolina is going to feel like a breeze.

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Now I can’t say all of these wonderful things without sharing a bit about my struggles abroad. It certainly took a while, if not the whole trip, to adjust to the weather. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shake the weather some mornings and I did my fair share of complaining, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It just made me appreciate the weather in my home state (I never knew how much the sun can affect your mood until you go without it for so long). Sometimes, living in the city took its toll on me too because you’re always surrounded by buildings and city noises, but now I have an appreciation for the city. Everything is so close and connected and I can literally walk everywhere. Plus, I’m not scared of public transportation anymore. The nice people truly outnumber the creeps and drunks.

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All in all, my time in Ireland has shaped me into a better person and I will always look back on it with a warm heart. Studying abroad is an experience of a lifetime and I would urge everyone and anyone to do it. Now that my time is coming to an end, I can truly feel content going home because I’ve conquered everything I dreamed of and more.     Image 

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