If you read my last post, you might have caught a snippet at the end about my upcoming study abroad adventures. So I’d like to confirm that I will indeed be spending my spring semester in the city of Dublin, Ireland! Exciting, right?
To be honest, it doesn’t quite feel real yet. I know I’m going. I’ve bought the plane ticket and registered with the U.S. Embassy, but I don’t think it’ll really hit me until I actually arrive in Ireland. Everyone keeps telling me how much fun I’ll have, and I’m sure there right, but it’s hard to even fathom at this point. I mean, it’s less than a month away now, but the whole thing just feels so surreal.
I’ve never traveled outside the U.S., with the exception of a brief family trip to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, and I’m not really sure how much that counts. So this will be my first real international trip, and I get to stay there for four months. I can’t wait to be immersed in a different culture for the semester. I’ve already heard so many wonderful things about Ireland and its people. The staff there seem wonderful, there are so many fascinating places to visit, and so many students before me have already had such a wonderful experience.
Plus I’m going to a Champlain campus right in Dublin. (For those of you who don’t know, I’m a junior Professional Writing major studying at Champlain College in Burlington, VT.) We also have a campus in Montreal, where some of my friends are studying now and where my boyfriend will be next semester. But I think being with a group of other Champlainers will be really nice. I’ve heard it can make it a little bit tricky to fully get immersed in Dublin (Our handbook literally says, “Making Irish friends is hard.”), but I plan on doing my best.
I’m just glad I’ll know at least some of the people I’ll be living and going to school with. Making new friends has never been my strong suit, and I think having to make a bunch of them all at once would probably be a bit exhausting. And I’m especially glad I won’t have to share a room with a stranger.
I mean I guess I’ve done it before. (There’s this awful, awkward photo of my roommate, Julia, and I on move-in day our first year. We’re standing next to each other but like not too close because that might be weird and who the hell is this girl anyway?) Luckily I’ve only ever had to do it once. Julia, as it turns out, is my roommate soulmate. Seriously, we’re like the poster children for random roommates. I’m not going to lie and say it won’t be super weird not living with her next semester, but I know all of my roommates in Ireland and they’re all pretty great people, so we should be just fine.
Plus I know I’m going to be extra glad to have them around when the inevitable homesickness sets in, because everyone says it does. I’m not surprised; I still feel it kick in in Burlington sometimes. That’s when I get all whiny and start complaining about how much I miss my cat. (Ask Julia. She knows.) So it would only make sense for it to happen an ocean away, too.
Luckily for me, I already have some visitors lined up, some of whom include my family and my best friend. And besides, I’ll be in Dublin. That’s got to count for something, right?
All in all, the end of this semester is a bit bittersweet. Sweet because I know we’re going to have one heck of an adventure in the next few months and I’m going to have some really great friends by my side. And bitter because there will be other friends and family and cats that I’ll have to leave behind. But it’s four months–four incredibly life-changing months. I think I can handle that.