“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting.”
-J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
This quote is why I never say goodbye, I always say bye or see ya later. My time in Ireland was quite possibly the best four months of my life so far. I learned so much and grew more than I ever could have imagined. I became even more independent and more self reliant. I learned how to master the art of using public transportation, and I made friends that will last a lifetime.
I completely fell in love with Ireland and it broke my heart to have to leave. I’m not going to lie, coming home was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was the only part of going abroad that I was worried about: having to leave. Adjusting back here in America was a little easier than I thought it was going to be but there are still moments when I miss Ireland. I long to hear the accents, smell the fresh air, have a Bulmers with some good friends, and be able to hop on a bus for 2 hours and be somewhere.
My first night home I got sick from the food and I’m still trying to completely adjust. Luckily, Seattle is a lot like Ireland when it comes to weather and scenery so I don’t have any shortage of greenery. I’m glad that I came home so close to the holidays because being around family and friends made the transition a lot easier for me. Telling people about my adventures allowed me to reflect and relive them.
As much as I miss Ireland, I think it’s the people that I met that I will miss the most. I made friendships that will last a life time. They are all over the world, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because I can go visit and have a place to stay in Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Canada, and here in the states. The bad part is most of them live pretty far away. The friends that I made became my family and they are a huge part of what made Ireland so fun and so special.
As I look back on the past four months, I will always remember the good times, the sad times, the fun times, the stressful times, and the downright awesome times. Studying abroad is an opportunity that everyone should have while in school because it is such an incredible learning experience. It opened my eyes to an amazing world that I just can’t seem to see enough of. There is so much more I would like to go see and do and experience. I discovered that I love to meet new people, see new places, and get out of my comfort zone sometimes.
Words cannot completely describe just how much I loved my semester in Ireland! It was something that changed me and made me into a better person. It opened my eyes to new cultures and people and it’s something I will never forget. I love Ireland!!