Arriving in Ireland was one of the most exciting moments of my life, but I definitely thought that I was more ready than I really was.
The moment Orientation started after I got to campus, I realized how much I felt like a freshman all over again. I didn’t know anyone in the room, I had to move in to a completely new place full of strangers, I didn’t know how to get anywhere (I still don’t know my way around very well but I’m getting better — it was as though I was starting all over. Having to pack everything I need for four months in one suitcase, moving to a place with a very different culture, and realizing that my family and friends are now plane rides away instead of a car ride away was also a transition. These realities have hit me hard during my first few days here in Ireland.
Despite my mixed emotions, I have come to realize that the great parts about studying abroad far outweigh the scary parts.
I have the chance to meet people from all over the world, travel on the weekends, build up my endurance since it is completely normal to walk everywhere (and I mean everywhere), experience different class/professor dynamics, and more.
Furthermore, a new place and new surroundings means new opportunities to explore. Even though I have only been in Ireland for about a week, I have already had the chance to explore a bit of Limerick. On the weekends, you’ll find Limerick’s esteemed Milk Market where fresh produce, baked goods, and dairy products are sold. After perusing the different vendor booths, a couple of my new friends and I took the opportunity to explore the city. We visited St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. John’s Castle, and a quaint little coffee shop called Jack Monday’s Coffee House. I went in the coffee shop thinking I was going to buy a cup of coffee, but I ended up ordering a house special, Belgian hot chocolate. No regrets — it was by far the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had.
Although I know these will probably change, here are some expectations I have for my semester abroad here in Limerick, Ireland! I will:
- … become a tea drinker instead of a coffee drinker, since coffee is not as readily available here as it is the United States.
- … learn how to budget my money better to maximize the opportunities to travel while I’m here.
- … be challenged to grow personally and academically.
- … improve my photography (hopefully).
- … learn about and experience many different cultures.
- … develop life-long friendships with people from all over the world.
I look forward to keeping you updated throughout my time here in Ireland. Here’s to a great semester!
Until next time,