On the Verge
This is the first of many times I will be blogging about my experiences this Fall in Dublin, Ireland. My situation is somewhat unique in that this semester will be my last semester as an undergraduate student. That means that as I sit in my friends house on our college’s campus, I will be leaving this place for the last time as a student in the next few hours. Three years is a fair chunk of time, which is part of the reason I did not hesitate in deciding to study abroad, even in my last semester. However, as I’ve been here this weekend, I’ve realized part of what I’ve knowingly given up, a senior year with lifelong friends before entering the “real” world meaning jobs, added responsibility, and complete (or nearly so) financial independence.
In the next 12 hours I will arrive in the east side of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in my life. Part of the reason I chose to study in Ireland was the fact that the school I will be attending is known for a solid geology program, the other is my mother’s family ties to Ireland as Fitzsimons’. I’m nervous to be living in another country by myself for nearly 4 months, especially since I know of no other students from my home university that will also be in Ireland. Although, it’s been a habit of mine recently to make similar decisions since reaching college age. At the same time that I am nervous about being alone on foreign soil, I’m excited at the independence I will have to do as I please and to not have to conform to the plans groups tend to make. I’m excited to visit my aunt in London, a friend who will be studying in London from Lafayette (our home institution), and one of my best lifelong friends from boyhood who will also be in London. As a person with interest in geology I’m excited to visit places in Ireland such as the chalk cliffs, Giant’s Causeway, and Edinburgh, home of James Hutton who is credited as one of the early fathers of modern geology. This semester has potential to be academically and personally one of the most enjoyable and valuable learning experiences I ever have; I can’t wait.
It’s been a long weekend of excitement to see people after a long summer, saying goodbye as I may not see my friends here again until May of 2014, and meeting new students as they adjust in their first week of college. Similarly, I realize I will be going through a nearly identical experience when I arrive in Ireland, an experience I had three years ago when arriving to college. I imagine it will be much more intense because, not only will I be in a place where I will need to meet a new set of people, but I’ll have to grow accustomed to an entire new set of cultural norms. Thankfully, there shouldn’t be too much of a language barrier to get past; however, I’ve heard the similarities can make the little differences that much harder to handle as a result of differences in expectation versus reality. That much can only be told with time as I experience it for myself, but I’m sure it will give me plenty to share as I live and learn in Ireland.
Until next time.