Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Saying Hello to New Adventures

Wow. 2 days left of my winter break. TWO DAYS! In 48 hours I’ll be boarding a plane to Belfast and saying good-bye to my family and friends… and my dog…and my cats…and my house… and my school… and everything else in the United States!

But on the other hand, there are so many things I’m going to be saying HELLO to: new cultures, new friends, new food, a new school, a different currency, and newfound independence.

Before I say hello to the many new adventures that I’ll begin to experience in 2 days, I should say hello!

Hi! I’m Lauren!

I’m a junior majoring in anthropology and sociology at the University of Vermont, and I’m originally from Connecticut. I love to laugh, I dream of becoming a yodeler one day, and I experience the world by traveling and reading books. I love telling stories and I love listening to other people’s stories, especially through daily blogs and vlogs. This study abroad blog is a way for me to tell my own story, which is one that I hope to reflect on for the years to come.

williams-in-winter Williams Hall, home of the Anthropology Dept. at UVM


This story of my study abroad experience probably begins at the many college visits my family and I attended during our big college search. Each university advertised the numerous programs that allowed their students to explore the world. During their presentations, I always imagined myself with a camera in hand and a book in the other, studying and exploring in a foreign country. That vision seemed like it could be a possibility the more I attended these visits.

eiffel-tower I got my first taste of traveling during a 10th grade trip to France


When I chose anthropology as my major, I knew that I’d virtually be able to travel anywhere because culture is everywhere! The only problem was, I had no idea where I wanted to travel because the options were endless! For me, Europe was given, and during my program search, I was drawn to Ireland. The magnificent landscapes that compose the countryside and the active city life sealed the deal for me.

My dream of studying abroad is finally becoming a reality!

I don’t think it has really sunk in yet that I’ll be living in a new country by the end of the week. This break has been super overwhelming because it feels like there are a million things to do at once in order to prepare for the trip, but at the same time, I feel like the past few weeks have been a bit underwhelming.

Maybe I’ve been avoiding thinking about the fact that I’m actually going to Ireland because it doesn’t seem real, or maybe I’ve been avoiding it because I know I’m going to be a nervous wreck by the time Thursday morning rolls around. This past week, I have actually started to be proactive in my packing, planning, and preparation, and low and behold, once I began thinking about the trip, I had a few nervous breakdowns. My parents have talked me through multiple panic attacks where I’ve second guessed basically every life decision I’ve made up until this point, and they’ve helped settle my fears and get me excited for what’s to come.

You see, even though I’m a huge procrastinator, I am also a big planner. I need to know what is going to happen before it happens. When I drive to new place, I study the routes I’ll take over and over, even zooming in to see which lanes I’ll need to be in on the road. I have no idea what is going to happen this semester, which is both exciting and is also freaking me out.

I received a few guide books for Christmas, one of which lists 200 things to do in Belfast.  Wouldn’t it be neat to cross off each activity as I go, so by June when the semester is over, maybe the book will be completed?! If one activity leads me to another, one that may not follow my original plans, that’s ok too. I need to remind myself that this semester is all about seizing spontaneous opportunities, and saying hello to new, unexpected adventures.

Now for the biggest adventure of all: squeezing my closet into my suitcase…


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