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

The Beginning of the End

As I write this blog post I’m sitting in an airport, ready to go on my first solo flight from Dublin.These past two weeks have been a chaotic mix of traveling and assignments, twice now I’ve submitted essays before hoping on a bus and it’s nice to realize that the worst of midterms are over!

My first trip out of the country was to a debate tournament in London was so much fun–I had the best fish and chips of my life, and went on the tube for the first time by myself (don’t worry I was very careful to mind the gap!) Even though I had a travel buddy in and out of the country, the portions that I traveled by myself were almost cathartic. I find when I’m traveling alone, I wander around, see really cool sights that I would have never witnessed if I’m with someone with an agenda even if it’s annoying to have to lug a bunch of stuff around. I think one of the most beautiful moments I had was watching the English countryside pass by in a train as I listened to the Spirited Away soundtrack, which felt rather nostalgic.

With the end of this month also brought budgetary evaluation. I’ve been very lazy about my budgeting, which I’m not too proud of. Basically at the beginning of October after I made my GNIB appointment I evaluated the amount of money and divided it by how much I could spend each month. I considered weekly limits, but I found that hard to enforce by how much I spent on the weekends relative to the weekdays. For October, I went about $20 over budget based on tracking my bank withdrawals, which all things considered is pretty commendable. I can make that up by doing a psychology study.

I’m a little worried about this month, given I have major events planned for each weekend, but now that I’ve discovered the cheap and delicious lunch that is the fried egg bagel, I think I can reduce that mid-seeking spending.

Last weekend was a lot of fun because I went with the IFSA program to Belfast. I wasn’t sure what to expect going to Northern Ireland–I had mainly heard about the Giants Causeway being stunning and the Game of Thrones, but I absolutely fell in love with Belfast despite it being very unlike Dublin. The buildings were all so beautiful, the people were friendly and I really enjoyed waking up early on Saturday morning and just wandering around the city, paying my respects in a Catholic Church and buying a breakfast snack in St. George’s Market. Also Queen’s University was pretty beautiful…maybe I should have gone there? (Just kidding I love UCD). The countryside is also stunning.

One of the most moving experiences there, however, was the Black Taxi Tour. I had only a superficial knowledge of the Troubles, but seeing first hand the distinct differences between the Protestant and Catholic communities made me realize how much Belfast has come together as a community after the Good Friday Agreement. I think there’s definitely comparisons that can be drawn globally and within their story is the hope that tensions between disparate and antagonistic groups can be soothed over time.

Time is ticking by until my flight and I can’t help but think how time has also been flying by at UCD. In a few short weeks it will be final season, and then returning to the states.  I am both excited and sad to know at some point it will be the last time in this airport (hopefully the outlets work by then though,)

Rachel

 

 

 

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