December Musings Pt. 2
My time for traveling has come to an end as my pocketbook has gleefully reminded me,
and it’s time to think about finances for the future instead of finances for today.
The highlight of my travels was a beautiful adventure to Brugges and Ghent in Belgium, where I saw stunning sights that seemed too good to be true.
Overlooking the river surrounding Brugges, wouldn’t this be the perfect place for an engagement photoshoot?
My attempt at a panorama to attempt to display the breathtaking buildings.
I wandered into Saint Peter’s Abbey while waiting for a friend as a refuge from the stormy weather, and I don’t think any other church that I’ve seen on this trip has felt as intimate and holy. I am often struck by the sheer splendor of religious buildings erected to honor the most divine of beings, because they provide a unique avenue for self reflection and prayer for those of need.
Subsequently, I was able to serve as the host when my friend came into town. It was a lot of fun being a host, because it meant I had to see Dublin in a different way—what trips/locations should I prioritize having her see? How can I balance what I like to do during the weekends with what she likes? Is it better to have exact plans or allow for improvisation? One of the best moments we had was wandering around the Temple Bar area, which is really a cacophony of music and craic (fun)! (Surprisingly I had never been to the area around night time before.)
(Pictures from around the area)
I’ve also spent some time since prioritizing seeing the rest of Ireland—I spent time with a friend in Galway where we traveled to one of the Aran Islands. (It was quaint, but also very gloomy weather-wise and I do wish that the ferries were a bit more constant). I’d never seen so many sweater shops in my life.
The best and worst part of study abroad, is that you’re inclined to spend a lot of money on things to optimize your experience. I certainly have friends that are traveling all over Europe, and that’s great for them. I haven’t been all that consistent with budgeting, largely setting up major goals per month to follow, because it’s easier to adapt a “we’ll deal with these issues” as they’ll arrive approach with money.
Needless to say, it’s okay to give yourself allowances. It’s okay to spend more than you expected as long as you plan for that occurring. I set pretty strict deadlines for each month with the expectation that there would be wiggle room, so long as I had a certain amount of funds still stowed away for next semester. I’ve been alright on that front.
Because in effect, studying abroad is managing for both the present and the future. In the present, you want to take many trips and gain experiences, but the future means conceptualizing these trips and learning to talk about them in a way that highlights your worldliness and other marketable skills.
I think that really hit me when I talked about post-study abroad with individuals at the IFSA-Butler Office, and reviewed the lists that they gave me of ways to integrate study abroad into job interviews that I will have maybe not in the coming days, but at the least in the coming months.
What I hope to be, as I gear up studying for finals and conceptualizing the knowledge that has been thrown at me through these past few months, is a stronger and better person, with the knowledge of myself and my capabilities that I have gained in this experience