In just 48 hours you will be on a plane to Dublin to embark on a new journey. After exclusively living in Virginia for all 21 years of your life, spending four whole months in a whole other country will prove to be both challenging and rewarding.
In order to gain the most of my experience, I have set aside a few goals for you this semester:
- Don’t get too caught up in school that you miss out on the total learning experience. While it is easy to get caught up in schoolwork and studying, you have a whole country to explore that will teach you so much more about the culture around you than the library will.
- Step out of your comfort zone and meet new people as often as possible. While there are so many people at UVA, you tend to stick to your established network of friends. Make international friends and Irish friends and American friends. The whole reason you are doing this is to get out of the bubble of comfort you have created.
- Get the most of out of all your days. While it is easy to sleep in until noon when you don’t have classes, try creating routines for days off to make sure you are getting healthy doses of sleep and exercise and not wasting any time to complete goals 1 and 2.
These goals are made easier by the fact that most Irish citizens speak English, so there is not a large language barrier for you to face. Despite this, it would be cool for you to learn a little bit of the other native tongue, Gaelic while you are there. On top of Irish Gaelic, I hope you get to learn a little more about the banking system outside of the US and discover something new in your international accounting class.
Most of what you currently know about the culture of Ireland comes from various stereotypes and movies that depict Irish people as kind souls that enjoy a pint from the pub and live in the countryside. Obviously, this is probably not very accurate, especially in the city atmosphere of Dublin. I am also interested to see how different customs and holidays differ between the US and Dublin. The major thing I hope to gain about my semester abroad is to understand another country’s culture and be able to adapt to it. Enjoy your last few days at home and get ready for a great semester.