I left home exactly four months and one week ago – but to be frank and not cliche at all, Dublin has become my second home. It can be easy to settle into a life of routine while abroad but I strongly recommend to always seek new places, people, and activities – whether is taking solo trips (which can be daunting) or just roaming the streets with no end goal in mind. I have been a part of weekend excursions – whether to a town one hour away or a flight three hours away – where TripAdvisor becomes the sole authoritative on what attractions will be “worth” the time or which restaurants serve the “best” food but it is the unexpected experiences that you will remember so next time put the phone away and just wonder into shops or restaurants that look interesting and allow this to mold your impression on cities.
Dublin has been an amazing home. The people here are the nicest- and here is just one example. One of the first few nights in the city a group of friends and I got lost trying to find the bus stop that would take us back to our campus. After asking around a nice old couple ended driving the four of us all the way back to the university. This is just one of the many instances I have had with Irish generosity.
Classes are slightly different than back at UA. Here final exams can be worth up to 80% of the final grade so weekly assignments do not have as much weight as I am used to. Professors are extremely kind and appreciate when you ask them questions after class or attending their office hours set up via email. The Irish students in general are rather quite and reserved and so professors encourage interactions as much as possible.
Thanks to cheap flights on RyanAir I have been able to travel to a variety of countries in Europe including Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Wales. However, always plan ahead! Though it is easy to get into the mindset of needing to travel to a different country every weekend it is important to explore as much of your own as possible. Ireland has so many beautiful and amazing cities outside of Dublin and it can be easy to miss out on your own country by trying to see as much of Europe as possible. Find a balance and stick to it.
It is hard to believe I return home in around a month. The nervousness that accompanied my first few nights here has thoroughly vanished and I have made friendships that will span thousands of miles and countries. I am looking forward to returning home but at the same time a part of me does not want to begin packing for my journey back to the familiarity of the US. It has been a wonderful time and I only wish it could last longer!