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Home is Not Where You Live, but Where They Understand You.

It has been exactly three weeks since I have left Cork city to return to the United States and for me, coming home has been a very surreal experience. At first I felt like a stranger in my own home and almost as if I had returned to a foreign country. However, immediately upon my return I was welcomed by many of my friends and family making coming home a bit easier than I had anticipated. It took a bit of time to get used to the different smells and sounds surrounding me. I could hear the train that’s just down the road, smell the flowers that bloom every summer in the tree out front, and see all the cotton that releases from all the cottonwood trees in the neighborhood. As irritating as the train horn is, as overwhelming as the smell can be, and as aggravating as that cotton flies, it’s familiar things like that that make coming home feel nice.

I don’t even know where to being as I start reflecting on my experience in Ireland, it seems as if five short months have left me with memories and stories that could last a life time. When I think back I am reminded of beautiful rolling hills and mountain sides, great nights out, and many cups of tea shared among friends. I consider all that I have learned about other cultures and even the new things I have discovered in myself. While in Ireland I often compared the Irish and American politics, night life, schools, and social attributes because they regularly appeared very different. Often times I thought it would be best to take characteristics from both cultures and combine them to create the ultimate solutions, but this was only in my dream world. While abroad, I felt I was exposed to many qualities that only Ireland has obtained, qualities I would love to bring home to America. To me, everything at home is so fast paced; there are fast food restaurants everywhere you look, people speeding down the streets to their next destination, and loads of people looking impatient. Not to say that people like this don’t exist in Ireland but in the duration of my experience I hardly ever felt rushed, unless perhaps, I woke up for class late. In most cases in America it’s “go go go go!” while in Ireland it’s “go when you’re ready” and I have to say that I like to dawdle and take my time. I personally feel that because of the time I spent in Ireland, I have become much more laid back than I was before; my attitude has gone from increasingly uptight to infinitely casual and the Irish culture is 100% to blame!

Even though it has been three weeks since my return I still can’t decide if I am a different person. I had heard from many people that one can changes radically after they study abroad. I can guarantee that it was definitely a life changing experience however, I don’t necessarily feel different. I still have many of the same beliefs, morals, and feeling towards subjects and people. However, at the same time I think my attitude on life has changed drastically. I know its cliché, but studying abroad has taught me to enjoy the little things in life, like a hot cup of tea, or breathe taking landscape. I am no longer afraid to submerge myself into something completely new and different. And I have learned to always pursue my hopes and goals for myself because I am capable of achieving of getting the things that I desire. My experience studying abroad in Ireland has instilled a confidence in me that I never thought I could have, so maybe I am different. Perhaps I have changed, who knows? All I can do now is go wherever life takes me, which is hopefully back to Ireland sometime soon!

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