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Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time there lived a young girl in the smoldering heat and humidity of Houston, Texas. This girl dreamed of going to a land far, far away, where hills weren’t man-made and castles weren’t built by Disney. I was this girl. Living in Ireland has always been a dream of mine, but nothing more than a dream—as distant and unattainable as my wish to be a Disney princess. It may not seem so unreachable—I can just buy a plane ticket and schedule a weeklong trip—but that’s just it. I never wanted to visit Ireland; I wanted to live in Ireland. I fantasized about living in an Irish apartment, interacting with Irish people, walking down Irish streets, eating Irish food, and sitting in Irish pubs. I wanted to make Ireland a part of who I am, and, in turn I hoped to become a tiny part of Ireland as well. But I don’t have to wish on stars and pennies anymore, I’m going to experience all of these things and more thanks to Interstudy.

Now I know this might sound like a fairy-tale come true—throw in some leprechauns and rainbows and you might be right—but in a way it’s not. In fairy tales it never mentions how terrifying it is to leave everything you know: your home, your friends, your way of life. I’m going to be completely on my own in a foreign country. ALONE. BY MYSELF. IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY. I can feel a panic attack coming on. I’ll have to get in touch with my inner social butterfly; I’ll have to tackle an unfamiliar education system; I’ll have to go grocery shopping and actually read the label; I’ll have to navigate a mind-bogglingly foreign town; I’ll have to learn how to understand Irish accents!

But the obstacles, the homesickness, they’re all worth it to meet new people, to become ‘cultured’, to learn a new way of life, to mature, to become part of something bigger than myself, my family, my country. Maybe the prince or princess in the fairy tale stories was scared too. Maybe he or she was terrified of the unknown as well. Yet the hero still crossed lands, faced adversities, saved the day, and received a kiss for good measure because if they hadn’t, there wouldn’t be a story to tell. Therefore, it’s all worth it so I can come back to the States and brag about my crazy, amazing adventures in Ireland. It’s worth it to have my own story to tell.

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