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. Read more
As my departure date for Dublin draws near, I find myself spending more time thinking about the experience and what I wish to gain from it. Traveling to a foreign country, I know I maintain the traditional goals of experiencing a different culture, meeting new friends, and gaining a unique perspective; however, I also would like to set higher expectations for myself. Coming from a small town in Pennsylvania and then attending the University of Michigan where I self-admittedly have stuck to my comfort zones, I hope to push my boundaries and work to understand how those in a different country live, learn, and think. I wish to immerse myself in the Irish culture and learn directly from the mouths of the Irish how they go about and experience life.
As an American in a foreign land, I must remember to be respectful and abide by their society’s conventions, never wishing to offend those who I am trying to learn from. Though we are from different countries and cultures, I am confident I will be able to relate to these new people and introduce them to new ideas while they do the same for me. I know this journey I’m about to embark on will be rich in experiences, and I hope to push myself to extract the most from it as possible.
When traveling to any foreign country, one of the most common things for travelers to consciously pick up on are the typical cultural habits of the people of their new country. This can often lead to culture shock, with people becoming frustrated with how things are done, either because of a lack of understanding, having adapted to a particular way of going about things, and being wary of change, or maybe there are legitimate reasons from time to time for such frustrations to occur. Read more