After four months in Cape Town, I realize that I have a terrible sense of humor. I stuck to my guns, but my guns apparently weren’t funny. This cuts me deep and is making me rethink things. I arrived in Cape Town in July and fell in love with this place instantly. The sprawling city, the diverse and interesting people (and their accents), the breath-taking scenery. Oh, and the bars and clubs. What’s not to love? Read more
Today is my last day as the summer Enrollment Coordinator at Interstudy. It’s been a fantastic 10 weeks working here in Boston. Being able to witness first hand the other side of study abroad and has given me a greater appreciation for the experience I had with Interstudy in 2010 studying in South Africa because of the legwork done by those in this office that make it all possible.
Now, before I get all misty eyed from the realization that this is my last day in the office, I felt it appropriate to share my somewhat worldly wisdom to those who take the time to read the Interstudy blog. So here’s my list of things to live by. Whether it is during a semester/year abroad, traveling, working, or recently graduating (as I just did) I hope this list will help bring some insight into what I believe to be some true necessities to know and practice. Read more
So here I am. It’s a full six months after my first post and settling in to write my last blog entry. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think about my time in Belfast. It’s funny because I can distinctly remember dropping off a friend at her car the night before I left for Belfast and the sinking feeling I had as I drove away. I was absolutely petrified of leaving my friends and family behind and going to a country where I knew no one.
However, that feeling didn’t even compare to what I felt as I rode in the cab to the Belfast airport. While I love the city of Belfast, the manageability of its size and the multitude of pubs and bars, that’s not what I was sad to leave. The friends I made, from all over the world, are what I cherish most about my experience abroad. That is something that I wish someone would have told me before I left and just maybe I would’ve saved my energy getting upset over leaving the friends I would see again in six short months. Read more
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. Read more
*The title translates as ‘goodbye for now’ in Irish.
As the time of my departure draws near I have come to realize that living in Ireland is different from what I thought. A very naive part of me thought that American and Irish culture were fairly similar, however I have learned that there are many differences between both the Irish and American traditions. One day I can specifically recall was St. Patrick’s Day, which was easily one of my most favorite days in Ireland. In America one would find everyone wearing green clothes, shamrock headbands, and shirts that say “kiss me I’m Irish”. There are parades with young girls Irish dancing, men playing bagpipes, and then perhaps a drink or two between festivities. However in Ireland the tradition is a bit different. Some people wear green, but not many. The parade was a bit strange and did not seem to have anything to do with St. Patrick’s Day; it seemed more like a celebration of many other cultures. And since St. Patrick’s Day is a bank holiday and students have the day off it is a great excuse to go out on the town and have a good time. Now, even though I was not dressed in all green, and I didn’t enjoy the parade I still had the best St. Patrick’s Day of my lifetime. It seemed as if everyone just wanted to have a good day with their friends and family which made for an amazing atmosphere in town. There was plenty of traditional music to be heard, friends to be with, and even a few Irish ciders here and there as well. Although this year’s St Patrick’s Day was much different from any other that I had experienced before, it is definitely one I will never forget! Read more
With just over a week until my departure for London, most of my thoughts are still on planning: will my credits transfer appropriately? Is my suitcase the right size? How many pairs of shoes should I take?
In the off chance I let myself actually think about what life in London is going to be like, I hit a wall. Combinations of old Mary Kate and Ashley movies, postcards from childhood friends and visits to the British goods store in my town flood my vision, forming an awfully stereotypic idea of what the place must be like, so I’d rather stick to thinking about my goals for the semester. I have plenty of aspirations, I want to find a little underground music venue and see some band before they get big, I want visit as many museums as I can, but mostly, I want to know what it’s like to be a student somewhere other than the United States
All that said, a few panging worries also cross my mind when I think about the reality of the coming months. I’m worried that I’ll get lost in such a large city. I’m worried I won’t make friends living by myself and I’m worried that I’ll miss my family and friends in Boston. But judging from others who have gone before me, even the disasters in a once-in-a-lifetime experience can make the most positive memories.