When my mom dropped me off at the airport, I was expecting it to be a tearful goodbye, because I have never lived away from home and my mom, my brother and I are close. Surprisingly though, we all knew this was only temporary and an experience I was excited for. So when we said our goodbyes we said it with a smile and then I embarked on my once-in-a-lifetime trip. My flight was 8 hours long, and because when I got to Dublin, in my mind it was midnight (due to the time-zone back home), so I was just getting tired when I got off of the plane. My first culture shock type experience was when I went outside and felt how “cold” it was. At the time, it was in the 80’s back home and it was quite a change. I took a city link bus to Galway and when I asked how to get to my apartment, the people at the bus station told me to wait outside until I saw a taxi. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any, so I thought I might walk home, but then I realized that there were no street signs and that I didn’t even know where I was, so I dragged my baggage into the nearest taxi place and got a ride to my apartment. The driver said there would’ve been no way I would’ve found my way home walking around with my luggage. It was different for me in many ways when I got here, because I have a car back home and I’m used to having that kind of mobility, where now I walk around a half-hour to get to class, rain or shine. And man, does it rain here!
At least I’m used to it all now, I have a lovely rain coat and boots that are water-proof,and I know my way around town. It took a couple of days of exploring, but now I know where I am most of the time, in Galway at least! Possibly because everything is different for me living wise and also being on my own, that I didn’t feel like I experienced too much culture shock or homesickness.
Diane Cantillano is studying abroad at the National University of Ireland – Galway in Galway, Ireland.