Here it is. The final countdown. Many students in my program have already left to go home which makes it seem like my turn is much farther off than just 2 days. I’m finding myself frantically trying to take in every last minute but also, very anxiously I might add, getting ready to be home and see my family and friends. And finally, sleep. in. my. own. bed. A few short words of advice to those looking to study abroad and specifically study in Dublin. First, each city has it’s own personality-see which one fits yours. This is an impossible thing to “research” so don’t be afraid to pick someone’s brain about the city they studied in. Chances are they’re dying to talk about it. Dublin’s personality one of compassion, and light heartedness, it’s sometimes chaotic, and messy-never on time. It takes pleasure in the small things. In Dublin there is also a reason to celebrate something. One of the best things I could have done to “prepare/not prepare” was that I came here with literally no expectations. I came to Dublin almost blind. I really didn’t research the history of Ireland, I didn’t google pictures of the city, the only things I knew of were the things my Dad would shove in front of my face out of pure excitement and the weather so I knew what to wear on the plane. I understand this method is a bit unorthodox but I didn’t want to have any preconceived notions or judgements about a place that would become my new home whether I was ready or not. Finally, when packing do not sacrifice the things that make you feel most at home. I made enough room for my favorite blanket, favorite shirt to sleep in and yes, my teddy bear Jeffery (don’t judge me). There is nothing wrong with sneaking in a few things that will make this transition easier because it is one of the most challenging and most exciting transitions you will make. Finally, try and document your thoughts. I find it difficult to blog and journal because I like to express myself through vocalizing my thoughts but it is so important to write. everything. down. It is not possible for you to remember everything that happens on this journey and I am so thankful I wrote down my experiences when I could because rereading them helps me reflect and appreciate my experience that much more. I am so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to spend the last three and a half months in this beautiful place with all of these beautiful people but all good things come to an end sometime. Many exciting things to look forward to in the coming semester and though I will miss the Dirty Dub, I’m ready for the next step.
Amber Duerwaechter is studying abroad at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.