An Open Letter of Thanks

on

To all of my friends and family,

Thank You.

I am studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland this summer, and it is with your help that I am able to. I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to spend a month learning and exploring in such a beautiful and culturally rich city. This opportunity certainly comes with its challenges—every missed turn has been a moment to learn, and every moment has been something truly wonderful.

I am taking two classes: International Marketing and Politics of Diversity in Dublin. The courses are interactive and led by exceptional professors with the promise of field trips to the Guinness factory and Kilmainham Jail. With the small summer class sizes, we are all getting to know each other well. The shortened term means the lectures are fast-paced and packed full of information. I am learning about new perspectives and ways of thinking through the class discussions, exercises, and local guest speakers—such as Will St. Leger, the grand marshal for Dublin’s 2019 Pride parade.

 Every morning I have time to explore the city—finding a new coffee shop each day has been one my goals—before heading to class. My evenings are balanced with schoolwork and enjoying good food and drinks with friends. It is incredible how quickly I have become accustomed to many of the quirks of Irish living—like turning on a switch for the microwave and stove or looking to the right before to the left when crossing the street. However, the massive amounts of jaywalking that take place in Dublin make me feel right at home.

In the first week, I have gained incredible friendships with my roommates and peers, climbed a mountain in Glendalough, swam in the freezing Irish sea in Dalkey, been nearly blown away by the wind at Giant’s Causeway, and hiked the shoreline in Howth. In the second week, friendships have strengthened, as well as our sense of direction. As I am writing this, I am thinking about the incredible feeling of exhilaration that was teeming in my heart as I stood at the edge of the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands, while looking out to where the blue sky meets the blue sea. By the time my month is Ireland is over I will have stories about going to watch the mind-boggling game of Gaelic Football, learning to surf in the Atlantic Ocean, and venturing into Northern Ireland.

 I will forever look back fondly on my time here and the friends I am making. Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

            Elizabeth McKay