Week six is here and as much as I’m loving it in Dublin, I am starting to truly miss home. When I first arrived, everything was new and exciting. Now, it’s getting a bit monotonous. I feel as if this is just as much a part of the study abroad experience as anything. Although I am proud of the skills I have gained in adaptability, I miss the feelings I had the first few weeks when I was adjusting to life here. This week I had to power through the homesickness and I tried my best to take advantage of the time I have left. I may have hit a wall, but I’m sure I’ll get past it and start enjoying my time again very soon. I find that I have to remind myself that I’m only going to have an experience like this once in my life!
While abroad, it is easy to lose sight of your interests and follow a larger group. Coming into this program, I didn’t know any of the other students. Over the first few weeks, I was eager to get to know everyone and went along with the majority of people around me. It is at this point in the trip that I am beginning to realize that I haven’t taken the time to do the activities I wanted to. One of these was taking a bike ride in Phoenix park. This was an amazing turning point for me on the trip. The group I was with wanted to shop around the city, and normally I would go along, but I decided to do something on my own. It was extremely liberating to have some time by myself to reflect on the experience. I am starting to realize how important it is to take time for yourself. It’s difficult to separate yourself from a group, but this time alone is so valuable. I never considered myself to be introverted in any way, but as the trip goes on, I realize that I do have some of these tendencies.
I am developing numerous skills on the job. Even though I am not in a leadership position, I am learning a lot by observing the leaders around me. My supervisor utilizes kindness to lead others. Some managers use intimidation and sternness to gain respect but mine has a different approach. It is nice that I am not afraid to ask questions or approach him throughout the day. I believe there is a lot of pressure on people in these roles to have an authoritarian figure, but this does not always need to be the case. Whenever I interact with my superiors, I always receive words of encouragement. Being told you are doing a good job goes a long way. Even though the work I do gets repetitive, I am motivated when encouraged.
I didn’t get to travel outside of Dublin this weekend, but it was nice to have some time to myself. I needed a relaxing weekend to reset and think about what I want for the rest of the trip. On Saturday I went into city centre to do some shopping. I stumbled upon an outdoor market with several amazing independent artists and vendors. I was able to find some great souvenirs for my family members! After this I went into a cute coffee shop and they gave me a free scone with my coffee! It’s little things like these that can put me in a good mood. The day then took me to a guitar shop and I was able to stay and play for about an hour. The store owner was extremely nice to let me use one of the guitars for sale. When I returned home to my apartment, I took some time to relax, have a nice meal and listen to some good music.
With only a few weeks remaining, I know I need to prioritize the things I do. I can no longer blindly follow a group and spend my time on activities that do not interest me. I hope I can be brave and break away from the crowd.
Overall, it wasn’t the most exciting weekend, but it was meaningful to me because I took some time to remember the things I love to do. I feel refreshed and ready to start doing some traveling in the next few weekends. It might be hectic and crazy, but I can think back to this weekend and the amazing time I had to myself.