At every point in my life, I have had a safety net. There is always been someone I can call, in some corner of the world, if I was in dire need. This was the first time I felt completely independent. Before I left for this trip, I was terrified and tried not to think about it in the week preceding my flight. Please do not get me wrong, I was extremely excited but also in fear of the unknown. This is an experience I will talk about for the rest of my life everywhere I go! I hope I will stay in contact with almost all of the people I’ve met here, as they will be my lifelong friends! I have learned so much from my internship, my coworkers, and how to approach my future. I’ve learned so much about culture and perception through interesting discussions from my roommates, my coworkers, and people I’ve met for moments at a time.
Before arriving in Dublin, I was so nervous about how to get transportation from the airport which looking back is laughable! Growing up right outside of the city I’ve always had the availability of a car and I have never used a bus or relied on public transportation. I do not want to minimize my fears because they are still valid but looking back it is so incredible to see how much I achieved and overcame my fears. I love the 39a which is the bus I take every single day to work and takes me less than a five-minute walk away from my dormitory. I also overcame the fear of hostels and sleeping in a room with 11 other people! I’ve been to camps before when I was very young and had sleepovers with my friends, but I’ve never been in a room full of strangers comfortably sleeping before this summer! I had some very good luck with the people in my dormitories such as an Irish woman in Edinburgh where we talked about sightseeing, her daughter, and traveling the world! My friends at home like to travel but there’s something different about talking to a backpacker in a part of the world and hearing their stories from a place I do not even know if I could name on a map. I am continuously reminded almost every single day how much of my perspective has changed since I’ve been here. I am reminded of how small each moment is. And I’m not saying that as if it’s a bad thing but simply that there are others like me who hoped to travel, learn, and better themselves through experiences, and if I continue doing what I love I will find them.
Before I left Dublin, I was determined to have a “Trad” night. That is the abbreviation for traditional Irish music and dance in a pub. I have not had an opportunity to see traditional Irish songs in a bar and I was determined to see that before I left. Myself, my coworker, and my one roommate went last night to Murray’s bar on O’Connell’s Street and it was incredible. I have not laughed so hard in months! I cannot believe the connections and people I’ve met in such a short amount of time.
If you decide to do this program which I strongly recommend here are just a few things to help you be extra prepared for your trip. The very first thing I would do as soon as you put your initial deposit down is to sign up for a student Leap card. They are very reasonably priced and will save you a lot of money. You apply online and the card takes two to five weeks to process and then the bus system will ship it to your location. You can either have it shipped to the school or I would recommend having it shipped to your home. This way as soon as you arrive in-country, you’ll have a means of transportation. I would strongly recommend going to Penny’s on your second day. They have very inexpensive towels and hangers that will make your life so much better! I would also recommend getting a bathmat, I didn’t and you can live without it but it is so much better with one. Eight weeks doesn’t seem like that long of a time until you’re living it! I was living in the dormitory Mersville residence on the UCD campus. If you were missing cutlery, pots, or pans go to reception and tell them. They are extremely nice and it is not worth waiting a few weeks for them to notice. On a more personal note, expect to spend money on this trip. The program recommends having around $3,000 for food and activities, and I would recommend more. Your roommates and friends will want to travel to other countries and see fun things once you are here. The flights are extremely less expensive once you’re over ‘the pond’ and if you have the finances to do so, definitely do it! The very last recommendation I would have because everything else is pretty self-explanatory is to have at least €10-€20 on you at all times. Several busy bars and clubs have a cover charge that you cannot use Apple Pay for. Everything else under the sun even in the countryside will use Apple Pay or some contactless form of payment. It is wonderful, and the United States needs to learn by example! Thank you Pitt for this connection and opportunity and thank you EUSA for my internship!