I am in my bedroom at home, surrounded by suitcase shrapnel. I am patiently waiting for all of this to feel real.
I am headed to the airport on Monday, where I will be flying for the first time in seven years. I will land in Dublin, Ireland, which will be the only country outside of the United States that I have ever set foot in (yeah, not even Canada). I am absolutely thrilled. I am also absolutely terrified.
Studying abroad was never something that I wanted to do. I came into college having no idea what I wanted to focus on, and at the end of my sophomore year, I am only a little bit sure that I finally figured it out. Taking a semester off to go explore a foreign country sounded amazing, but I felt I couldn't spare a semester when there was so much I needed to figure out.
However, I was taking a one-credit freshman programming class during my first semester, and one class was dedicated to a study abroad presentation. It may seem silly, but this was the first time that I was aware of the opportunity to study abroad over the summer, and I realized that this was actually something I could do. I searched for programs on and off for a while, and eventually decided that the Dublin Summer Intensive Acting program was the best choice for me.
I chose to spend my summer at the Gaiety School of Acting with IES Abroad because I am very fortunate to have studied theatre at the University of Pittsburgh for a year. While I have shifted my focus towards design, I believe every aspect of live theatre is nothing short of magical. I have learned so much from my performance classes that can be used on and off the stage, and the opportunity to continue this training at the Gaiety School of Acting was something I couldn't pass up.
This week has flooded my inbox with information that excited me more each time I open an email. I keep learning more and more about this program, the city, and even some of the people I will be living with. I have been stress-googling where every important location is, watching youtube videos about how to condense enough clothes for six weeks into one suitcase, and buying a bunch of last-minute black workout clothes to satisfy the dress code of my classes. My life has been consumed with preparing for this moment for the past couple of weeks, and now it's here. Somehow, I still feel unprepared.
This trip has been around a year in the making, and now it's days away. For some reason, I never really imagined getting to this point. I have been working for a long time to make this happen, but I have no concept of what it will actually be like. I am wondering what challenges I'll face, what I'll fall in love with, and what I'll learn, whether it be an academic lesson or a life lesson.
I will share this information as it comes, in hopes that it will help other prospective travelers the way the other brilliant bloggers from IES Abroad have helped me. Next time you hear from me, I will have traveled over three thousand miles. While that may be the most surreal sentence I have ever typed, I am so excited for it to become a reality, and so grateful for the opportunity to share this journey with you.
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<p>I am a sophomore in college studying scenic design. My favorite things are art, music, and animals. I write for my college newspaper, usually as a theatre critic or comedian. I'm really excited to study abroad because I love meeting new people and experiencing new cultures!</p>