I’ve just finished up my first two weeks here in Ireland, and they were definitely full of stories and adventures I’ll never forget. After arriving in Dublin I spent the night in a hostel and had orientation the next morning before getting on a bus with the ten other acting students and heading to Killarney. We took a quick stop about half way through at the Barack Obama Plaza and then got into Killlarney where we were dropped off at the House we would be living in for the next two weeks.
It was a daunting experience to be living with ten people you'd never met before, but it was one of the best experiences of my life thus far. It felt like being put in a real life reality t.v show! We explored Killarney and spent a day in Dingle before starting classes on the following monday. Classes were at the West End House, about a 30 minute walk from where we lived (definitely bring some good walking shoes because everything is a walk). We had classes every day from 10am until 5pm and we went on different field trips, and had workshops as well as rehearsals for the showcase at the end.
I didn’t know much about Killarney, but I’m so glad to have such a familiarity with it now. I went on many walks through the national park, which is absolutely stunning, and I tried countless restaurants and cafes throughout town. One thing I didn’t really think about before coming abroad was the aspect of really settling down into a new space. I know this might sound silly, but I’ve always viewed studying abroad as just a longer trip somewhere else. And don’t get me wrong, it definitely still is that, but I’ve found that some of my favorite moments are actually getting to live abroad. I love doing my grocery shopping in town and cooking meals. I’ve found so much joy in drinking my morning coffee in my pajamas at the table in the house. These moments of feeling settled in a new place help create a deeper connection and understanding of where I’m really living for the time being. I like getting to slow down a little bit and experience life here instead of going 100 miles an hour and trying to see everything for six weeks.
With all of that being said, I still did a lot and I highly recommend maximizing time and experience while living abroad, but also balancing out with moments of stillness and content. While in Killarney we went on a day trip to Cork and went to the Blarney Stone and Castle which was my favorite day trip so far. Cork was a super cool town with so many hidden shops and restaurants and the Blarney Castle and grounds were absolutely stunning. It’s definitely worth seeing and experiencing while in Ireland. My biggest takeaway from these past two weeks is to live life to the fullest and to see and experience as much as possible because studying abroad in such and incredible opportunity, but to also cherish the smaller moments of living in a house or apartment with other people and allowing life to happen while you soak it in. I think studying abroad is all about finding a balance and creating a sustainable way to enjoyable life while you're here.
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I'm Amelia McCabe and I'm a Current Freshman at the University of Tennessee. I'm originally from Chicago, Illinois and I love getting to go home and visit the city! I'm a theatre major and spend lots of time acting, with friends, or as a barista!