Hi there IES community!
My name's Grace and can I just say that I am stoked to be about to head out to Dublin for the Irish Studies program.
A couple things about myself:
- Up and coming senior attending Pacific Lutheran University
- Studying English Literature and Psychology
- From Edmonds, WA (though I've been living in Tacoma, WA for the past three years)
- IN LOVE with the PNW (Pacific Northwest) and all that it offers (rain, clouds, rocky beaches, and good coffee!)
- I find total zen when I do yoga, draw, and write in my journal, all while jamming out to my favorite bands (Hozier, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Paper Kites, Half Moon Run, Lord Huron, etc. – basically all things indie and alternative haha!)
I would say that deciding to go to Dublin for a four month study abroad experience was easy, but really it was an agonizing decision, one in which I spent many hours in the office of my academic advisor and my study abroad advisor, asking questions and twisting my hands nervously in my lap. But, in the end, it came down to what program was the most interesting to me, and where I knew I'd feel the most "at home" while I'm away. And Ireland just seemed to click for me, so I took the plunge and applied.
Packing (A.K.A. being tremendously picky about everything from socks to dress shoes)
Packing was tricky, but in the end I think I figured out a good system for myself. I found the packing list IES provides helpful, and I also asked previous IES students that I know for advice on what to bring/what not to bring. I decided on a 30” long suitcase and made it a priority to Google all the best packing techniques (fold and roll!) I’m a shoe person, so I packed all the pairs I could fit, but for everything else I packed as little as possible (toiletries, school supplies, and other small things I’ll grab when I’m there). I also made sure to include a foldable duffle bag for souvenirs/other items I might pick up while I’m there. Though it’s definitely important to leave room, I couldn’t resist including a few things that will remind me of home (a photo of me and my family and a small blanket). When I’m feeling homesick, I know I’ll thank myself for it.
Places I want to check out (to name a few)
- Glendalough (has tons of Medieval buildings and historic monuments, plus it looks gorgeous)
- Dalkey (seaside town, also very scenic)
- Galway (to check out the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher)
- Cork/West Cork (another big Irish city)
- Parks (Merrion Square, Iveagh Gardens, etc.)
- Pubs! (a given)
- Rathmines (suburb of Dublin)
- Ranelagh (has beautiful gardens from what I’m told)
These I got from folks who’ve been to Ireland, as well as from other IES Dublin folks who’d been the previous year. There are tons more they suggested, these are just a few of the highlights. I have to say, hearing them talk about their experiences in Ireland and reminisce made me all the more excited!
One thing that many people reminded me about this trip—it is an educational experience, but it is also an adventure and a chance to get to know another country, which means that it’s important to push comfort zones, continuously explore, and to try new things. Even though it will be hard at times I’m sure, I’ll try to keep this in mind when I’m over there.
See you soon Dublin!
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<p>Hailing from Tacoma, WA, I'm a English Literature and Psychology major who is thoroughly excited to be traveling an studying in Ireland in the fall. I've lived my whole life in the PNW, so I'm interested to see what this new adventure will bring (although weather-wise it seems pretty similar!) I love music and dancing (badly) and I have loved reading and stories for as long as I can remember. I draw the most inspiration and creative juices from experiencing new things and ideas, so I know I'll be bursting with words to be written and stories to be told during the four months I'm away from home.</p>