Tomorrow (well, technically later today) is my last exam at Trinity College Dublin. After 4:00 PM, GMT on 9 May, 2014 I will be finished with my academic connection to Ireland.
I’m not ready for this.
It’s not just that I have to deal with separating myself from a system of third level education which I’ve actually come to accept, and kind of like (for all its eccentricities), it’s that it’s also a sign that my time in Dublin is rapidly dwindling to an end. As of today, I have only sixteen days left in Ireland. Sixteen days. What is going on?
I was talking with one of my friends this week, trying to make plans to get together with her, and we realised that it may not happen due to various other commitments (e.g. my spending a week in Budapest, her having visitors and exams). It’s staggering. It’s really, really uncomfortable for me to think that in a very short amount of time, most of the people I’ve met and come to love here, I may never see in person again, or if I do, it will be a very long time.
When you leave your home country to study abroad, you leave behind friends and family. But you leave those friends and family behind with a comforting knowledge that you will be back. Those friends from your home university, unless they’ve graduated, they’ll be there waiting for you. The people you went to high school with, they’ll probably show up back in your home town from time to time. But when you leave your host country to go back home, you don’t have that guarantee. I have exactly two friends in Ireland who are from the North American continent; one of them is a permanent Trinity student and will be staying here, the other is from Minnesota. The rest of my friends are from Europe and Asia, and that’s a little bit far away for a day trip from New York.
I don’t get emotional easily. It takes a lot. But I’m already extremely upset about having to say goodbye to friends who helped me settle in and feel less alien in a foreign country. For nine months, I’ve had these people to say “hello” to in the morning, to complain about the weather with, to go on adventures with, to learn about other cultures from. They’re a crucially important part of my life here. But as of May 24th — earlier, in the case of most of them, and with the exception of my flatmate I’m visiting in Bath just afterwards — I run the risk of never seeing them again. It feels incredibly unfair.
The hardest part of having to finish a study abroad programme — especially a year long, direct enrollment one, where you have a real opportunity to settle into a “normal” life in your host country — is not physically leaving the school, or the city, or the country, or the continent, or the culture. No. The hardest part is leaving the people who made your programme so much more than studying abroad: they made it living.
I am really, really not ready for this.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Hannah Vose is a University of Rochester junior, majoring in English with an interest in literary translation studies. When not burying her nose in whichever book has most recently been plucked from atop the dangerously tall pile on her desk, she can be found obsessively learning new languages, squinting through her (very stylish, thank you!) bifocals at someone else's writing in her job as a Writing Fellow, drinking stupid amounts of tea, squinting through her bifocals at her own writing in her job as a scathing self-critic, or dreaming of living somewhere which gets even less sun than Rochester. Born in England but having lived most of her life in Endicott, New York, she has traveled back to the Land of Her People twice and visited Dublin once on the way over. She considered applying to Trinity College as an international student, but was deterred by tuition costs (yikes!) so she's absolutely 100% thrilled to be living in Dublin and taking classes at Trinity for an entire year (and only about 34% of that is because she might get to take a class on Patrick McCabe -- will it happen? Stay tuned!)</span></p>