In just a few hours, I’m headed off to start my study abroad journey in Dublin, Ireland, filled with a mix of excitement and anxiety. It goes without saying that Covid-19 has brought many different challenges to the process of study abroad as well as life in general. However, I am heading into these next few months optimistic that I will be able to make the most out of my experience. Back in March of 2020, my sister was studying abroad in Valencia, Spain and my roommate and I decided to go visit her over our spring break. However, much to our dismay, upon landing in Spain and connecting to Wi-Fi, we opened our emails to find out that the remainder of our freshman year would be virtual. After tearful calls to our parents, we got ourselves together and figured, hey, at least we get a fun week in Valencia, right?
After an absolutely traumatic taxi ride in which our taxi (which was legally required to accept debit/credit cards) informed us upon arrival that he would only accept cash that we did not have, my sister's boss at her internship had to come to our rescue, yelling at the taxi driver in Spanish that we could not understand, essentially telling him not to take advantage of teenage girls. Finally, we found my sister and were able to go into town and get ourselves excited for a week full of paella, beaches, and shopping. At the end of this very long day (or so we thought) we settled into bed prepared to get up for a day full of exploring. However, upon checking my phone one last time before going to sleep, I was fully awakened by CNN headlines telling me that President Trump was closing the border, followed soon after by phone calls from our parents. Approximately one hour of sleep later, my sister had to pack up all of her things and end her study abroad six weeks early while my roommate and I went straight back to the airport full of disappointment and droopy eyes.
Even though that experience was terrible, I knew that about a year and a half later I would have my own chance to study abroad and get to do the traveling that I didn’t get to do that week. Fast forward to present day, January 2022, I am preparing to go abroad, still dealing with the same pandemic that ended my sister’s study abroad, with an even more contagious variant ripping through the world. While I am thankful that I am able to go to Dublin, I am also an extreme planner and control freak who is now unable to plan or control much for the foreseeable future. However, I am confident that this experience will still be an unforgettable one. There are a lot of unknowns as I head to Dublin, as regulations and restrictions are quite literally changing overnight. Regardless, I am determined to make the absolute best of an unideal situation and still get as much of the abroad experience as I possibly can. I am looking forward to a semester filled with trying new foods, hiking the Irish countryside, exploring Dublin, blogging, and even experiencing a Dublin-style St. Patrick’s Day.
Stay tuned for a semester full of adventure. I’ll talk to you soon from Dublin!
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<p>Hi! My name is Maya Reiser and I am studying Psychology, Sociology, and Communication at the University of Pittsburgh. I am studying abroad this Spring in Dublin, and I can't wait to share all of my experiences. My favorite thing in the world to do is travel anywhere I can go. The best memory I have while traveling was watching the sunset on a bridge over a river in Tuscany, Italy.</p>