Anxious Anticipation!

Molly Ballenger
December 31, 2021

Our program’s start date is getting closer, and it’s starting to feel so much more real! Booking my flight was the most exciting moment so far; I spent a lot of time that day researching Dublin and even walking around the city on Google Earth. 

I’ve been relieved to discover that IES Abroad has given us so many details about our trip; I feel very prepared and taken care of, especially since my IES Abroad advisor is really great about responding to any questions I have. She’s been so helpful in making sure I have everything settled for next semester. 

In the news the last few weeks, we’ve been hearing a lot about different COVID variants spreading, so my friends and I can’t help but get a little nervous about our program. But IES Abroad has kept us in the loop every step of the way and they seem pretty optimistic that we’ll get to go, especially since we’re required to get vaccinated. Even if we do have restricted travel for our semester, I would still be so excited to explore Ireland as much as I can. 

Right now, I’m in the middle of finals at school, but I also am trying to prepare as much as I can for my departure; I’m researching Irish customs protocols, thinking about what I’ll pack, and scheduling COVID tests to present for my flight. Tomorrow, I’ll have my first of two required online orientation sessions on Zoom, and I’m really excited to get to hear more concrete details about the program. All of the things to do have provided a much-needed brain break to focus on something other than school.

I’m starting to get nervous; I can’t deny it. It’s crazy to think that I’ll be so far away from home for so long. The most difficult thing for me so far has been figuring out how to bring my hair products over there, since Ireland doesn’t sell the ones I like. (I have curly hair that’s difficult to manage, and I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to find products that work.) But that process is showing me just how much I’ll be pushed outside my comfort zone this semester. It’s a bit scary, but I know that it’ll be so good for me! Right now in the packing process, I’m trying to focus on bringing things that will make my room in Ireland feel like home, so I have a safe, cozy place to crash after my adventures. 

Next time I post, I’ll be in Dublin! I’m so excited for this new adventure, and I can’t wait to update y’all on everything. 

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Molly Ballenger

<p>I'm an English and Religion major at Furman University from Lookout Mountain, Georgia. At school, I'm on the leadership team for several campus ministries, I work at my school's farm, and I play club ultimate frisbee! In my free time, I enjoy being outside, climbing, and playing guitar, as well as spending time with friends.</p>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Furman University
Lookout Mountain, GA
Religious Studies
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