At the beginning of a semester abroad you feel as though you have all the time in the world to do anything you want. Your bucket list gets longer and longer every week and you keep telling yourself, “Oh, don’t worry…there’s so much time to get this all done!” Before you know it, those handful of weeks fly by and your final day in Dublin is at the end of this calendar week.
Without a doubt, Dublin has become my second home and it feels strange leaving this city knowing that I won’t be here for a very long time. I wonder what will happen on campus next term or how the new construction will turn out on Thomas Street or how the city looks at the first signs of Spring. It’s sad knowing that I won’t be part of the changes happening in Dublin or that I can’t hop on a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher if I want. Most of all, I have been so grateful to meet the incredible students in the IES Abroad program. For the first time I feel as though I have a group of genuine friends that truly care about me. I’m stepping on that transatlantic flight with a genuine love for Ireland and my new friends.
With only a few days left in Dublin, I have thought about everything a person should do before leaving this beautiful city. It’s a much shorter and more meaningful list than my initial bucket list of 100+ items. Here’s a few sentimental things to do one last time before leaving this beautiful city:
- Visit your favorite coffee shop with your friends
My friend Andrea and I religiously went to Costa Coffee next to Trinity’s campus nearly every day. It had the best ambiance and strong coffee which was the recipe to our success this year. The last day of finals week we went in for one last time to our favorite table and ordered our favorite coffees.
- Take pictures on your campus or favorite location in the city
The last week of school can be tricky because everyone is running in a thousand different directions, finishing up exams and saying their goodbyes. I made sure to set a time on the last day for my group of friends to meet up and take one last picture. It was the last time that all of us would be in that place at that time ever again. It was bitter sweet because we had walked into the front gates of Trinity so many times that semester and suddenly it was our last time. That picture will always be a special souvenir from my time here.
- Pick out a special souvenir for yourself
When you’re abroad you’ll likely be buying so many gifts for other people, but don’t forget to get one small thing for yourself, especially from your host city. I knew I didn’t have much space in my suitcase for tons of excessive gifts, but over the past few weeks I’ve admired the original Guinness toucan logo. The vintage looking signs always caught my eye throughout Ireland and I knew I wanted to take something home with that. I picked out a mug with the classic toucan and company’s slogan “Lovely day for a Guinness!” When you’re home and all the presents have been given out for the holidays, make sure you have something special too!
- Eat an Irish dinner and listen to live music
My favorite Irish pub this semester was The Old Storehouse. My family who lives in Dublin brought me here a few years ago, and I always loved the delicious food, live music, and ambiance. It has tons of tables that surround the musicians and has a great atmosphere. Every Friday night my favorite trio performs and it became a tradition for my friends and I to go. Our last Friday night was spent eating fish and chips, Guinness beef stew, and burgers and most importantly listening to the classic songs like “Whiskey in the Jar” and “Galway Girl.” I wish I could capture those feelings in a bottle. There’s nothing better than the genuinely happy atmosphere of an entire room of people singing to these classic songs and clapping along. It felt as though the entire room had known each other forever. That sense of comradery and hospitality is what I will dearly miss from Ireland.
You will make your own memories in Ireland, but be sure to make your last week one of the best. Take advantage of everything this incredible country has to offer, because you’ll never be as care free as you are during your semester abroad. Sláinte!