Before I left for Dublin, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do while I was abroad. The list was a little long and hastily done, with little knowledge of what was actually available to me across the pond. I am fully willing to admit that it was done without much thought, and there honestly wasn't too much in it. Even so, I didn't manage to complete all of the things I said I was going to do.
I'm not at all bothered by this, for multiple reasons: One, the things that I did do were astounding, invigorating, et cetera, et cetera, and it's hard to regret what you haven't done when you've done so much; Two, it gives me an excuse to go back in the (hopefully near) future.
Going to Dublin for the summer was a last-minute idea. I sent in my application on the day it was due and I crossed my fingers. I didn't ask permission, I didn't consider the true depth of what it was I signed up for, and, most importantly, I had absolutely no idea what I'd just started. I'm not entirely sure that anyone who studies abroad really knows what's going to happen to them; that's most of the fun, isn't it? The whole idea is doing something you've never done before, experiencing a new place and a new culture and diving right into all of it with a backpack and maybe a camera. Feet first, eyes closed, toes pointed, with absolutely no idea where you're going to end up once it's all over.
I've been home for nearly a week now. Dublin almost feels like it was some kind of dream, like some other person traveled around and I just watched it all on the television. The photos I've taken (5,473, not including those that were deleted due to their repetitive nature), the videos I've saved to my laptop (4 hours and 37 minutes), and the blog posts I've made (too few, far too few) are my favorite company, and every time I've looked them over I've had to remind myself that they're actually mine.
In six weeks, I've done a lot of things I never thought I would. I learned traditional Irish dances, biked 31 miles in seven hours, got lost in some mountains, got lost in some cities, made friends I never would have met anywhere else, and tried sushi for the first time. I visited the homes of W.B. Yates and Oscar Wilde, followed in the footsteps of Joyce's characters, and explored three different castles. I woke up early and went to bed late, napped on public transportation, and spent a lot of time by myself in places I'd never even heard of before. I felt a little homesick and I found a new home. I learned and I explored and I maybe had a little too much fun sometimes, and I regret absolutely none of it.
My six weeks in Dublin provided me the opportunity to be afraid, and to overcome it. To anyone who is considering studying abroad, I would like to say: Do it. Absolutely, definitely, sign yourself up and grab the opportunity with every limb you can spare. It will change your view of the world, and probably your view of yourself, but you're going to love that once it's happened. You may never be satisfied to sit still again. To my family, friends, and IES: Thank you for providing me this opportunity, and making it absolutely unforgettable in the very best way.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hi! My name is Taylor Haggerty. I'm twenty years old and currently go to school in Bloomington, Indiana, for magazine design and poetry. This summer I'll be studying English and history in Dublin, Ireland!</p>