May 22, 2014

Study Abroad - Week 20: Packing Up & Going Home

Well, I have three more days left in my study abroad experience.

While I am so ready to get home to see my family, see my friends, be back in my super comfy bed, & start my summer plans, I definitely do not want to leave Dublin or Ireland or Europe.

Trinity College & downtown Dublin

I sort of regret not blogging much while abroad but only because I wish I had kept better track of every little thing I've done while abroad. I don't want to forget any coffee shop or any budget airline flight or any wait in line through immigration. I just don't want to forget any bit of the last five months. It's also been really nice to relax this semester & just experience each moment trying to write all about it.

New friends in Dublin - Kat, Caroline, Kate & I

Exploring London

The last five months in Europe have been amazing. Dublin is a wonderful, friendly city but I've also fallen in love with traveling during my time abroad. I can now say that I've been to 12 countries (including Canada & the Vatican). It's been amazing to experience so many different cultures in such a short amount of time.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen

While abroad I've been to Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Spain, France, Denmark, Poland, Italy, the Vatican, the Netherlands, and England. I enjoyed my time studying at Trinity too. The school is just huge compared to Saint Mike's and the campus is really beautiful. It was really fun to spend a semester at one of the best & most well-known universities in the world.

One of the  many pretzel stands in Krakow

This summer I have some exciting things to look forward to. Although I was not awarded research funding I will be completing a summer research project with one of my professors. I also have two summer internships - one with U.S. Congressman Joe Kennedy and one with the Massachusetts Democratic Party. I can't wait to start with work in early June.

Van Gogh's house in Monmarte, Paris - the second window from the top on the right

I am worried about experiencing some reverse culture shock upon returning home. I've done so much in my few months abroad and I'm going to miss Europe so much. I feel like I've actually lived now, like I've done things that are noteworthy. I've seen paintings by Cezanne, Picasso, Monet, Pissarro, & Van Gogh. I climbed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, had churros in Madrid, took pictures with Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, saw the Pope & experienced Easter Mass at the Vatican. I had authentic Italian food in Cinque Terre, walked the cute town of Bergamo, walked where Julius Caesar walked in Rome, saw the Anne Frank House & toured the canals in Amsterdam, visited Auschwitz in Krakow, & I saw Buckingham Palace in London.

Enjoying sangria in Madrid

It's been an absolutely incredible & eye-opening experience. Of course I've made some wonderful new friends in my time abroad, but I've also met some amazing & kind people through my travels. A bus driver in Krakow helping me find my way, my taxi driver in Bergamo walked with me to find my hostel, a woman on my bus to Milan helped me find the metro station. A waiter in Rome, some girls in my hostel in Paris, an Australian student and a fellow American in Amsterdam. People have been friendly & chatty & helpful.

The Trevi Fountain
Vernazza in Cinque Terre

I've learned a couple things in my time abroad:
- People are truly good. So many people helped me throughout my travels & have been willing & excited to chat.
- Saint Mike's is an awesome community. As I traveled through Europe I met up with friends from Saint Mike's who were also studying abroad. In the end I met up with about 10 friends from Saint Mike's, some that I know really well & some that I hardly know at all. It was awesome to experience some of the Saint Mike's community all the way in Europe.
- There are huge differences in culture between countries & cities, which has been so interesting to experience. Just traveling throughout Italy I saw such changes in the people, the style of dress, & the food.
- I feel much more confident in my ability to do everything. I really can't believe that I've traveled all over Europe & survived a semester at Trinity College all on my own. I feel much more able to really tackle whatever obstacles come.

The Pope at Easter Mass at the Vatican

I'm going to so miss my time abroad & I will certainly be sad to board my plane home! But I'm also excited to see my family & friends. I'm starting to get excited for my senior year at Saint Mike's & to see all my favorite people & professors in the August!


Feel free to email with questions!

Manarola in Cinque Terre