My trip to Ireland was beyond amazing. My expectations of the trip were exceeded by everything I learned and experienced. I met new people and friends that I will remember for a lifetime. I am still amazed that I actually went to Europe and studied abroad.
The culture that I experienced was something I will never forget. Staying in Camden Court for two weeks started to feel like home. The restaurants, stores, and people started feeling familiar to me in the same way it does in Chicago.
Anne Driscoll was one of our final speakers during the trip and for some reason she stands out the most. We didn’t have much time with her but what she said resonated with me.
She appeared to be a mature woman because she discussed having a child who received his doctorate. The fact that she is a mother and still following her passion that led to receiving a Fulbright scholarship amazes me.
She now calls Ireland her home because she was given an opportunity. It made me think of the endless possibilities that exist for me.
Initially I wasn’t going to apply for this trip because I didn’t think I could afford it but receiving the scholarship made it possible. I’m glad that I didn’t let fear cripple me the way it often does so many.
I took a chance and it paid off. I was enlightened to meet other students that came into the class from different disciplines. It was interesting to see how different people with different interests could benefit from the trip to Ireland.
Covering issues in a different country was different but in a good way. The legislative process for gender recognition was something I learned about.
Sometimes you don’t know what to expect in foreign territory but I was pleasantly surprised. I found that the people In Ireland were quick to offer information. The sources for my final project were very accommodating and easy to talk to.
I enjoyed learning about their political process involving the Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, and Sinn Fein. It was refreshing to learn about a different political system other than the one in the United States.
When you learn the customs and practices of a different place where you come from seems so small in comparison. I enjoyed learning about the traveler population in Ireland as a different ethnic group.
The trip to Belfast gave me a crash course on the history of Northern Ireland that I will never forget. The murals and the writings on the wall are etched in my memory because of the gravity of what happened there.
I will miss walking to Grafton street where I could go shopping or listen to the street musicians who provided me with free entertainment. I remember the first time I went to Grafton street by myself and came back I was so proud. I had my own private celebration in my mind because I was happy to learn the land on my own.
Dublin I will miss you for all the small things including the writings on the wall in the bathrooms that celebrated LGBTQ individuals, the bike taxi driver who dropped us off at the George because he just “knew” we needed to go, and finally the Irish people. Thank you for welcoming me with open arms and showing me the time of my life. XOXO Ireland.