This post comes to us from Jenna Gibson from Millsaps College and is currently studying abroad in Limerick, Ireland.
Before I even left to go study abroad for a semester, I was already stressed out. The process of packing up all of my clothes into one suitcase and a carry-on and saying goodbye to all of my friends and family made the anticipation for my semester abroad even more prominent. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, despite all of the orientation I did beforehand. I knew that I would never really know what it would be like going to Ireland for four months until I arrived.
On the first weekend of my arrival in Ireland, I already had eight friends. This friendship came through force, obviously, by the few of us being all of the members in the API group, but almost two months later those people are still my best friends here. Our API leaders welcomed us with open arms, and it was such a nice and not stressful way to enter a new country. We were able to come to our housing days before everyone else moved in, so we had our own time to acclimate to our new surroundings.
Our API leaders were the best to us, as well. Over our first week here, we got to see so much of Limerick and the city, and we had API as our tour guides throughout the entire time. They showed us how to use the buses and how to navigate our way around, and we also were taken out to eat a few times with them. When the rest of my study abroad flatmates moved in, they told me that they were confused and got lost the first few days they were here. At that moment, I was glad to have API, and to this day I still am happy to have the program.
The excursions we have been on so far have been very nicely organized and so fun. Ireland is a beautiful country, and it’s wonderful being able to go with a small group of people on a tour.
Time has flown by so quickly here, and I know that the next few months will be over before I know it. The people I’ve met through API, however, will always be with me. What was once just a group of confused Americans has now turned in to a family. Through API, I know that I’ve made friends for a lifetime.