I’m sitting in my room with photos, tickets, brochures, glitter, and markers splayed around my room in a U-shape. Carefully I pick up the stub of my airline ticket, BOS–>SHAN, the beginning of my journey, and glue it firmly on the page of my book titled “Misneach.” It means “courage” in Irish Gaelic, the language of the country I spent the most incredible four months of my life in, Ireland.
It may be the end of summer, and I may have returned from my trip over seven months ago, but that doesn’t mean that some aspect of it doesn’t appear in my mind fifteen times a day. I find myself hearing the sweet lilt of brogues that became my favorite song to listen to, or smelling the air after it had just rained, hoping for the scent of Galway. I don’t know what it was about that country, or the people, or the experience, but I cannot stop thinking about it.
Each day I remind myself that I will go back, not just for a vacation, but to live. I don’t know if that is how it is for all people who study abroad, all I know is that living in Ireland changed me. I not only want to live in that city again, but I feel almost a need to.
At first, it hurt to miss Galway something fierce, but now I have decided to plan. As my undergraduate career comes to a close I have started to look toward my future and what I want next. I decided I want to live in Ireland. I want to go back and get my masters in Ireland and work and become apart of something great. Going abroad in the first place not only showed me how much I love Ireland, but it taught me that if I want to do something, like moving 3,000 miles away from my home, I can.
Am I worried about money and finding a job? Absolutely, but I am a hard worker and willing to work wherever will have me. Am I worried about being alone and making friends? Terrified, but my experience abroad proved to myself that I could do that and will do it again.
My scrapbook of my adventures is titled “Misneach” because courage is the most valuable thing I learned from my time abroad. Each time I worry about my life changing, whether I chose to change it or not, I remember that courage brought me to the best experiences of my life, and it will again during the next chapter of my life, not just studying abroad, but living abroad.