Only a few short month ago, you probably arrived in Dublin with a mind full of possibilities—a vision of what the upcoming semester with Champlain Abroad would be like. Now all of that has transformed itself into fond memories, most of them probably far from what you pictured.
By now you know the history of the streets you walk and the landmarks you pass on a daily basis. You have a favorite pub, and a least favorite intersection. You probably notice small changes, like a new billboard or bit of graffiti on your walk to school. You’ve picked up on subtle differences in language the Irish use. You give the tourists directions. The Dublin buses still completely baffle you, but it’s alright because you’ve found all of the best shortcuts to get where you need on foot.
By now you’ve visited some of the city’s best hidden gems.
You probably have a favorite European city after all your travels, but at some point it occurred to you that Dublin stopped feeling like a home base, and just started to feel like home. And almost as soon as this epiphany occurs, it’s time to head back to the States.
So, what do you do? Go into denial? Dissolve into a pool of tears? Frantically research the quickest way to get an extended visa, or heck, maybe even citizenship if you can find a local willing to marry you within the next two weeks?
As somebody who has considered all of the above options, I may be able to recommend one way of coping that helped me best.
For Stephen McMahon’s Writing in the City class, our final assignment is to write a letter to Dublin. Write as though Dublin is a friend, a lover, a family member, maybe even a stranger with whom you shared a brief encounter. Think about all the things you would say, and all the thoughts and feelings you have about leaving. Recount your favorite memory here. For us saps in the world, seeing it all written out can provide some perspective and help in coming to terms with the fact that leaving is inevitable.
A cool idea for students planning to study abroad would be to write a letter prior to traveling to Dublin, or right at the start of the semester. Then write one at the end, and have to two to compare and see how you’ve changed, what you thought would happen and what actually did, and to look back on when you’ve left and are missing Dublin.
Then make sure to grab a final pint in your favorite pub, and re-visit the places you said you would, because there’s no doubt you’re going to miss this place fiercely.
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Spring 2015
Champlain College Communications major
Class of 2016