Until we meet again, Dublin, I’ll be longing to return. But the memories, shaped over one hundred and seventeen days spent in the company of you and your European neighbors, will be savored for eternity. So thank you, first, for giving me only so much time.
I’ve always been aware of making each moment count; but with only so many moments allotted for me this time around, I was busier and am more satisfied with what I’ve done. Thinking back to the first few weeks of studying with Champlain Abroad Dublin, I’m often surprised to recount a trip to Cork with new friends, a jump into the Irish Sea, dinner in a refurbished church, and a ride through Phoenix Park, feeding deer. Small moments in class, and larger weekend journeys, have been fitted into every corner of my mind and collectively have formed an experience that I never realized could be so full. There is no room for me to regret not having done something. Are there things I’d still like to see? Of course. Doesn’t that just mean I’ll have to come back for you, Dublin?
You gave me the chance to create new, meaningful relationships, for which I will always be grateful. I joined this program knowing that I was the only student outside of Champlain College to attend this semester. A slight panic seized me the closer that my time to leave came. To me, it felt like freshman year of college, having to find my place. But I found that I blended into the group effortlessly, everyone welcoming me with open arms. Still, friends here have said that they forget I won’t be with them at school next semester. I’ve only known my forty three peers for four months, but you could tell me that I’ve known them for five years and I would believe you more. Champlain Abroad Dublin boasts a small and intimate group, and I’m proud to call myself an honorary Champlain-er. I’ve felt torn between worlds, missing my friends at Emerson while loving my new friendships. Next semester, I’ll be torn in the opposite way… But now, I have the chance to visit Burlington. And I will have times to relay to friends in Boston, while strengthening the friendships I’ve established here.
Studying abroad is as much about the places you go as it is the people you venture there with. This bunch is a good—scratch that, GREAT—one, and one that I’ll hopelessly crave when I remember nights spent in pubs and trekking through a monsoon in the west.
Most of all, Dublin, I want to thank you for giving me a bigger sense of myself. When someone asks me, “How was Ireland?” I won’t have a concise answer because you are not a concise city, experience, or idea. You are laughs, scones, walks through St. Stephen’s Green, light rising over the Liffey. You are adventure and, on the flip side, settlement. I will call you, and all of it, my home: because home, for me, is no longer binding. It is any comfort, and every second spent in your presence, Dublin, will linger with that comfort. I’ve always felt tethered to my sense of place and permanence, but here I have felt liberated. I’ve strived to seek adventure in the tiniest of places, and know that I can soar to wherever my heart yearns without fear. I have become more so myself: a wild travel bug, a time management observer, a confident leader.
They say not to cry because it’s over, and to smile because it happened. Well, I can guarantee that I will cry, because the semester that I have looked towards since high school is rapidly drawing to a close and this opportunity may not present itself again for years. But I will smile more for how complete and completely alive I have been made to feel. Tearing myself from the city, the country and the people are already proving a difficult feat.
But thanks a million for giving me in one hundred and seventeen days what I have desired for a lifetime. These last few days were inevitably going to arrive; and as much as I hate seeing them here before me, I will fill each with the joys of time spent in this riveting place. And I will return to America with stories of the past and dreams for the adventures of the future to continue.
Champlain Abroad Dublin, Fall 2015
Writing, Literature & Publishing Major at Emerson College
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