Sep 15 2016

Travel is always an option

Published by at 4:38 pm under Uncategorized

Fear is probably the number one factor that prevents people from traveling. The fear of a foreign language. The fear of cultural differences. The fear of getting lost or hurt. The fear of going alone. The fear of not knowing.

When I was considering studying abroad, I faced all of those fears. I was nervous. I have never traveled outside the country (a little in the U.S.), but my dream was to venture my way outside, in particular, to Ireland. When I saw that my school was offering a study abroad trip to Ireland, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity! For as long as I could remember, I have always had this strong connection with Ireland and the culture, food, and people. Plus, my father’s whole side of the family is  either England, Scotland, or Ireland, with most from Ireland. This way, I will be able to see where my ancestors came from, what they did, and the things they have seen.

Now, I knew I needed to be a big girl and overcome my fears. All of them. I applied for the class. Next thing I knew, it was five months later and I was on a plane to Ireland. This was a big step for me. I usually never go places alone, let alone to another country.

I stayed in Ireland and Northern Ireland for just under a month. Let me tell you, it was the most magical time of my life. I went to places I had only ever dreamed of. I was taught slang by Irishmen in pubs. I ate absolutely the most amazing food ever. The whole trip was unbelievable! We started in Dublin, Ireland, and worked our way around counterclockwise. We visited Belfast, Derry, Sligo, Galway, the Aran Islands, and Cork among some other tiny towns.

This is me kissing the Blarney Stone in Blarney, Ireland.

This is me kissing the Blarney Stone in Blarney, Ireland.

The biggest fear I had was not knowing anyone, but by the end of the trip, I made so many terrific friends. The study abroad program I went through was called a travel-study. Basically, a travel-study is where you take a class that has a trip connected to it. You participate in a class that will teach you something related to where you’re going and at the end of the semester, you will go to that place. For example, my class was a communications class discussing cross culture communication. We talked about the advantages and disadvantages when trying to communicate cross-culturally and we gave speeches on certain popular culture activities, foods, books, legends, etc. There will be more, obviously, but it was fun and interesting to learn about a culture you do not know much about. To make a long story short, I went into this class knowing no one, scared I would not make any friends, to coming out with 20 plus new friends. Most of the people on my trip I still keep in touch with or spend time with. Even though we only spent a month together abroad, the people on my trip easily became some of my closest friends ever.

Here are some of my friends at Dunluce Castle, in Bushmills, Northern Ireland.

Here are some of my friends at Dunluce Castle, in Bushmills, Northern Ireland.

My other fear was not knowing. I was not sure where I was all the time because of being in a foreign land with a foreign language all around. I am not going to lie, I felt lost a few times. But luckily, with a travel-study, you are never alone. There is always someone there for you, whether a professor or classmate. Sometimes, I was not sure wheat we were doing that day or where we were going. I am so use to structure and scheduling that when it came to this trip there was a lot of improvising. We would have made plans but for some reason they would fall through, maybe because of traffic, time, or other conflicts. By being on this trip, I learned that somethings you need to not know. You need to just wonder and come up with something new and go with the flow. I am usually never like that, but I learned that sometimes you have to go off the path. I did end up learning a lot about myself, who I am, and what I want out of life.

This trip was the perfect stepping stone. If you are afraid, and it is totally okay to be, try taking a travel-study. Most travel-studies are about three weeks long. If you can handle that, you should be able to handle a semester abroad! That’s what I did. Even if you have the slightest inkling, do it! Overcome your fears because this is the most gratifying and rewarding thing you can ever do.

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply