Time goes on, and living and studying in Ireland still continues to amaze me. In the last two weeks, I’ve gone to the Cliffs of Moher, Newgrange, and the city of Cork. I was given the opportunity to go to the Cliffs of Moher with a group of other exchange students in same program. It was absolutely breathtaking.
I’m trying and failing to find words that appropriately describe the Cliffs. We got a beautiful day to see the cliffs – blue sea and blue sky. Getting to see the cliffs was one of the many things that reminded me once again of what an incredible opportunity I have, to spend a year in Ireland and be able to see things like this. I was reminded again when I went on a school trip to Newgrange.
For those who don’t know, Newgrange was a structure built in the stone age. It is an astonishing thing for anyone to see, but for a history nerd (like myself) it was beyond great.
Cork was great fun. Cork is the first real “city” I’ve been too in Ireland, and I was far from disappointed. It was a lovely city, with lots of neat stores and shops. It also contained the first really “touristy” shop I’ve seen. I was thrilled to see the tourist shop, and got my family back home plenty of touristy trinkets and whatnot.
All in all, a busy two weeks! But, I had a lot of fun. These past two weeks, I’ve continued to struggle with culture shock and homesickness. I won’t say it’s getting better, but I am certainly learning and working to see the bright-side of everything and stay positive. I’ve found a good way to get through particularly rough moments is to set small goals for myself. I started doing this when I first arrived in Ireland.
The first few days were not easy, as everything was new and overwhelming. It was also difficult because it felt like I suddenly completely comprehended what I was doing. And it was kind of scary. So I told myself to work for three months – and if I could work to make this a good experience for three months I knew I would be able to do it for nine.
This goal is at the back of mind whenever I hit a rough patch. Sometimes even three months seems like too long, and so I set a smaller goal – like the end of the week or even just the end of the day. Accomplishing this little, seemingly insignificant goal makes a huge difference to me. It’s a reminder that I can do anything; I just have to take it one day at a time. This whole experience is teaching me to focus on the now, and I am so thankful for that.
Kayla Trowbridge is 16 years old and lives in Zionsville, Indiana. Her goal during her study abroad program is to “create relationships that will continue throughout my life and develop a new understanding of the Irish culture.” Follow Kayla’s adventure in Ireland on her blog post updates throughout her program.