Oh my gosh a whole month studying in Ireland down! Time flies, as they say. My day to day interactions and schedule already feel normal. My initial awkwardness and anxiety have all but disappeared, and I fall a little more in love with Ireland with each passing day. I’ve been trying a lot of new things. Zumba, going to the gym, Irish stew, taking public transportation, spending a day in a city with only my friends – all these new things are coming together to create unforgettable experiences.
Zumba was during school Wednesday, because apparently it was active week! I wasn’t really sure what to expect having never done Zumba, but it was actually pretty fun. Although I felt a bit silly doing it! A lot of my friends who are also here studying abroad really like the gym, and go there multiple times per week. I am not such a fan, so I’m looking for some other sort of thing to keep me active.
As for taking public transportation and spending a day in a city, that was amazing! Four other foreign students and I decided to take the bus to Killarney for the day. It was incredibly fun because the city is beautiful, and it was nice to be a traditional tourist for a day! And Irish stew – well, it’s delicious.
But, it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows. Homesickness and culture shock are something I deal with regularly. Culture shock is put into five main stages – the honeymoon stage, irritability and hostility, gradual adjustment, adaption of biculturalism, and re-entry shock. But going through culture shock isn’t like getting older, where you can say now I’m in this stage or that stage. All the stages blend together, you can experience different stages in the same week or even the same day. You might have a good morning, but an awful afternoon and then your evening is wonderful.
Frustration is a feeling that occurs at random and with random things. I get frustrated with the way my school works, my schedule, the work load. Even though I know that, for the most part, these things aren’t that different from what I’d be doing in Indiana, I still get annoyed. No matter how much you tell yourself your reaction is irrational, it’s hard to find other ways of thinking. But, most days, I am able to find the bright side and remember how amazing and incredible it is for me to be here and that I need to make the most of it.
That about wraps it up! I feel like I’m adjusting well and I am having a great time here. This week is packed full, with school throughout the week and then going to the cliffs of Moher on Saturday! Goodbye!
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.