Reflections on DublinDublin, Spring 2012

It's been almost two weeks since I've returned to American soil and I've thought about my study abroad experience every day since. Now that I have had time to really reflect and think back on the semester, I can say it was the greatest three months of my life. It was a transformative experience for me as a student and as a person. At my home school, I'm an Integrated Marketing Communications major. In Dublin, my academic life was a complete departure from what I'm used to, but that was a good thing. I spent my semester immersed in Northern Irish history and Irish literature. I guess you can say it was a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed my classes and although it sounds dorky, learning really was fun. I spent my last few days in Dublin hanging out with friends and enjoying the city as best I could. The lovely IES staff sent us off with a delicious farewell dinner at Odessa. I can't thank the IES Dublin staff enough, as they were so kind and helpful all semester long. As students, we used to sit around and talk about how much we loved them. They were basically perfect. (Hi, if you're reading this Ashley, Megan, Caroline, & Sarah!) Before I had to leave I managed to squeeze in one more authentic Irish day. My friend Diana and I boarded the DART early Thursday morning and headed South to Bray, a coastal town about 30 minutes from Dublin. We planned to go on a hike, but didn't know any of the trails. Well, once we started walking we realized we were on a three mile trail to Greystones, the next town over! It was a beautiful hike with the Wicklow mountains on our right and the Irish Sea on our left! [caption id="attachment_39517" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="At the end of our walk from Bray to Greystones!"][/caption] Friday brought some last minute packing and of course a trip to the pubs! [caption id="attachment_39516" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="On our first day in Dublin in January, we all met at the Barge, a pub near the IES center. So on our last night we revisited where we all met!"][/caption] [caption id="attachment_39515" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="A mix of IGS, Trinity, and DCU students on our last night in Dublin at Messrs."][/caption] A few pints of Guinness, some good music, and the best friends a guy could ask for all added up to the perfect last night in Dublin. The long flight home gave me plenty of time to think about my time abroad and smile because it happened, not be sad because it's over. I look forward to visiting Ireland again some day and flexing my travel muscles every chance I get.  
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