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Dreaming of Dublin

Paige Roberts

Cows grazing on lush green hill outside of Dublin

Welcome back to another installment of Graduating with Gratitude. I couldn't help but to reminisce a wee bit this week after celebrating a favorite holiday of mine, St. Paddy’s, two weeks ago.

While walking through the Academic Center on campus last week, I noticed a large poster on the side of the staircase advertising study abroad opportunities for the next academic year. Hopefully, things will be in the process of returning to normal conditions globally by the fall but choosing to study abroad may seem scary to some students. Others might be more eager than ever to travel and experience what another part of the world has to offer after hunkering down for months. Whichever category you find yourself in, I believe that living and studying outside of the U.S. is an experience that all students deserve to enjoy.

The poster evoked memories of fall 2019 when I was lucky enough to embark on a full semester study abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland. I decided to go along with my roommate and best friend, Caitlin, after convincing my parents of the value of the trip despite the extra cost, and spent the entire summer serving at The Greene Turtle in BWI airport to fund all the fun I had planned for the fall. I remembered the excitement of finally arriving in Dublin; we were jet-lagged and groggy, but happy to be there. I recalled feelings of joyous freedom, boisterous bouts of laughter shared with new friends and the magnificent scenes and landscapes at which we marveled.

Inishmore Cliffs in Galway, IrelandBy working with credible organizations like AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study), the Mount has made studying abroad simple and affordable. Students have the option of choosing a homestay or apartment living arrangement for most programs. Although I chose the apartment option, living with a family in a foreign place is undoubtedly the most authentic way to immerse yourself in the culture of the destination. I was admittedly a little jealous when the homestay students would brag about their family’s homecooked meals like Guinness stew and corned beef and cabbage. 

Whether on the coast, in the city, or cruising through the winding roads of the countryside, Ireland is a magical place to visit and learn. I felt like my eyes were deceiving me while standing on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher, overlooking a 700 foot drop where the waves crashed against the jagged rocks below. The Dublin bar scene was irresistibly fun and lively with live music every night and happily tipsy tourists singing with locals in the streets. Salty sea air whipped against our windbreakers along the breezy coast of Dún Laoghaire, a coastal destination that we reached by train. The rich green of the Irish countryside, often dotted with cattle or horses, felt like a scene from a dream.

Dun Laoghaire East Pier It’s awesome that the Mount provides such a variety of study abroad trips, including semester-long programs like Prague, Florence and Cuenca and week-long trips to destinations including Berlin, Rome and London. Our small student population allows for these trips to be executed safely and efficiently to create the most enriching experience possible while overseas.

One of the best components of my study abroad experience was the simple pleasure of forming incredible friendships with other Mount students. We probably wouldn’t have crossed paths otherwise, and knowing that we shared such a unique time of our college lives with each other is something I’ll treasure for years to come. Who knows, maybe we can all reunite in a Dublin pub and recount our memories over a pint of Guinness in 20 years.

Thanks for checking out my post this week! If you’re a student thinking about studying abroad, I couldn't recommend it more. You won’t regret it, and Emmitsburg and your friends will be here when you get back. If not now, then when?

Make sure to take a look at the MSMU Travel Blog, where students in past years were able to document their memorable experiences. There's a lot of cool stories, photos and tips that are worth checking out if you can see yourself taking the leap to study abroad. 

Enjoy the rest of your week! Go Mount!

Paige Roberts