A Summer Across the Sea


Molly Murphy, News and Features Editor

     It was raining when the plane landed.

     I had always heard that Ireland was a rainy country, but it wasn’t until I lived there for two months that I realized just how rainy it could be. After a sleepless plane ride, a bumpy taxi ride to my new apartment, and a quick tour of the place I would call home, I was ready to pass out for a good 24 hours. But if there was one thing I learned while studying abroad, it was that you don’t want to waste a single moment of it.

     Over the summer of 2019, I spent June and July living and learning in Dublin, Ireland. Since I’m a double major with a lot of extracurriculars and an honors thesis to write, I wasn’t able to make time for a full semester abroad. However, spending the summer abroad ended up being the perfect compromise for me.

     While in Ireland, I took two classes, studying the literature, culture, and history of the country, but I think the best learning I received was outside the classroom. Dublin is a small city, but it’s bursting with life and history. The ability to see the historical sites I spent so much time learning about was indescribable. I also had the opportunity to travel across the beautiful countryside to coastal towns, stunning cliffsides, and ice-cold Northern beaches. I even got the chance to jump into a bog. (For the record, it feels like jumping into a giant mud bath. One of the weirdest and coolest things I’ve ever done!!)

     It rains almost every day in Dublin, so I quickly learned that an umbrella would be a necessity. There’s nothing quite like being caught in the rain two miles from your apartment.

     Other than learning facts and attempting to decipher James Joyce’s Ulysses, I learned a lot about myself as well. Once my parents dropped me off for my flight, I was completely on my own. Navigating a foreign country, even an English speaking one like Ireland, had its challenges. A lot of mannerisms I never even realized I had instantly marked me as a confused American. I had American roommates and luckily, we had each other to help figure out the European tipping system.

     My trip abroad really pushed me to understand my place in the world. My Irish friends were always excited to talk about politics and I had to do a lot of explaining when it came to how our American systems work. Rather than letting this push me away from Irish people, it became a great chance for us to see how alike we were. Talking to people so different from myself forged connections I hope will last a lifetime.

     By the time my trip was coming to a close, I was more comfortable in Dublin than I am even in Syracuse. I could walk the cobblestone streets with my eyes closed, tell you where to get the best fish and chips in the city, and some of the finer details of a game of hurling. Without even realizing it as it happened, Dublin had become my home. From the rainclouds to the tourist trap bars to the buildings where revolutions were forged, this tiny city stole my heart. I feel like I left my heart in Dublin, but I know pieces of it came home with me.

     If you’re looking to study abroad, but you aren’t sure how to fit it into your busy schedule, look into a summer trip instead. I won’t lie; it is a more expensive option. However, the chance to see the world and get to know another country and culture so well is a once in a lifetime experience. It’s one I’m incredibly grateful I had the opportunity to have.

     Now more than ever, it’s critical that we all make an effort to be active members of our global community. If you can, take the chance. Take the trip. Get on a plane and don’t waste a single second of your time. You’ll never regret seeing just how much beauty, joy, and love our incredible planet has to offer. You never know what you’ll learn about other people, or about yourself.

      You can visit the office of Inclusive Excellence and Global Education for more information on how to start your adventure today!