As I prepare to leave for Ireland, I am a mess of nervous, excited anticipation. Mostly, I don’t know what to expect. Stories and pictures and movies and poems can give me some points of reference, but ultimately this trip is a leap into the unknown.
And for that reason, I expect to be challenged in the best possible way.
I expect to be wrenched from my comfort zone. But I also expect that that discomfort will be well worth it. It doesn’t feel real yet, and probably won’t until we arrive. For now, I can only begin to imagine what it will be like. With mixed emotions, I will enter into it and take advantage of every moment. While I expect it to be a challenge, I also expect that I will grow and learn so much from it. I hope to let go of my fear of the unknown and make the most of this experience.
This trip reminds me of the themes in Patrick Kavanagh’s poem “Epic,” because while I am just a student on a study-abroad trip, I feel that I’m making connections with something much larger than myself. Coming from a very Irish family, my ancestral heritage is constantly in the back of my mind as I anticipate arriving in Ireland. This trip is a chance for me to go back to where my ancestors came from, which I think has sort of “epic” implications in itself. Also, visiting a place with such a long history (much different from the relatively short history of my own country) has something epic about it.