It has only been one week abroad and I am starting to really understand this new city I am in. Cork, Ireland is such a great place to be in and learn about the Irish culture. Mentally I do feel that I have separated from my native culture. Although, at first there were some things that caught me off guard, I am starting to really understand it all. One of the hardest things is that the cars here drive on the opposite side of the road and it can be very confusing when trying to cross the street. I think this is something that will just take time to get used to though. The separation process did go as I expected as I have been through it before and know the feelings of leaving everything behind.
Luckily for me, I travelled to Ireland with six other students from Quinnipiac. This has been really great for me because we have all been able to go through this experience together. We are communitas in every sense of the word. We are learning the city together and experiencing everything abroad for the first time together. It is great to have people to go through this process with and has definitely made us closer as well. There are other people as well that I would consider communitas as well. In our early start classes, we have all Americans that are in the same situations as us. I have made some great friends who are also American and going through all of the same challenges as me. Some who even live in the same area and can really relate to what I am going through. It has made the transition a lot easier.
When leaving the country and place you call home, there will always be some type of challenges. Luckily for me so far I have not had any major challenges that have set me back. I would call them things I just need to get used to. I had to learn their money system, tipping rules and other things like that. Although, in Ireland they speak English, there are many words that I have never heard before that are used frequently. One word that I didn’t know was “queue”. At home we would just say, “Are you waiting in line?”, but here they say use the word “queue”. It is just little things like this that I need to get used to. I like a quote from chapter six in Becoming World Wise that says, “The journey toward a more global sensibility proceeds along a fairly predictable road—one marked by singular joys and open-eyed wonder, but also by cultural incompatibilities and struggles (175)”. I think that this quote shows how a great journey isn’t great without the struggles and hard times.
I think that I have done a great job so far of trying to learn the new culture as best as I can for the short time I have been here. For the most part, learning to call this unknown place “home” will just take time and in the mean time I am just trying to enjoy the unknown land. Exploring and wandering has been one of the greatest times here where we have no end destination, but to just see this new land. It has truly been an amazing week.
I chose this picture because although this city is all new to me, I can still find beauty in it and be open to the new experiences. Even when everything seems different, it is hard to not like a place like this. The beginning of my journey has been great and I can’t wait for even more amazing adventures to come. My actions I am taking are to explore this new unknown land as much as possible with the hopes of learning amazing things about myself and this beautiful world. There is so much to learn and being in this new city is already teaching me so much.