Initially when coming abroad I thought I was the only one that decided to come abroad, not simply because I wanted to travel and have fun, but because I was hoping it would help me discover who I am or at least who I want to be. It wasn’t until reading chapter 2 of Simbach’s Becoming World Wise did I realize that I am not the only one who enters a new world, a world of liminality, to find myself. He states, “The sudden vulnerability we experience as we arrive in an unknown place stripped of familiar surroundings, people, and routines, renders us acutely aware of who we are, or at least who we are not. Except this only truly works if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to open ourselves to the culture and the new world, without pre-conceived notions or comparisons of our homeland. As Simbach states, “If we allow, global learning will not only carry us into the world around us, but also into this world within” (p.54). But in order to acquire global learning, we must question and consider how this new world you have embarked on works: what do they value, how do they function. How they are looking to improve. For-instance in Ireland they value history, knowledge and using and maintaining as much natural resources as they can, which is why their land is filled with preserved ruins and acres upon acres of fields and stonewalls. Coming from America in which our daily routine is filled with unnecessary waste and damage to the land, and then coming to Ireland in which they are extremely dedicated to limiting waste and pollution, was an extreme change for me. Ireland was also extremely international in culture, forcing me to adapt to all types of cultures on a daily basis. Being here in Ireland and living by their culture and values has definitely made me realize that I want to be a more conscientious person in regards to the environment as well as when interacting with people of other cultures.
As I come closer to the end of my stay here, I begin to realize all the little things that I am going to miss about Ireland: how green and lively everything is, how nice the people are, how regardless of where you go you will always either hear music or see dancing, and you will always hear laughter throughout the streets. But the thing I will miss the most is the home that my friends and I have built for ourselves. Simbach states, “that ‘home’ isn’t just a physical space we inhabit but a lifestyle we construct. It’s a cherished set of values, relationships, places, and rituals that we learn to assemble wherever we are” (p.208). I didn’t realize how strong the relationships I built with these people here were until we were all sitting around a dinner table laughing. Before anyone left we all had a “family” dinner like the many we have had before, except this time it was our last. There was a lot of laughter and stories but then it became quiet and sad once we realized that we had to start saying goodbye to each other. In the five months living here, we had all became a family, this had become our home. It wasn’t until saying goodbye did we realize that we will never be coming back to this home again and that we will most-likely never see each other again, or at least all together like a family. It’s crazy how quickly you can grow attached to people and how they imprint themselves onto your heart, when they were complete strangers only a mere few months ago. As sad as it is saying goodbye, I will never take this experience or my relationship with these people for granted and I will always cherish the home I have made with them.