By: Danielle Barnes-Smith
The thing about studying abroad/relationships/life-in-general is that it’s full of disappointment.
They call it “culture shock.” It’s kind of like when someone mashes cauliflower so that the dish looks like mashed potatoes and calls it “nutritious.”
I call it disappointment.
It’s disappointing because through our kitchen window we can see beautiful lights and an old church, but if you look down you see garbage that washed up from some litter hurricane and air conditioner that definitely serves no purpose to humanity anymore.
It’s disappointing because even though tickets to Paris are cheap, cheap can still be expensive when you’re in college and newlywed (who would have known?).
It’s disappointing because a lot of expectations don’t get filled.
When I was accepted to study abroad, I still had several months before the departure date on the plane tickets, so there was plenty of time to romanticize. I imagined I would have been to London, Scotland, and the Stonehenge within the first month. I imagined that the water wouldn’t give me a weird stomach thing (although bad gas is a really good way to tell if your spouse truly loves you). I imagined I would make twenty Irish friends and have drank my share of Guinness.
I have yet to go to London, Scotland, or Stonehenge because time and money is surprisingly short. The water does give me a weird stomach thing. I haven’t made any Irish friends. And buying Guinness all the time is actually quite expensive and fattening.
So it’s full of disappointment. In order to avoid the disappointment, I advise avoiding going abroad at all. It’s much easier.
However, if you still want an incredible experience, don’t stop reading.
Incredible experience? But, Danielle, you just whined a lot and told us way too much about your digestion.
Well that’s the thing about studying abroad/relationships/life-in-
general, the best parts are the parts that we don’t have time to romanticize about.
I have not gone to London, Scotland, or Stonehenge, but I have kissed the Blarney Stone, experienced Fota Wildlife Park, and ventured through Ring of Kerry.
The water does do something weird to my stomach, but it’s worth it for how great the butter and goat cheese is here (I’m not even joking).
I have not made twenty Irish friends, but, if I can be so cheesy, I have made some really great European friends and been more social that I am normally inclined to (I’ve made fun of Germans more often than I am normally inclined it). And I’ve had a few pints of Guinness (it’s good with Blackcurrant syrup).
Studying abroad in Ireland is not what I imagined it would be. School is different (not harder, not easier, different). Sometimes I don’t know what anyone is talking about (what is the meaning of pudding?). But if anything is for sure, anything at all, studying abroad, relationships, life: they are all worth it.