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Journals from 2008 Semester Abroad in Galway, Ireland

2008-04-01 Visitors?

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Schloss Neuschwanstein - AKA the Cinderella Castle.

Easter break has just come to an end. Having two weeks off was amazing. However, it is much harder to get back into the groove of school after two weeks. Like I stated before, I had a friend come over and we traveled a bit in Ireland and Germany. In Ireland we spent some time in Galway, Waterford, Tramore and Dublin. In Germany we visited Berlin, Munich, Dsseldorf and Frankfurt. Prior to the trip I found myself questioning our trip plans, wondering if we should have tried to see more than two countries. After the trip was completed, I was so thankful that we had stuck to two countries because we actually had a chance to get a feel for the culture of each country. I feel as though we would not have been able to accomplish this if we had spent only one or two days in a country; granted there is still much more to see and learn after five days in each. Prior to our semester abroad I had talked to several people about whether it is a positive experience or not to have a friend or family member come and visit. I heard comments from both sides " yes it is wonderful, no it is damaging to your experience abroad. I did not know what to think because I could understand both sides of the argument. However, during the summer of 2007 my friend decided she was going to come out and visit me. I was thrilled. We talked about traveling throughout summer, fall and winter. However, we did not start planning our trip until spring semester. It was stressful because I had never planned such a large trip before. There are so many things to consider: flights; accommodations; transportation to and from the airport, from airport or train station to accommodations, from city to city, within the cities; food; and so on. Anyway, Easter break was a perfect time for her to come because it was about halfway through the semester. This meant that I was established in Galway, had some experience with traveling and was not homesick. When she arrived at the train station, I was ecstatic to see a familiar face. However, it was a bit hard at the end of the trip when we had to go in separate directions. If someone were to ask my opinion on having someone visit I would say it depends on the person. I have been really fortunate. I have adjusted well and have yet to become homesick. However, I have had my moments where I have gotten extremely frustrated and have thought about how nice it would be to be at home. But who hasnt? Anyway, I would recommend having someone visit if one knew that he or she could adjust well to another culture. This is key because if one is struggling with being away from home, it is going to be extremely difficult to have a friend or family member arrive and then depart. It could potentially have an impact on the remaining months of the semester abroad. Well, that is it for now! Cheers! Victoria H.

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