By University of Limerick student Krista Nelsen from the USA
At a young age, I was introduced to travelling. My family and I would take trips to Canada and all over the U.S. When I was 10, I had a wonderful opportunity to travel to Italy and Greece through People to People. And that was it; I was hooked. I knew I had to travel more. So in high school, I worked hard and saved up for a trip to Spain as well as trips to Massachusetts and Florida. I couldn’t get enough.
When I found out I could study abroad in college, I knew I had to do it. Now here I am, in Ireland where everything is green. Luckily, I have already been able to see a few parts of Ireland. The second day I was here, I took a bus into the city with a big group of other international students. I did not know most of them, which was a little scary, but I’ve learned that it’s when you immerse yourself into uncomfortable situations, you make the most memorable moments and the best of friends. Which is exactly what I did. I made new friends from Germany, France, and all over the States. We all made unforgettable memories too.
When we got into the city, our intentions were to go shopping. Instead, we ended up exploring King John’s Castle. Being the castle lover that I am, I was thrilled. I was able to walk back in time and learn the history of a simple castle that is still intact today. Climbing up the steps to the tower of the castle made me feel like a princess, but it was what I felt standing at the top of the tower that made me feel so alive.
Standing on the highest point of the castle, overlooking Limerick and all it’s beauty was a feeling like no other. As the wind hit my face, I felt prickles of joy run through my bones. It was so refreshing and exhilarating to know I am in a completely different country, culture, and life. The rush I get while travelling is what keeps me coming back for more.
On Sunday, I was able to get this same feeling, but at an even higher energy when I went to see the Cliffs of Moher. The landscape was literally breathtaking. When I stood over the cliffs and felt droplets of salt water from the wind carrying it over from the waves, it was a feeling like no other. I felt invincible and knew this was exactly where I was meant to be. And in that moment, I fell in love with Ireland.
I have been in Ireland for over a week now and I’ve felt every emotion possible. When I arrived in Limerick, I was ecstatic, happy, and a bit sleepy. As I was able to see the city more and explore it’s gems I felt giddy, curious, and adventurous. But most recently, I have been feeling a lot of confusion and anxiety.
It could just be the culture shock, the stress of trying to figure out my timetable for my modules, starting new classes in a different country, or just everything that seems to be going wrong lately. But at the end of the day I go back to that feeling I had at the top of the tower and the edge of the cliffs and remember that feeling. I think about why I wanted to do this so badly and then I relax. I think about all the different things the Irish do compared to the Americans and smile because I’m getting exactly what I wanted.