A new adventure

A few months ago, I never thought I would leave Virginia. I was at the Women’s basketball NCAA Final Four for a conference and a head coach asked me “Could you work in California?” I replied immediately “No,” but she told me about the limits I would set myself to if I didn’t venture out. Another professional colleague told me that my family, friends, and all those individuals who truly support me whole-heartedly would understand any decision I made in regards to bettering myself. Was I nervous? Yes. Did I get cold feet? Yes. Did I cry? No, but my mom did. I like to think they were tears of joy and of course my family will miss me, but we all know that this opportunity is priceless. Also, for someone like me who comes from the “middle class,” it’s once in a lifetime because I received a full scholarship to study abroad. There is no way my family could have afforded it otherwise so I feel blessed.

My flights were crazy because not only were they delayed, but also I didn’t know I had to go through security again to fly internationally because it was my firs time! I decided to just jump in line with the first class people. I also packed so much stuff, all of which has come in handy; but I’m still finding ways to spend money. I keep telling myself, “Oh come on Marian, you’re in Ireland,” as the funds in my bank account slowly decrease. (Save all the money you can!) The adjustments have been pretty easy. Of course people will tell you “don’t drink the water..and don’t eat that.” Let’s just say I’ve drank the water, tried new foods and I’m still managing to write this blog so all is good. All of the group work and massive reading will take some getting used to at the postgrad level. Also, the weather is up and down, but it’s the kind of rain you don’t mind walking in.

All in all, I miss home sometimes, but Viber, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Tango, and Instagram have been lifesavers. I talk to my family twice a day and we are all in a chat on GroupMe. It will also help to get an additional cell phone. Personally, I wanted to keep my number, so having another cellphone that I can just add minutes to is better for me. From a cultural standpoint, I already put vinegar on my chips (fries) and coleslaw on my sandwich, so adjustments will happen effortlessly. I mean come on we are abroad, so be open-minded. If you don’t feel homesick at some point, then great! I like to think that it’s normal and perfectly fine. I have a 9-year-old sister at home who probably doesn’t miss me nearly as I much as I miss her. People will continue to live their lives, so while I’m abroad I’m going to continue to live mine and break the cultural barriers by embracing traveling and meeting new people. 

-- Marian Brooks, WSA Intern Fall 2013, University of Limerick, Ireland


Mallory Dirks, Simpson College

Happy Backpackers

I chose to do this rather than book my own trip in Rome - I wanted to experience one organized/sight-seeing trip rather than a relaxing vacation like many of my others had been. Two friends and I signed up for WSA Rome and don't regret a thing. We met wonderful people, were led by an awesome tour guide Rhianne, and got to see everything I wanted to see in Rome. Plus eat all the best food. There is an optional dinner on the last night that we didn't do right away, but we ended up going to it, and it was SO worth the 20 euro. I made memories and friends, and got to see a beautiful, historic city thanks to WSA!!

Mallory Dirks, Simpson College ~ University of Roehampton, London, Fall 2015

Read more Reviews

Spots are limited!

We keep our groups small, so save your spot now! Check out our Tripadvisor, App Store & Facebook travel love below.

Multi-City Adventures:

Andy Steves' Europe

Check out Andy Steves' Europe: City Hopping on a Budget!

Pick a city and go! All new budget guidebook from Andy Steves, Founder and Chief Backpacker of WSA.