A new adventure
Posted by Andy Steves in on September 16, 2013.
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
I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there’s so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014
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