From 3,745 miles away
By Kelsey Lansing and Rose Gottschalk
Previous executives of The Lorian, juniors Kelsey Lansing and Rose Gottschalk, are currently studying abroad in Ireland. Throughout this semester, they will be sharing their journey to give people back home a sneak peek into what it’s like to go to school in a different country.
From over 3,745 miles away from home the perspectives on life and the world can be a little bit different. This semester the study abroad program in Ireland started something new, ending the program that allowed Loras students to live in their own apartments. Partnered with Learn International, we, along with the other Loras students, were placed in a home-stay program to live with host families. Although it was not quite what we were expecting, the differences were eye opening, yet rewarding, and offered a unique perspective on Irish life.
When we were first contemplating study abroad, we knew we wanted to go to Ireland, but we didn’t know if we would like the changes made in the program. There were many questions between the two of us, which lead to many discussions with Abbie Berhens from the CEL office on campus. As the semester progressed and meetings were held we ultimately realized that the home-stays would offer us a unique experience. We had the chance to live with an Irish family and constantly have the support of people who were local. After being here a little over a month and a half, the time spent with our host family has already been incredibly valuable, with ups and downs of its own.
With only one of us having the experience of flying, there were plenty of nerves on departure day, as we were to fly to our new home for the next four months. Apart from the fears of flying, we would be leaving our friends, families, homes, and of course, dogs behind. Our loved ones escorted us to the airport to surround us with support before we took a giant leap across the pond. In just six short hours, before we knew it we were landing on the Emerald Isle ready to take on what’s next.
Study abroad programs are often something people view as a romanticized idea that students use to take a break from school. With traveling all over, experiencing new cultures, slacking off, the stereotypes of study abroad start to sound like an everlasting vacation. Rather than being viewed as a privilege, it is being viewed as an escape for the privileged. We disagree.
Currently, apart from the two of us, there are seven other students in Dublin who are tackling internships, two classes with our very own Dr. Kanyusik, and a class through the college in Ireland, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design + Technology (IADT). Fun fact, Dun Laoghaire is pronounced like Done Leery, which is one way the Gaelic language has thrown us for a loop. Some of these things are something that we could prepare for prior to arriving in Ireland, however, when it comes to the class through IADT things are a bit different. This class is taught in a different approach, which was difficult to get used to. At IADT the class is taught in two different sections: seminar and lecture. The professor and the school divide this up to allow the best immersive experience into the topic. Each of these elements has contributed to some of the anxiety of studying abroad.
Every step of the way, this journey has tested our strengths and weaknesses, providing plenty of anxiety and stress. A new school, new professors, new job, new home, new city, new, new, new. It can and will be a lot. Take all of that and then pile homesickness and culture shock on top of it and it can get to be overwhelming. With that being said, one of the biggest things to have when studying abroad is a support system that cares and understands about what you are going through. Between the two of us, we have had our fair share of Debbie Downer days. However, with the support of each other, people from home, and all of the lovely people guiding us along our way, our study abroad experience has been an amazing learning curve so far.
With every new experience, fears need to be faced to make the best out of the situation. Over the course of the semester, we will be sharing our experiences and how anyone can overcome the speed bumps of study abroad or any new experience.
Kelsey ‘n Rose