Pre-Departure


As is every decision I’ve made in my life, the decision to travel to Ireland was made on a whim. I had just gotten home from a one-night stand and the uncomfortable reality of living in the same place for the last year had sat it. I was itching to move and experience something else unknown. I Google searched “Countries that speak English and drinking age is under twenty-one” The first result was Ireland and within two weeks, I had picked a program, submitted my paperwork, and had been accepted.

Over the last year I’ve been immensely in tune to the unhealthy characteristics I posses. The one that has been the most damaging is my racism. I grew up with my Grandma saying things like, “those damn Mexicans” and my father saying “Should I hit them cause they’re brown”? It wasn’t until now that I realized how detrimental it was for me to hear those words. I’ve began to notice that my jokes have became more and more racist, and though I label them as, “jokes” there is a degree of truth behind every racist word I speak.

I recently came across a quote by Wade Davis, which has begun to influence my change in thought process. Davis says, “The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you; they are unique manifestations of the human spirit.” In this quote, he’s essentially saying that just because other cultures are different from our own, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong. This quote has been influential, as I try to accept and embrace other races and cultures.

The biggest barrier that I aim to achieve while studying in Ireland is becoming more accepting of other cultures. I desperately want to lay my ideologies to rest about other cultures being “wrong” and instead, accept them in all of their beauty. I’m hoping that my traveling to Ireland can be a stepping-stone in my journey to accept other cultures.

There will be a lot of barriers that I face while traveling abroad. I like my solitude, I rely heavily on other people helping me, I get annoyed quickly in the behaviors of others, I’m uptight about everything, I make inappropriate comments, and social interaction gives me anxiety {though luckily I can drink in Ireland to aid in that}. All of these behaviors/luxuries that I enjoy are going to be ripped away from me while traveling over seas. I will be emerged in other people and other culture, the only person I will have to rely on for help is myself, I will be living in a house with at least four roommates, and I will not be able to avoid social interaction. If I want to make my living situation peaceful, I will also need to learn not be so uptight.

Traveling to Ireland is going to be scary and I’m going to face a multitude of barriers. But my hope in traveling is that I can lay be ideologies and uptight behaviors to rest, and can instead learn to be more accepting of other cultures, and a more fun person to be around.

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