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Oirland and Intrepid Trepidation.

River Thames, London
River Thames, London
the Lochness Monster
the Lochness Monster, Lochness
the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland.
the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland
Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

“A once in a lifetime opportunity”, they say.

“A once in a lifetime opportunity”, I repeat. Over, and over again, on occasion whilst staring at myself in the mirror, in a sort of pep-talk/self-motivation kind of way. A once in a lifetime opportunity.

Truthfully speaking (always best done in retrospect), leading up to that 6am flight, that would take me from Sydney to Heathrow, I had a lot of suppressed emotions. Emotions that I sub-consciously forced down to sub-zero, scared fruitless of what I was about to do, what I had jovially been planning for the past 6 months – what I had gotten myself into. So I fooled myself into an automated sanguine state.

Oh, for sure I was excited, ecstatic even, but there were those moments of doubt and apprehension. Apprehension about crossing the globe for the first time in my 19 years of life, solo. Apprehension of not meeting new people, of not experiencing, and grasping opportunities whilst on the other side of the world, and thus, a once in a lifetime opportunity wasted. But most of all, my most mind plaguing, blood straining, tossing-and-turning-during-the-night apprehension was, homesickness. Fear of falling sick because of the distance between myself and home, in an un-homey city, fully aware that the arms that had held and caught me thus far in my life, could only do so much from the opposite end of the world; and knowing it was somewhat inevitable.

But, now I am here, in Dublin, where I am to call home for the next 4 months, and am already thinking about making it 10, having only officially started my student exchange 2 weeks ago. I’ve been on this side of the world for almost 2 months, and in Dublin for almost half of that – and I’m LOVING it.

In my months of planning, I had deemed it a brilliant idea, with not much forethought except that I had a desire, to make a couple of pit stops on the way to Dublin. Expectantly, however un-hoped for, like a newborn foal, taking their first dubious wobbly steps, the first 48 hours in London were somewhat, trepidatious to say the least. However, I see now, I just needed to reconnect myself with the world, and after a good talk with a local, intrepidness started to seep through the veins. Hence, by the time I reached Dublin, and orientation week had arrived, I wasn’t so very wrought with nerves or anxiety, but was more eager, ready and settled. I guess my brilliant idea paid off.

Travelling, meeting people, fellow travellers (loads of Australians on this side of the world), the locals, and experiencing their country – it’s reassurance that you’re living, breathing, existing in this crazy and wonderful world, and that you’re on the right track – you’re doing just fine.

Tip: as quite a timid, and at times indecisive being, I keep in mind the question – “Will I regret not doing this later?” and if the answer is “Yes”, then I’m decided.

But hey, that’s not to say the pit of homesickness won’t come. But if or when it does, I’ll be well aware that it’s a reversible pit, that I’ll be more than capable of digging myself out.

So yes, technically, you’re here to “study”, but we all know in the hierarchy of student exchange prospects – “study” falls low. Studying abroad, of course in the big picture, is a grand opportunity for one to learn, experience, grow and discover the world and its people, including oneself.

“A once in a lifetime opportunity”, they say.

“A once in a lifetime opportunity”, I repeat, wholeheartedly.

Katrina Lay – 11980808

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