Monday, July 28, 2014

To Ireland with Love

To All Adventurous Spirits,

What do you do when you're a 22-year-old girl and you're getting ready for the biggest adventure of your life? Going to Ireland. Wait, is this really happening? No...yeah, it is!!! I've gotten the calls. My program directors say it's happening, but I still wake up at wee hours of the night in a sweat and have to remind myself that this is really happening. But then, it's not just happening, it's been a ton of work. It's been months and months, more like two years actually, of preparation. And I'm still preparing. I've had to be full-heartedly committed. And all the while, I've known the whole time that my plans can fall completely apart in front of my face. But I keep trudging, I keep preparing. I keep praying about it. If you want anything big to happen, if you want it bad, you will be committed to the end. You will sacrifice other things for it. That's what this is, but it started as a dream. I'm not even sure where it came from, but I think it was somewhere in the music. Somehow when I was young, I saw it in my head, only unlike any normal imagination it didn't go away once I grew up. It began to feel like a destiny, but not in a silly way. The more I became an adult and developed my personality and talents, the more I knew that I would have to expand my horizons. I needed to experience other cultures; I needed to travel outside my own little world. Going to college near the town I grew up in is not enough. In a conversation with a friend recently, I said it this way: "When I look at who I want to become and where I want to go with my career and life, I see that I need to do this."
When I transferred to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2012, I started investigating study abroad opportunities as soon as it was advertised. My first step was investigation and curiosity. I asked lots of questions. I always knew where I wanted to go, but I wanted to know if it was practical and affordable. When I found out that it is both practical and affordable, I started attending information sessions to learn more. I researched things and asked more questions, in fact, I've never stopped asking the questions. There's just so much to know! In time, I took the necessary steps, such as planning a timeline of events. I planned to have and maintain a good GPA. This was required for approval in the first place. Then I got my passport, which felt awesome in a simple way. I applied through the university since I had to have approval from the Dean. I gathered letters of recommendation from faculty. I looked through program catalogs and had to choose a program. I prayed about God's guidance on which program to choose too. Though I knew the program I wanted to go with, I needed to chose a city and university of study as well. Having no idea which was the best choice, I went with my gut feeling, as well as what pertained to my field of study.  The program you go with sets everything up for you between the universities. They take care of the credit agreements, travel and living arrangements, etc. Once I chose a program, I decided to stick with it, and was so thankful to be accepted. Once I was accepted, there were a number of other steps to complete: choosing potential classes at the foreign university, turning in one required document after another, applying for scholarships, and waiting. There is always the waiting. There is more research, and more checklists.
Now, with a large part of the work done, I'm waiting for departure! I've got a ticket with proof of this trip, though I've never flown before. I have a packing checklist to complete, I need to make sure I have all important documents in order. I'm nervous, I'm scared, I'm brave, I'm adventurous, I'm almost ready. Another month in this country, still buzzin' on summertime. There is a saying that goes, " You won't be able to cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." I do feel this. But I shall fill myself with excitement because this is the biggest adventure of my life yet!

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