I’m so sad that this experience has come to an end. I have met some many people and learned so much throughout my experience. Studying abroad really helped me to grow as a person. Learning to adapt to changes and differences between cultures teaches you what’s important and what’s not. You take little things for granite when things are easy, but it makes you appreciate them when your environment changes. I also learned how to communicate more easily with people from different cultures. I didn’t really expect to have trouble with communicating since I studied and traveled to English speaking countries, however the combination of accents and differences in vocabulary can really be more challenging than you expect. It’s hard for them to understand you and it’s hard for you to understand them and it’s easy to get frustrated, but learning to communicate with others who are different than you benefits you in so many ways. Being able to work at Cregg House allowed me to experience a different aspect of the Irish culture. Most tourists do not get a chance to experience this aspect of a country’s culture, but it allowed me to develop a better understanding of the Irish culture and broadened my perspective of employment and health care. The Irish have a good balance of work with other aspects of their lives, and foster a less stressful work environment than we have in the United States. I really appreciated that aspect of Cregg House; everyone was appreciated and all the employees looked out for each other. This is one of the many lessons I hope to remember when I’m back home.
The people I met during my time abroad and the connections I had with them was the greatest benefit of my experience. The employees at Cregg House, the service users I worked with, the taxi and bus drivers, the locals at the pubs, and my friends and professors that I shared this experience with were what shaped my trip abroad and the lessons I learned during my time here. To future travelers and study abroad students my advice would be to engage with the locals and ask them about their culture. Nothing can teach you about a culture and enhance your experience more than the people you talk to and the stories they share with you. If given the opportunity to study abroad again I would take it in a heartbeat, there are so many other places that I want to travel to and explore that it would be hard to decide where to go next!