Over spring break, Spencer and I planned our trip to three different cities in Europe in three different countries: Amsterdam, London, and Dublin. Little did I know how eye-opening this experience would affect my life. It made me become independent, see famous landmarks, gain a new perspective, and immerse myself in varying cultures.
Spencer and I traveled with other girls from Joseph S. Bruno to Amsterdam. We went on a river boat tour, walked through Anne Frank’s house, and spent time in the Van Gogh Museum. Amsterdam’s transportation system was a little difficult for us to understand as we clearly could not speak Dutch, but it was a learning experience, where we really had to pay attention to our surroundings and try to read a map we could not interpret. I really loved the urban design of the city, with the copious number of canals and bike lanes. Everyone rides bikes there. It was unlike any other city I have visited.
Next on the list was London, where we would meet up with other friends from Auburn. For some of them it was their first time out of the country, which really threw Spencer and me off. The way they travel and wanted to see the city was very different than our expectations. By this time, both of us had traveled to many other countries, playing it step-by-step. This presented a few challenges to Spencer and me, which frustrated us, but it also made us realize how independent we had become. We knew how to figure things out, how to ask for directions and most importantly, how to have patience. Some highlights from the trip were seeing the landmarks like Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, going on the London Eye, seeing Princess Diana’s dresses, and, of course, seeing the Queen of England leaving Buckingham Palace. We had the perfect weather and it was truly an amazing three days spent in London, but the week was not over!
Finally, we flew to Ireland, a country I have had on my bucket list for quite some time. On Thursday, the group from London plus a few from JSB traveled across Ireland by a guided bus tour from Dublin to the Moher Cliffs. We stopped along the way in Galway, a cute little town that truly exhibited the Irish spirit. Once we reached the Moher Cliffs, we had the most beautiful weather, which is very rare for Ireland. The Cliffs of Moher was one of the prettiest landscapes I had ever seen. The ocean, sky, and grass were so vibrant. The next day was St. Patrick’s Day. What better way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day than in Dublin? It was so great to celebrate with friends, old and new. Even though it was raining, the city was still in full force with the parade and costumes. It has become one of my favorite holidays. I’d say the Irish are my favorite people to hang out with and get to know. They’re always so nice and fun to be around.
This week really made me realize how grown up I’ve become and how thankful I am to be studying abroad. Traveling has taught me how to grow up and made me learn more about myself—strengths, weaknesses, and even personality. Seeing the varying cultures and landscapes has made me realize how amazing this world, with its varying countries, is and expands my horizons of perspective. I’ve loved every minute of being abroad and can’t believe I am already 2/3 of the way through. The memories I am making on this trip won’t compare to anything else and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to be here.