Pubs and Hipsters: Ireland

By Brittany Tedesco

The first time I ever left America was my Freshman year at Arcadia University.  One of the reasons Arcadia is ranked the number one school for study abroad is due to its Spring Preview experience.  Freshmen and transfer students all have the chance to apply for this week long excursion that takes place during spring break for a very small yet all-inclusive fee, as long as they take a two-credit course during the spring semester based on the country they are traveling to.  I can still distinctly remember sitting in my dorm with my group of new best friends (who I now consider family) and discussing the places we wanted to see.  We were allowed to pick our top 3 choices and write a paragraph on why we wanted to go there, and in a few weeks we would find out where we were going.  We didn’t all pick the same choices, but a few of us picked Ireland as our top choice, and lucky for Alyssa, Matt, and I— we all got it!

I remember being so nervous about the flight because I hadn’t been on a plane since I was four years old, and I had only gone to Florida.  Now I was about to travel to another country for the first time, and when we got our seats, I was nowhere near my two best friends who both got to sit next to each other.  Luckily, I was next to a few of our Professors/Advisors and as soon as we were in the air and it was safe to take our seatbelt off, Alyssa found me to make sure I was doing alright, and I was! I left my nerves on the ground and was entirely full of excitement.

Day 1.

When we arrived in Dublin, the jet lag hit us hard.  The first thing we did was get lunch as a class with our advisors at Gallagher’s Boxty House, and we could barely keep our eyes open (just our mouths) through our meal.  I had some delicious seafood chowder and a veggie enchilada, and cheesecake for dessert.  But even more importantly, I had my first legal drink.  What better way to celebrate being in Ireland than with a Murphy’s Irish Stout.

After lunch, we stopped at the ATM to take out euros and went off to explore the city of Dublin! Alyssa and I got our first tattoos together.  This was becoming a great experience of firsts.  First time out of the country, first legal beer, and first tattoo! Ireland10And it was only the first day.

We spent the rest of the day exploring and shopping, and stopped at Messers McGuire Pub to watch the Ireland vs. Scotland rugby game.  For dinner we ate cheap American food (Papa Johns) for dinner so we could spend our money on more important things like beer, obviously.  Plus it was nice to see familiar places in an unfamiliar place.

Day 2.ireland2

The next morning we had breakfast and our hostel, then Alyssa and I went to a cafe with our hostel roommates.  I ordered a caramel macchiato and it was not at all what I was expecting.  It was so small! All the portion sizes seemed smaller here.  The tables and stuff too. I guess it’s made for leprechauns or something. 

We went to Trinity College later that day with our class to learn and discuss the Irish history and stereotypes more.  We learned some of the lingo like “fags” for cigarettes and “slag” for someone who is a little “loose”. Slag was probably our most used word of the week. 

That night we went to Bachelor’s, a bar next to our hostel, where we got bracelets for half off our food. Ireland3For a total of €5, I got a toasted tomato and cheese sandwich with mashed potatoes for dinner.  This ended up becoming our signature spot.  We did some souvenir shopping that night and then headed back to Bachelor’s to spend our money on the more important things I mentioned earlier.  I got a Heineken, and then discovered my new favorite drink— Bulmer’s Irish Cider.  (Was disappointed to find out they don’t sell Bulmer’s in America, but then found out it’s the same as Magner’s so all is well again.)  The bar played a Bon Jovi song and Matt and I high-fived because we’re both from Jersey just like John Bon Jovi and I guess it was just exciting to hear him in another country and all be from the same place. We were also probably just a little tipsy…

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Later that night I went to a pharmacy to ask for a pack of fags, but the cashier just gave me an irritated look and said “You mean cigarettes? We don’t sell those here.”  I left a little embarrassed and didn’t bother asking for fags anywhere else.  We decided to find some of our friends at Doyle’s Pub, but we got lost even though it ended up being a block away from our hostel.  Alyssa, Matt, Brandon (who became one of our close friends during the trip), and I started singing the Beatles and we magically found Doyle’s.  I drank a Smithwicks and a shot of Malibu.  On our journey back to the hostel we met some Irish kid who played Hurling and we all got delicious ice cream. 

Ireland5Day 3.

Woke up and had breakfast at the hostel again. Our class then went on a guided walking tour of Dublin.  We got to learn a lot and see the sights.
We had lunch at Luigi Malones, where I had a BBQ Chicken Pizza and a Toblerone cheesecake. I don’t know why I was always ordering cheesecake to be honest but it was delicious. We continued on our tour, and one of my favorite parts was the Writer’s Museum. 

Ireland30When we finished our class tour and got some free time, Matt, Alyssa, Brandon and I all took the Dart (bus) to Howth, a port village outside of Dublin, where we got some beautiful photographs of the bay. We returned to Bachelor’s for dinner again, a toasted cheese sandwich and mashed potatoes again, and the waiter made fun of our usual, saying that must be an American thing.  I had a couple of Bulmer’s and then we headed to O’Sullivans where I had one too many “Baby G” (Baby Guinness) shots.
Coffee liqueur and Ireland7Bailey’s Irish cream is dangerously good.  The bartended joked that he would cut me off unless I could walk in a straight line, so I got my shit together and nailed it.  Another Baby G shot and a Bulmer’s please. 

Day 4. Ireland16

Another hostel breakfast before my favorite day of the whole trip.  We went on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour so we could get on and off this bus pretty much whenever and wherever we wanted.  We went to St. Stephen’s Green  (so pretty), St. Pat’s Cathedral, and the Guinness Factory.
We got a free pint at the end of it but I ended u giving mine to Matt because I discovered dark beer wasn’t really my thing.  We also went to some prison but I don’t remember the name of it.  I was too hungry at this point so I went to the cafe with one of my other classmates while the rest of our group explored the jail’s museum.  I had a quiche with a surprisingly really good side salad, some coleslaw and this delicious apple and celery thing.

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After our bus tour was over I treated my friend Brandon to the leprechaun museum for his birthday.ireland1  I also wanted someone to come with me and no one besides Brandon had even the slightest interest (their loss).  Brandon and I had done a little shopping beforehand and my camera died from taking pictures of all the Euro hipsters so I bought a disposable camera to take photos at the Leprechaun Museum which ended up being really fun.  We basically got the experience of being leprechauns and learned about the history of these mythological creatures.

That night, our class saw ‘Da’ at the Gate Theatre, and we ended our night at the pubs yet again.

Day 5.Ireland21

Today was a long day spent getting on and off a bus with our class.  First we stopped at Bayne Valley.  Then Battle of the Boyne.  Brandon got me a hot chocolate there because it was so cold.  We stopped for lunch at a little place in Trim before going to see Trim Castle which was absolutely stunning.  Then we visited Hill of Tara which was so fun and pretty, and then we headed back to Dublin for another night at our favorite pubs O’Sullivans and Doyle’s where I continued to quench my obsession of Baby G shots and Bulmer’s.  I also added some Bahama Mama’s to the mix tonight.

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Day 6.

Our last full day in Ireland was spent on a long bus ride to Belfast.  Our class had been based on the split between Northern Ireland from the rest of Ireland, so our trip wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to the capital of Northern Ireland.  It began with a lecture at Queens College, followed by a bus tour of Belfast with some fascinating political murals and graffiti.  When we returned to Dublin, we spent our last night shopping and buying more souvenirs, and ended at our two favorite pubs one last time.  After some Bulmer’s, Baby G shots, Woo Woos, Bahama Mamas and White Russians I had somehow run out of all my money— €400 well spent!

Day 7.

We left bright and early for our flight home.  I’ll never forget that post-travel depression when I arrived back home and thought to myself how the grass was literally greener in Ireland.  It was the experience of a lifetime.  I left with crazy memories, new experiences, lifelong friendships, and the ever-so-contagious travel bug.

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Hot Date Becomes Hot Mess

It started on Valentine’s Day.

I know. Cliché as fuck, right?

Most single girls on Valentine’s Day eat their weight in chocolate and binge watch rom-com’s like The Notebook. However, that is not my idea of a good time. So let’s flashback to Valentine’s Day 2013.

I was in London, studying abroad for the semester. At this point I’d been in the city a little over a month. I had made friends and knew my way around the city fairly well. So when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. O’Neill’s. The only way I can describe O’Neill’s is that, at best- it is a shit show. But I had not yet experienced it such as my flat mates had. So my friend Johanna and I, and her friend Lia decided that we were going to make Valentine’s Day our bitch.

Lia had met us at our house in Kilburn Park and greeted us with chocolate and wine. Because really, what is Valentine’s Day without chocolate? We got ready and my flat mates (and Lia) all ventured out for the evening.

The night did not begin at O’Neills. We went to a place called Strawberry Moon first, which was entirely too boring for us. Essentially we were looking to get wasted and hookup with beautiful British men. At this point in the night, we decided to head to O’Neill’s.

I wish I could tell you how much fun I had or how much money my bar tab was but the truth is… I don’t remember. I went from 0 to drunk real quick. I lost Johanna and Lia at one point. I met a British man named Alex who I then started hooking up with. He also paid for all of my drinks and eventually helped me find my friends. I found Johanna upstairs in a corner attached to an Italian man’s face. Lia was dancing with everyone because she is beautiful and everyone wanted to dance with her. We had all found “our guy.” Eventually it was time to go home. Alex came back with me, but Johanna and Lia exchanged numbers with their guys.

Alex left my flat VERY early the next morning, and that next day we laughed and tried to recall drunken memories from the previous night. Now, you may think this is where this story ends. However you are very much wrong.

Not thinking anything of it, Johanna’s guy had texted her later in the week and also found her on Facebook. He wanted nothing more than to see her again. Crazy right? Who would ever expect a hookup at a club abroad to turn into another date? Then again, if you knew Johanna, she IS a beautiful, blonde, bombshell from SoCal. So if I were an Italian man, I’d want to date her too. She wanted to see him again, but also did not want to put herself in a bad situation, after all she hardly knew this guy. So, because I am such a great friend (and because Antonio- her guy- had hot friends) I agreed to go on a date with them. The only requirement was that Antonio had to bring a hot friend for me as well. We made plans to go to a local pub on a Thursday night.

I sat through my dreaded three hour marketing class that Thursday night until 10pm. I quickly got changed at school and then met up with Johanna. We texted Antonio (Johanna’s guy) to try and find them. After some miscommunication, we eventually found them in the tube station. But Antonio didn’t just bring one friend…he brought three. Now again you’re probably thinking “Four beautiful Italian men, how lucky are these girls?” Again, WRONG. Four of them, and two of us. That’s a lot of fucking testosterone. Additionally we went to greet them and quickly discovered the three friends he brought BARELY spoke English!!! All I could think was “What the fuck did I just get myself into…”

We headed to the pub and got drinks. I wish I could say it was smooth sailing from there, but that would be the understatement of the year. It was like trying to communicate with brick walls. We all barely understood each other. I used Google Translator half of the “date” (PS shout out to that pub for having free Wi-Fi so that I could even use Google Translator.) On top of the language barrier we realized we barely had anything in common with them. I also found out one of them had a girlfriend back in Italy. It was just a mess. A hot mess. Literally a hot mess, after all they were easy on the eyes. Eventually we finished our drinks and headed home. We cracked up about how weird the date wbrewskisas the whole way home. Johanna and I must have sounded like little school girls giggling on the bus ride home.

From this date though I did learn a few VERY valuable lessons.

1) You will never fall in love in a bar.
2) You CAN in fact hookup with someone in a bar and be very unaware they barely speak English.
3) When all else fails, there is nothing a good drink can’t fix.

Straddie Trip: Go Pro Style

Check out this awesome video by Anastasia Lukovenko of her weekend excursion to North Stradbroke Island with Arcadia University Australia.

Can’t Help But Brag: Study Abroad Struggles

We live in a society where everyone asks, “What’s new?” or “How are you?” but no one seems to care about the response. We reply with a dull “not much” or “good, how are you?” And then wait for another meaningless answer. We ask these questions to be polite, but how often are people genuinely interested? Especially when your response is a lot more exciting than theirs would be. We are jealous, bitter people– it’s in our human nature. But we ask these questions because it’s common courtesy, and we don’t want to seem rude (even though we are).

The worst case comes when you study abroad because you have so much to share, but to be honest– no one back in the small town of Glenside, Pennsylvania wants to hear anything about your life-changing experiences because while you spent a weekend partying in Amsterdam, your friends went to another shitty house party that probably got busted before midnight. Your constant traveling and experiences in a foreign country will never fail to make everyone sitting back home hate their boring, routine lives. And you.

Some people who study abroad understand this, while others think that everyone is fascinated by their experiences. This doesn’t mean absolutely everyone isn’t interested. I’m sure your mom and dad actually care. But the stories you really want to share are probably the ones best kept from your parents. But how many times can your friends handle listening to you go on and on about your beautiful foreign roommates before they start ignoring your messages. You can’t be mad at them for this. They want to be interested in your life. But while they’re staring at the same four walls of their Oak Summit apartment, you’re out getting a taste of all different parts of the world, and they’re going to get tired of hearing about it.

Even if someone is honestly interested in your trip and wants to hear “all about it” you would never be able to describe it all. Too much has happened. I would never be able to explain in detail all the amazing opportunities I’ve had, the people I have met, and the adventures I’ve taken without wasting hours of someone else’s time. When someone back home asks me, “How’s Australia?” I couldn’t even begin to describe the highs and lows and craziness of everything that has been happening.  Maybe I could tell them about how I spent an entire weekend on North Stradbroke Island learning how to surf and sandboard and kayak, and didn’t have to pay for a single thing (thanks Arcadia!). Or I could mention how last weekend I went to the most beautiful beach in the world, got to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, and found my potential Australian husband (just kidding, maybe). I could tell them about the first time I got to hold a koala and pet a kangaroo. Or explain the difference between a nice Australian accent and a bogan one. But no matter what I tell them, it just sounds like I’m bragging. Instead, maybe I could tell them how I felt really homesick so I stayed in bed all day watching Netflix and eating overpriced Nutella out of the jar. Or that even though I’m in Australia, I still have classes to go to and essays to write and all-nighters filled with red bull WITHOUT vodka.  But how lame doeDSCN0530s that make my entire semester seem?

We can partially blame social media. Most likely everyone has already seen all your pictures on Facebook and read all your tweets and hate you enough as it is. The constant upload of beautiful pictures from weekend excursions and simply everyday life in a foreign country is enough to drive anyone crazy with jealousy. Especially when it’s somewhere they wish they could be. Or somewhere they’ve already been that they wish they could go back to. Or when it is winter in PA, and your friends are dreading leaving their heated apartments, meanwhile I’m posting pictures of the beautiful, sunny beaches around Australia.

But what else are we supposed to do? We have to share our experiences with someone. And we shouldn’t have to feel guilty about it. I guess that’s why blogging has become so popular. But while it may seem like we are having a much better time than those of you at home (and not gonna lie, we probably are), we still get that FOMO too. Sometimes there is nothing I want more than to be hungover on my best friend’s couch eating mac n cheese and watching Food Network. No matter what great experiences I have abroad, there will still always be a nostalgia for people and places (and pizza) back home. So to all the friends who haven’t had the opportunity to travel and are stuck listening to our awesome stories, try to be patient with us. We’re not bragging on purpose. And I’m sure you have cool stories to share too. Even if it is just about another drunk night at Towers. And to anyone who has studied abroad and has had this problem, try not to brag TOO much to your friends. Keep it subtle. Start a blog. Or share your experiences with us at WanderLUST. And in the midst of all the bragging, don’t forget to remind your friends back home how much you still love and miss them.

How (Not) to Study Abroad

by Ian Agnew

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Warning #1: Slightly less humor, slightly more advice. Buckle up, friends.

Warning #2: A lot of what I say here runs counter to many firmly-held opinions and beliefs, and maybe even those in other articles here. This is just my take on things.

I mean, obviously.

Now, I don’t know about you folks, but if I had a dollar for every article, handout, pamphlet, guidebook, bathroom stall poster, and travel/”young people” blog that I’ve come across espousing the magical wonders of studying abroad in a different country, I’d have enough money to purchase my own fleet of yachts (of course, I would only buy the first one; the rest I’d commandeer). Your college, your parents, your friends—everyone tells you what a good idea it is and how much fun you’ll have. After all, college is the best time of your life, right? What better way to spend that time than having all sorts of adventures and life-altering experiences in another culture far away from everything and everyone you know and love?

Look, I’m not going to lie to you; it’s a pretty damn good time.

BUT, there are right and wrong reasons to do it, like with most things. If you want to learn about a new country or culture and be exposed to it (and all that entails) for a semester or two, go for it. If you want to take some time away from your life back home to figure some things out about you, awesome. But if you’re primarily looking to go crazy on the sauce and bang every attractive foreign person you come across, I might suggest you go back to freshman year and rethink your choices a bit.

Still with me? Here, have a bit of a break: “A priest opens up a gym for Christians; he calls it ‘Jehovah’s Fitness.’” Nicely re-humored? Excellent; carry on.

If you’re thinking about studying abroad, you’re going to have a lot of people telling you a lot of things. My advice (since you’re clearly here to hear it) would be this:

DO NOT SIMPLY TAKE OTHERS’ ADVICE.

I realize that seems a tad (completely) contradictory, but hear me out; too often I see people telling others to, when they go abroad, “Do everything, go everywhere, never say no, go crazy at bars, do things you would never do, live dangerously, never be content with sitting around doing nothing, you must always be doing things.” Honestly, for some people that works (clearly; I’ve seen them at it), but it is by no means the ONLY way to live while abroad.

I don’t think you should actively go out of our way to “do something crazy;” if you feel like doing something crazy, then by all means, you should. But there is nothing wrong with spending a weekend in your flat, writing a story or just laying on your bed with absolutely no outside stimulation at all and just letting your mind wander and have thoughts on its own. I believe that studying abroad should not be treated as a second take on people’s freshman year at college (unless you were a completely rational human being at that point; if you were, I applaud your parents); it should be you, living your life, but in a new place and context where you get to do different and fun things. Seriously, how much fun are you having if you’re doing things just because you feel you should, as opposed to things you want to do, regardless of where you are?

I had the opportunity to go bungee jumping in Queenstown (not really; I had nowhere near enough money) but I didn’t, because I really did not want to and it is something that is way too far out of my comfort zone (also the money thing). We should be comfortable from time to time, even when studying abroad. Content and happy is a perfectly valid way to live, and don’t you let anyone try to tell you you’re wrong for living that way. If they do, I’ll Cage them so hard, they won’t pee for a year (feel free to ask me if you want to know what Caging is).

Lastly, you should not expect studying abroad to change your life/worldview forever. Sure, some people come back changed for the better (or weirder), but having some massive revelation about life or your “grand purpose” is nowhere near the norm. I think that’s a very American thing to believe; we (especially college students) believe the world outside to be so much more informed and culturally superior to our closed-minded America when, in reality, most of the world’s people behave pretty much the same way, barring language and some more efficient governmental practices. There’s no need to feel bad if, upon return home, someone asks, “Did studying in [COUNTRY NAME], y’know, change you?” and you can’t honestly answer “Yes.” You look them in the eyes (eye, if they’re that kind of pirate) and say, “No, bugger off.”

Everyone studies abroad in his or her own way; advice can hurt as much as it can help. At the end of the day, it’s got to come down to who you are as a person and what you want and need to get out of your experience. Don’t let anyone else shape how you spend your time abroad for you, not even me.

But if you do let me, be sure to cite your sources.

London Love

by Bri Wink

To Those Abroad In London:

First and foremost, do not take your time abroad for granted. Go ahead, indulge in a few days of wallowing in homesickness upon arrival, use jet lag as an excuse to curl up in your bed, skyping your friends and family and crying into your pillow that is nowhere near as comfortable and fluffy as the one at home. Take a few days to adjust, but then move on. Get out of those sweatpants, walk out that door and go out and do things. If you spend your whole time abroad stuck inside your room, hiding behind your laptop and complaining about your lack of live stream feed, then you shouldn’t have even studied abroad in the first place. You didn’t travel over 3,000 miles to stay up until five in the morning watching Pretty Little Liars. Go experience real things instead.london1

Take tourist days. Don’t be afraid to freak out crossing Abbey Road. Pose in front of those red telephone boxes with pride. Galavant around the Victoria & Albert Museum and take as many photos of St. Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben as you want. Tourist days are the best days because you can let go of all that nonsense about blending in and just enjoy yourself. Bring your camera, bring a friend and leave the embarrassment of being an American behind. Just go out and knock things off that checklist of yours and don’t be ashamed of your enthusiasm or excitement or even your American-ness while you do. With that said, take a few non-touristy days, too. Travel off the beaten path and find a café or a bookstore or a pub that you can call entirely your own. Don’t pre-plan, either, Google searching “best unknown pubs in London” because that is cheating. Go out and find it on your own.

Visit the markets. Brick Lane is my favorite but go to all of them. Camden, Portobello Road, Borough Market, Old Spitalfields….They’re all unique and different and are such a great way to experience the vast and rich cultures that London is known for. Eat loads and buy loads and for just one day, indulge yourself in being a hipster. Just walk around and take in the charm of the city through the eyes of the vendors. You haven’t experienced the real London life until you’re chowing down on cheap empanadas while haggling down the price of a leather jacket.

Go out on the town, ride the Tube drunk, and get lost on the night busses with your crazy friends and the even crazier strangers you meet. Open your eyes on these 4am journeys and take in the view of the city at night without the hustle and bustle. Sit back, relax, and let the beauty of the lights and the stillness of a city that’s half asleep mesmerize you. Then get off at the wrong stop, stand around for another twenty minutes and do it all over again when the next bus pulls up. Also understand that not every night has to end in vague memories and hangovers. Sitting around, gorging on pizza and bingewatching American Netflix with your flatmates is just as satisfying as feeling the bass pump through your veins and seeing the neon lights flash behind your eyelids at a club. Some may even argue that it’s better.

Steal something. I’m not saying to break into a jewelry store or hold up a bank, but sneak out a pint glass from your favorite pub. Rob a fork from that restaurant you fell in love with. Take a few leaves from your favorite tree or flowers from a garden. Conveniently never return the notepad from that hostel you stayed in when you traveled and don’t hesitate to steal a few kisses from the boys and girls that tickled your fancy.

When you get sick (and you will get sick- Freshers Flu knows no discrimination) you will miss your mom and your dad and your own bed more than anything. You won’t have the slightest idea what cold medicine to take, how to work your insurance, or what to do with yourself other than wallow in the self-pity that comes with a runny nose. I think the days I was sick were the days I missed home the most, simply because all I wanted was my mommy, my teddy bear and an America’s Next Top Model marathon to cure me back to health. But eventually, I stopped moping around and started ingesting that Vitamin C, slurping down some of that soup and went to the pub to drink away the headache. In Britain, a pint can cure just about anything.

Meet people. Meet local people, to be exact. This is the most important part of the experience, the one that you’ll cherish the most once you return home. Befriend the Americans on your program but don’t forget to set out to make some of the best friends you’ll ever have. My entire semester became infinitely better because I spent my time playing it up with a bunch of British idiots I was lucky enough to call my friends. Knowing people, hanging out with people, and understanding people from the city that you’re in or from cities and areas around it makes the whole study abroad experience vastly different. These are the people who can show you the ins and outs; the ones who know the best place to grab a bite or the perfect spot to watch the fireworks on Guy Fawkes night. These are the people who will think you and your American-ness are fascinating, and together you’ll understand new things about yourselves. They’ll help you figure out the basics and provide vital information on how to live outside of your comfort zone, and in return you can help them see the city through a new set of eyes. Also, you get the benefit of hearing those precious accents daily and nothing can be better than that.

Fall in love: with the city, with a boy or a girl or maybe even both, and most importantly, with yourself. Cherish the way the air smells before it rains, and be captivated by the way he/she holds your hand when you’re drunk on Jack Daniel’s and their smile. But, more than anything, get on that plane ride home loving yourself. Love who you are in the city, love who you’ve become (because those pamphlets really don’t lie- studying abroad does change you) and the way you’ve grown to care more about people and the world around you and less about your own problems. Studying abroad is about the whole “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, sure. But really, you’ll notice the best memories come from those little moments that shape you.

And if you do fall in love with a boy or a girl that captivated you, don’t run from it. Let that feeling of a foreign romance wash over you. There really isn’t anything that can compare to a European love affair. It might not work out in the long run, of course, but that doesn’t mean you have to immediately give up out of fear of the future. Sometimes the city really is better when you have someone’s hand to hold.

But above all, understand that you’re going to have to leave. It’s inevitable; when you study abroad you have a clear expiration date and sooner rather than later, the day is going to come where you’re going to have to re-pack your entire life into a suitcase, hop on a plane, and go back to the place that you once considered home. Cry. Cry a lot. It doesn’t help, really, but it’s not something to be ashamed of, either. Freak out. Go crazy one last time. Sob the whole way through the packing process and the whole way to the airport. Hug your new friends so tight that it hurts to let go. Be weak. Listen to The Weakerthans “Left and Leaving” on repeat the entire 7 hour plane ride home. But then promise yourself that you’ll come back eventually. Get off that plane in your home airport rejuvenated, ready to return one day. Tell yourself as you fly back across the Atlantic that it’s going to happen. There’s so many things you haven’t done yet, so many sights and places and sunsets over the Thames that you haven’t seen. Do not doubt for one second that a return is possible. Because it will happen one day, as long as you believe that it will. Studying abroad is temporary, but the feelings that you leave with are for a lifetime.

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