Archive for the ‘Kari in Ireland’ Category

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Kari: Five Days and Counting

January 12, 2009

Hey everyone!

I cannot believe that I leave in five days. What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been, and now the time has come to leave for Europe! I’m excited beyond words, but super nervous as well. I probably won’t realize what I’m in for until I board the plane to London, then to Dublin. I’m just amazed by this opportunity.

Last week I spent some much needed time in Minneapolis catching up and saying good-bye to friends, co-workers and family. I was able to look back on last week and really think about the people that I have been blessed with, and because of them this study abroad trip to Ireland for five months is going to be that much easier. I’m going to miss everyone so much, but knowing that I have a strong support system back home (Oshkosh & Minneapolis) will allow me to enjoy my trip without worrying (too much) about everyone back home.

I have just started packing. It is such a challenging task considering a few things:

  1. Who in their right mind packs for 5 months abroad?!?! That’s so insane.
  2. I have way too many clothes for my own good. I have trouble picking out what I’m going to wear to church. I know I will forget something that I really wanted to bring!
  3. One word: SHOES. I think I got it down to 7 or 8 pairs….I started with wanting to bring about 15 pairs. I guess I’ll have to take and give some.

Although packing has been one of the most difficult tasks preparing to study abroad, I have learned something about myself—I have wayyyy too much stuff. I can guarantee that when I move back to Minneapolis in June, I will not be bringing nearly as much stuff as last semester.

So Friday is right around the corner. My ‘to do’ list is filling up fast, my list of people to call is endless is seems, but the errands I need to run are starting to get done! I’m not sure how much more time this week I will have to blog, but I should arrive in Dublin next Saturday around 1 p.m. (their time, so about 7 a.m. your time).

Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I start this journey of a lifetime. I can’t wait to share my experiences with you all.

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Kari: Orientation

December 7, 2008

Hello all–

I just wanted to bring you up to date about my studying abroad. This past Friday, December 5th, I had my study abroad orientation. Because I have not had the time to think about this journey I am about to take, this orientation was helpful in many ways.

We started our orientation as a large group. There were about 100-150 students present, plus parents and others of student’s support groups that were there. The large group orientation was helpful to an extent, but I feel as if I got most of my information from the two break out sessions that we were able to attend.

My first break out session was for my cosponsor college, Arcadia University. There were about 20 students in that break out session. I learned about what life may be like in Europe, as well as about the support system that we will have while abroad. Most of the students in the college break out session were either going to Italy or Ireland. It was great to get some information from an actual representative from the college we are going to study abroad through.

The second break out session was decided by country we were studying in, therefore I went to the Ireland/N. Ireland session. This was essentially a panel of three students who studied abroad in previous semesters in three different schools in Ireland or Northern Ireland. It was here that I receive some of the most valuable information, such as what to pack, what to do, and where to eat. I also learned that the rain boots in Ireland are better than the rain boots in the US. Expect me to come home with a cute pair!

Orientation allowed me to take time out of my schedule to finally think about studying abroad. I have been crazy busy lately, but this has put my experience ahead into perspective. I am starting to get excited to go, but with excitement comes nerves and stress. Let me get through this semester (another 6 days) and then I can tell you how excited/nervous/stressed I really am.

Until next time…

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Kari: One Day Closer

December 2, 2008

As yesterday has ended and today has started (precisely 32 minutes ago), I can help to think that as each day passes, it is one day closer to January 16th. This past weekend, I finally bought my airplane tickets. I depart from O’Hare in Chicago on January 16th around 7:55 PM, and arrive in London, to get my student visa and go through customs, sometime the next afternoon. I then hop on a plane to Dublin, Ireland to meet other participants and relax for an evening before my orientation begins on January 18th. I’m already thinking that the first few days will be completely crazy and filled with important information, as I sit here trying to read through every e-mail I have gotten from my program advisor. It’s taken me quite some time to get through them all, but I am almost there.

My orientation for my program is this Friday, December 5th. I’m excited to meet other program participants and get a feel for how the semester might play out in Northern Ireland, yet it makes it that much more real. I haven’t really had a chance to be truly excited about going abroad. I am still trying to make it through this semester, but I have a feeling once next Saturday at 12:00 PM is over, my mind will be completely focused on Northern Ireland, and probably worried about how I’m going to pack everything I need and how many pairs of shoes I can bring without my luggage going over the weight limit. These are important things, as you can tell.

I feel like my 4 1/2 months in Europe will go by so quickly. I’m already planning on where to live this summer and next school year. It’s been hard to wrap my mind around planning for something this is going to happen a year from now, but it’s in the process of being planned, nonetheless, so I guess I can’t complain. I fly home from Northern Ireland on May 30th. I trust that this trip will be a trip of a lifetime. Although I will miss friends, family, and the Cities, I think this will be a great experience for me and I know I will learn so much.

Until next time…

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