As students prepare for their spring term abroad, many questions and concerns arise: from what and how much to pack, how they will keep in touch with friends and family, how can they get the most out of the experience and to what to expect while flying.
Although these questions can easily be remedied on a short trip like spending a weekend in New York City for spring break, they become increasingly more difficult for students spending those 10 weeks in Ireland.
What seems to be weighing most heavily on students’ minds is keeping in touch with those they care about.
Anticipating this need for communication, junior Lindsey Overdorff and senior Megan Hull have taken many precautions to stay in contact.
“I have done the Skype thing, downloaded the texting application on my iPod touch, have friended everyone on Facebook, have gotten phone numbers, and I will be getting everyone’s box number to send post cards,” Hull said.
Overdorff is doing the same.
“The biggest challenge will be keeping in contact with everyone; I got my mom a webcam so we can Skype while I’m there,” she said.
Packing and money is also something students are already thinking about.
“At this point, I am saving money for traveling, food and shopping, making lists of things I need to take and buy over there and making sure I have all of my traveling stuff together, like my passport and suitcase and things like that,” senior Erin Lewis said.
For most students it is not just about getting things packed, but making absolutely sure they have the essentials.
“The one thing I absolutely have to bring would probably be my digital camera. I plan on taking an obscene amount of pictures of everything while we’re over there,” Overdorff said. “I’m sure this is the same for pretty much everybody.”
When asked what is the one thing you will not forget to pack, Hull responded: “One? Well, I guess my laptop. It will be my main connection to home, and of course everything I do there: write papers, research, book flights and hotel rooms in other countries I will visit on the weekends, everything like that.”
Although the students are filled with much excitement and enthusiasm for the trip, there are a few things that they are not eagerly anticipating.
“I am not excited for the flight, just because it is hard to sit on an airplane…for a long period of time,” Lewis said.
Still, with the excitement of getting to stay and study in Ireland for an entire term, the list of pros appears to be greater than that of the cons.
“Overall, I’m just so excited to be involved in the first ever Mercyhurst in Ireland trip,” Overdorff said. “The opportunities we’re given are awesome, and the city of Dungarvan sounds so kind and welcoming. I just can’t wait to get over there.”