El Anillo de Kerry, tachado de mi lista de viaje.

My experience in Ireland: the most amazing trip in my life

“We are what we do to change what we are”

Eduardo Galeano

I’ve just celebrated my one year anniversary in Ireland and it has been one of the best experiences of my life! How difficult it is to talk about your own experience when you have traveled so much! Where to start?

For a start I’ll introduce myself, of course. My name is Catalina Arca García, I’m 31 years old and I’m from Argentina. I arrived in Dublin one year ago, with a lot of uncertainties but one clear certainty, that it was a trip that I needed to make.

However, before I continue telling you my Irish anecdotes, I need to speak about Uruguay, because this personal trip started in my “neighbouring country”.

Here, with my classmates and my English teachers.

My first big trip

When I was at university, I won a scholarship that allowed me to live for six months in Montevideo. There, I spent a semester in another university and it was the place that opened my mind. I met a lot of people from all over the world, I created ties with new friends that have lasted so far, and moreover, I understood that the world is too big to stay in only one place.

My restless soul returned to my city: I finished my studies in Communications and started working. However, the desire to travel remained latent. At that time, I was fortunate to be able to travel with my family to different parts of Latin America and do a EuroTrip with one of my friends.

But I need ed more. I started looking for different scholarships, master degrees, and fill form after form. Any opportunity was valid. I didn’t lose anything.  I needed to move, back out of the comfort zone that was already overwhelming me.

It was the end of 2017 and in one of my many searches I found the Work and Study Ireland visa, a program where you can study English for six months and work part-time. Until that time, the little I knew about Ireland was related to beer and whiskey.

I celebrated St Patrick with my friends from Chile and Costa Rica.

I sent an email to the agency where I found the program. They answered me, but for some reason, I didn’t answer. Then, I understood that it was not the right time. That same year, I had a particular work experience, which made me rethink what I wanted to do with my life.

A few months into 2018, I wrote again to the Argentina Cultural Exchange agency for the information. They answered me and this time I answered too. I left my personal information. I received a phone call from Remeditos, we were talking about an hour, where she explained the whole program. I told her that I was going to think about it with the pillow, as we usually say in Argentina.

I was afraid – I think I still am – but it was a feeling that made me move forward. In March, after thinking with the pillow and several therapy sessions, I said yes and the preparations to start the adventure began in August. I arrived on the 27th of that month in 2018 and since then I have a collection of moments that I will keep forever in me.

Ross Castle, one of the places you have to visit in Kerry.

Ireland, the land of the opportunities

Throughout this experience, there are and there were happy, sad, distressing, worrying moments, as in any part of the world. After all, it is life itself. Here, what is important is that you will realize how strong you are to be able to value each one of those moments, to be able to adapt, to understand that we are passing through here in Ireland, and in life.

To be able to size up what is really worth, learn to say no when you are not well or comfortable and not feel guilty. I also believe that Ireland is for the brave, for those who are able to develop resilience, patience, learn to calm anxiety (I’m still trying, it’s not easy).

In addition, throughout my tour, I was fortunate to be able to meet my friends from Argentina and others from Europe that I met in Uruguay, as well as being able to travel with my mother and sister through Spain. Needless to say, the number of new people I met has allowed me to continue to add to my “friendships without borders.”

During my experience, I traveled for another European cities, as Edinburgh, London and Barcelona.

Throughout this experience, I was also able to work in the Communications department at NED Training Centre, the school where I study English. Ireland is a land of opportunities!

I also learned that this country has a very interesting history of rebellions, resistance, migration and survival, Irish people are very friendly and, unfortunately, here the sun forgot to pass.

For all that, I only have one thing to say: Go raibh maith agat hÉireann, which in Gaelic means “Thanks a million Ireland”. If you came here and still have doubts about traveling, I say: “Do it! You won’t regret it”.

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