I was beyond excited to finally lay eyes on my Irish visa the day that I was leaving the United States after fall semester was over. It was a whole process – submitting my application in a panic when I finally got my acceptance letter, worrying about how it would not be ready in 8 weeks – or 12 weeks – as I leave the United States for home for a month (would it still not be ready on the day of my flight? Because that would be disastrous); the materials not getting into the Consulate because I missed out on an apartment number and forgot to put “Irish Consulate of Boston” – again because I was panicking – then realizing that I did not have a score from an English proficiency Exam that they ask for and having no guarantee if the visa will be approved, if they will take an affidavit letter and a transcript from Holy Cross because I ran out of time to submit the score for the exam – and finally submitting all the materials and having no idea that now, the time that I have is down to 6 weeks, if the visa will be ready.
Some kind of miracle happened with their processing speed of the visa though – probably thanking to study abroad over at HC and UCD helping me out – and it was ready in 2 weeks! The whole visa situation, did took a toll on me, since it wasn’t particularly easy going through this whole process during a semester that was both socially and academically challenging for me. After being sure that I secured my GPA above what is needed for studying abroad and the visa approval, I finally was able, and daring enough, to feel excitement and all the other emotions. Until then, study abroad didn’t feel like something that is happening, something that is new and exciting with my life.
But I am so happy it is happening. It was incredibly hard to say bye to all my friends at Holy Cross, the ones that I just had the opportunity to meet, the ones I’m getting to know better, the seniors and everybody else. But then, I was able to view my roommates on SISweb, the STAR for UCD, and was also able to contact the Royal Irish Conservatory for piano lessons! I don’t know if my roommates will be exactly the kind of people whom you stay up with and chat with all night, and I’m not sure what kind of personality and expectations will my piano teacher have – In fact, I am not sure all the things that are happening – what if it is like another whole culture shock? Will I adjust like how I adjusted to HC or would be just be a whole new experience? There are so many other little bittersweet emotions and I won’t bore you with the gory little details!
But anyways, I’m looking forward to the departure, on January 14th, from Shenzhen (located next to Hongkong), China, having a transit in Frankfurt, Germany, then to Dublin, Ireland. My name is Karen Xu and I’m studying abroad in University College Dublin in Dublin. Welcome to my blog, and I can’t wait to share lots of stories (tears or laughter, or other things) with you!