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Teaching Each Other

I have known almost my entire life that I wanted to study abroad in Ireland. And I have done everything I could to immerse myself in the Irish culture so that I would be prepared when I finally got to live in the country of my dreams. I’ve read countless Irish books, listened to Irish music, kept up with the daily newspapers, watched popular Irish shows, and even tried to teach myself a little bit of the Irish language.

Ireland has always been such an important part of my life and before I left to study abroad, I imagined my roommates feeling the same way and if not, at least almost as passionate about the country as I am. My roommates were very similar to me: All three were English majors and somewhat introverted. We loved reading and writing and while we got to know each other those first few weeks, we realized that we had the best luck in getting assigned random roommates.

  While we excelled in being similar from a personality standpoint, it didn’t take that long for me to notice a difference between my roommates and I. They weren’t as well versed in the Irish culture as I am. They had dreams of traveling, seeing and experiencing the world in an exciting way. They wanted to live outside of their comforts zones just like I did, but living in Ireland wasn't their top priority. Travelling was their top priority, while Ireland was mine.

  Instead of bonding over something we all knew so much about, I was able to share my knowledge and help my roommates fall in love with Ireland just like I did. We had a movie night where we all watched the legendary John Wayne in The Quiet Man and we later saw a couple of the filming locations on a day trip. One of my roommates came back to our flat asking what Galway Girl meant. I laughed immediately but to my disbelief, the others didn't understand the reference. I then had to play them all four versions of the song Galway Girl that I had. I couldn't believe they came to study in Galway without ever hearing this song.

Every time a little pop culture thing came up in our travels, I was so excited to talk about it with them. I was excited to teach them what I knew about Ireland and it was really cool to see these things I had studied for so long through fresh eyes. It gave me a whole new appreciation for Ireland and it also helped me realize what traveling to new places would be like. Visiting a country with just the basic knowledge allows for many more  opportunities to explore and it leaves for many great stories of discoveries.

I loved living in Ireland knowing all that I know, but I also loved having the opportunity to share my knowledge. It was the best experience and it was made even better by traveling with people who weren't that familiar with the country. I was even more excited to see the sights and to try new things. My semester abroad was the best learning experience I could have gotten.

 My Roommates and I on our excursion to Dingle. All smiles!

Morgan McKenna is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Galway, Ireland. She is currently a junior at Stockton University.

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