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My European Friends

I must admit that I was nervous about making friends before coming to study abroad in Dublin. Growing up, I had the same core group of friends from kindergarten all the way through high school. When I started college, I was fortunate enough to be a member of the lacrosse team at my school, and I had 45 friends the second I stepped on campus. To have to go out and make friends was going to be a new task for me, but I was certainly up for the challenge. To make things just a bit harder, though, I was in a unique situation. I'm a typical guy that likes to surround himself with other guys to hang out with. That wasn't the problem. The problem was that I'm the ONLY American guy in the CEA program here in Dublin this semester. Not to take anything away from the eight lovely ladies (moms) I get to spend so much time with, I just needed some "different" friends.
 In America, I have one mom. In Dublin, I have eight! (Photo courtesy of Sarah Engelbreksston.)

Luckily for me, our CEA housing arrangements allowed us to live with European students from the International School of Business (ISB). In our house of six students, there are three Americans, two French guys, and a German girl.  I became very good friends with Louis, one of the French guys on my floor, and he introduced me to some of his friends from Paris who were also studying at ISB. One of his friends, Arthur, happened to live next door and another one, Julien, frequented our apartment in his free time quite a bit. With the good weather, we hung out in our courtyard and played rugby and soccer, and I even introduced them to lacrosse! With a few friends made at my apartment, the next step was to make friends at school.

The first thing I made a point of doing was sitting next to a different person each day as we were going through orientation at our new school. This allowed me to meet people from all over Europe and even Russia! They were all happy to speak with me, as it was an opportunity for them to practice their English with a native speaker. After orientation, I was fortunate enough to have made a few friends who were able to introduce me to a few more friends. The environment at CEA/ISB would allow me to make even more in the coming weeks.

 Family dinner with my European and American roommates! (Photo courtesy of Hannah Reasons.)

The second week we were in Ireland, the Americans, along with some other Europeans, made a trip to Galway. Everyone was very inviting and we had a great time over the course of the weekend. I now play soccer once a week with some of the friends I made during that trip. Our faculty also organized an international food evening that allowed us to share food from our own countries and interact with each other as well. Following the food evening, quite a few of us continued to hang out for a night that I wouldn't soon forget!
 Back in Dublin after a weekend in Paris!
 
 The Eiffel Tower with Paris in the background. (Photo courtesy of Chris Friese.)


Now here I am, about two months later, writing this blog post after coming home from Paris; a trip I spent with two Germans and more than a few Parisians. We are looking forward to our next trip to Oslo coming in a few weeks!

Rory Finnegan is the 2014 Fall CEA MOJO in Dublin, Ireland. He is currently a senior at Virginia Wesleyan College.

 



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