Leaving home for the first time can be a bit daunting. No matter how many times you tell yourself or tell others that you are ready for it, you never really are. Sure I may have left home to go to college, but it is just not the same. In Kansas City I at least have the occasional day trip back home whenever I need it. This is a whole new ball game. Definitely exciting but new ground nonetheless. In my mind, getting over here and getting setup was really just an after thought until it became reality. I realized it wasn’t going to be a cake walk when I got to customs the morning of September 3rd, looking like a zombie since it should have been the middle of the night. Showing up with every document except for my letter of acceptance to University College Cork was a microcosm of my whole journey up to this point, so it was very fitting. I thought I was going to be kicked out of Ireland before I got in, but here I am two weeks in. Look at me now, customs guy.

Cliffs of MoherIt took a bit of learning, getting looked at weird, and wandering around to get settled in. Now I have all the necessary supplies I need to make it through the semester, which is mainly sandwich stuff and a pair of hiking shoes. To be fair, those shoes have already taken me to Killarney National Park and The Cliffs of Moher which were both mesmerizing, so I would say they have been a solid investment. With one week of classes down and a few adventures under my belt, things are becoming a bit less foreign with each passing day. Sure, it is easy to miss home and the family and friends that make it that way, but living in the moment is something I have always prided myself in. If you worry too much about what is going on elsewhere, opportunities will pass you by. This is an experience I don’t want to squander by thinking about being somewhere else or about what I am going to do next, but instead by enjoying where I’m at in the moment. This semester is going to fly by anyways so why not enjoy every minute. That is something that is pretty easy to do in a place like Ireland, as every corner reveals something else to be intrigued by. I also can’t forget to mention that the adjustment has been made so much easier by all the awesome people I have met. Making friends is a bit easier when everyone is equally confused about their situation, but I never imagined how many great people I would meet, and even go travel with, in such a short amount of time. I guess it isn’t a huge shock that a bunch of study abroad kids would want to adventure and explore new places. Nevertheless, I am really glad they do. Already I am extremely thankful for what this trip has brought to me and pumped for what is to come. I already have a few excursions in the works. I’m going to take a few trips with friends and a couple solo treks, so stay tuned for my next move. Oh and classes went well this week too. I made it to all of those.

Thanks a million, cheers

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Matthew Twaddle is a sophomore at the University of Missouri- Kansas City majoring in civil engineering. He is attending the University College Cork in Ireland through the UMKC Direct Exchange Program during the fall semester. Matthew is from Maryville, MO and is excited to continue his education in Cork, Ireland where some of his family still resides.