Exchange to Ireland, Semester 2, 2017
Alas the academic semester is over and all that remains is one final assessment. The last few weeks have really seen my friends and I experience the full gamut of emotions. Having taken a subject which required us to devise a piece of theatre in eleven weeks and then perform it certainly meant creating close and fulfilling friendships and while there is the natural high of the theatre and performing, post-production blues was something clearly felt by all.
Following the initial euphoria of performance reality hit hard. The show was over, and with it so were the long hours, 10am-6pm Monday and Tuesday and later also the extra rehearsals crammed into every spare moment in between other classes. Although tough at the start the long hours slowly grew on us as we really began to shift from fellow performers to close friends. Travelling overseas each weekend also meant that free time was sparse and sleep—ha, what sleep?! Despite loving the rehearsal process, there was a week where after having spent a beautiful two days in sunny Barcelona, returning to the ominous grey of Ireland seemed tough and the Melbourne summer further away. However, that bout of homesickness soon was replaced instead with a pre-nostalgia, if you would, of Ireland. As opening night approached gone was my longing to be in Melbourne sunshine, instead a new fondness developed for Ireland’s mist-rain, and of course the beautiful warm and kind people who had always held a spot in my heart seemed closer to me than before.
Having spent the last week travelling with friends I’ve found my emotions now to have levelled themselves out and post-production blues to be receding. There is of course the lingering sadness to be saying goodbye to such a beautiful country, its people and its culture. Living in Ireland for four months has offered me respite and done more for my health than anything I had attempted before leaving. Despite the longer hours and attempting a second year class in something I had never studied before, not once did I feel anywhere near as stressed throughout the semester as I did at home. Instead of seeing this semester as study-abroad, it has been for me a study-break. A break from stress while studying—I didn’t think that was possible either until now.
Studying in Ireland has offered me so much freedom—freedom to travel, to try new things and to not be afraid to fail. I’m taking some of these carefully learnt lessons with me home, and have promised myself to reconsider my priorities at home. I know this won’t be the last time I’ll be in Ireland; it is too much of a home to me now. And I know it won’t be the last time I’ll see my beautiful housemates who have become more like sisters. Because we won’t be saying goodbye, we’ll be saying see you soon.