Predeparture Thoughts: Filling My Map

Sep 12, 2017 1:30:00 PM / by Irene Kanthan


Elizabeth is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Communication major at Lasell College, she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester.

In her first post, Elizabeth reflects on her past travels and envisions how things will be different when she reaches Dublin.


I have attempted to start this blog post at least five times and every time I start it seems unreal that I will be leaving for Ireland in four days. Four Days. Four days to fit in my last goodbyes and pack the last essential items. (Sadly my dog apparently cannot come with me in my carry on.) After months of planning and finalizing the details, the ‘excitement butterflies’ have set in for my study abroad in Dublin.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Dublin_From Elizabeth Leahy - Predeparture Thoughts.png

I have had the urge to travel since I was eight. I dreamed of traveling the world and having a map so full of pushpins that you could barely read the names of the cities. Since then I have taken every opportunity possible to explore the world. From the car trips with my family to Myrtle Beach to traveling to Vietnam with a class from my school, I have always been the first to accept adventure. Traveling to Dublin will be a step towards filling my map.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Dublin_From Elizabeth Leahy - Myrtle Beach South Carolina.pngMyrtle Beach, South Carolina

Travel has always provided me a sense of excitement as well as a feeling of comfort. I make it an effort to try, learn, and experience new events (and food) whenever I can. Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity to take a step out of my comfort zone. Even though it may seem difficult at times, it always has the most rewarding feeling. 

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Dublin_From Elizabeth Leahy - Da Nang Vietnam.pngDa Nang, Vietnam

I traveled to Ireland once before. In 2010, I went to Ireland for ten days with my local Gaelic football team. Throughout this brief trip we traveled through four counties and met other Gaelic football teams. The trip was very fast pace but we stopped briefly in Dublin to watch a football game. For those four hours my feet traveled around Croke Park and then rushed back to the bus after the game. Looking back I can only vaguely recall what Dublin looked like as we rode out of the city on the bus. I do remember riding through the countryside of Ireland and I think I left part of my heart in those rolling hills. Ever since that trip I knew I would find myself there again.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2017_Dublin_From Elizabeth Leahy - Ireland 2010 Flight.pngFlight from Ireland in 2010

Seven years later, I cannot contain my excitement to return to Dublin and have the opportunity to explore the city. When I look at this upcoming semester of studying in Dublin, it will be different than any of my previous traveling. This time I am not going in a group with preplanned activities for every moment of the trip. It will be me and the city. I hope to use this time to grow as an individual and learn more about myself.

large_pexels-photo-59519.jpegPhoto: public domain

Although my excitement is overflowing, I admit I am a little anxious about spending three months away in a foreign country. I think about my family, friends, and the little things I will be missing while abroad. I go to school only two hours away from home so an ocean away is slightly intimidating. Whenever I start to worry, I just remember how incredibly lucky I am to be able to embark on such an incredible journey. I am beyond excited to walk the streets of Dublin and immerse myself in the culture. Now it’s time for me to finish that packing!

Thanks Elizabeth!

Elizabeth's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA Dublin Program

Topics: Dublin, Ireland, Predeparture & Study Abroad Preparations, First Thoughts