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June 2011 - Irish Life Experience

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Helpful Advice from 2010 Alumna, Piper Martini!

Hello 2011 ILE’ers,

I am absolutely thrilled to be writing to you today-to wish you well on the incredible journey you are about to have. I should know; my entire life has changed because of the experiences I had, the friends I made, and the person I became through the ILE.

Little did I know when I showed up at the airport, that I would have the most influential month ahead of me, chalk full of amazing people, places, and lessons. The first of which came actually about a week before we left, when I was figuring out my money situation, and so we can thank my little banker for helping me figure out…

Lesson 1=Count on using your credit card because I tell you-the charming little stores are irresistible. Let your credit card company/bank know that you are traveling overseas, or they will do something sneaky, like put a hold on your card. It will get nasty when you have to tell Mrs. O’Hara at McLeary’s Handmade Gift Shop that you can’t pay for the 197 items you just had her spend the past hour ringing up.

The second lesson came actually as soon as we landed in the gorgeous city of Dublin and headed straight out to the hills-so…

Lesson 2=Bring shoes that are relatively sturdy and which you are not going to have an aneurism over getting some good ol’ Irish dirt on and/or fall down because they have absolutely no traction.

Lesson 3 came when we were doing…, well I won’t ruin the surprise, but we were doing some activities that required sneakers, and I mean actual sneakers (Ladies, seriously, Steve Madden Keds don’t count). And along with this goes some sportsy clothes-athletic shorts and grungy shirts.
Onward from the shoe department and into the cosmetic section, I would say that…

Lesson 4=Yes, bring the essentials i.e. toothbrush, toothpaste, hair things and common sense needs, but as for breaking out the Deluxe Hair Mousse and Swiss Pumice Skin Therapy System-this is not the time. You will survive and you’ll be moving to several different locations, and gallon jugs of shampoo get tedious, so lug around the minimum.

Lesson 5=You do not need your entire wardrobe. And yes, I have faith in you-you can detach for an entire month. You will be going out to some nice places a few times, but prom dresses and tuxes are not needed, just one or two nice dress outfits will suffice. Otherwise I kicked around in shorts and comfortable shirts most of the time. Honestly. Bring a sweatshirt, it gets a little chilly, and some light rain gear.

Lesson 6=Do not bring a suitcase that you have to sit on and employ the help of your little sibling to sit on in order to close while you’re still in America. As I said, you will be buying things. I don’t care how much of a penny pincher you are, you’re going to get at least a few darling little things so plan on needing some extra room in your suitcase(s).

Now besides all the logistical/material things, the next few lessons are the most important:
You are so fortunate to be going on this trip to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Yes, there is some nervousness that accompanies the initial meeting of strangers you’re about to spend a summer with, but hey guess what? They’re all feeling the same way. I remember getting there and grouching in the corner for a moment, but then I was met with the most exuberant ball of energy, and because I decided in that moment, hey, I’m going to just go with it. We went on to have the most amazing, hilarious trip together, and he is now my best friend in the entire world. No seriously. I’m living with him. So…

Lesson 7=LET GO! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to embrace a new environment with the structure of the program, but the freedom for exploration and opportunity you’ll create-because you bring to it what you will, and subsequently take away what you let yourself. Whether or not you’ve been to Ireland before, this is your experience, so make the absolute most of it. And the people are the best part, both on the trip with you, and in the country. Which brings me to…

Lesson 8=Go for it. Or as Nike would say, just do it. Whether it’s gaelic football, step dancing, baking, learning, interacting with your team, exploring a new city, it goes by way, way too fast, so stay present, attentive, and open everyday. Some things will be your strong points, some quite the opposite (take me for instance whose athletic abilities range from about -4 to zilch to nothing to never-ever), but just be respectful, receptive, enjoy way too much fun, and have a safe, wonderful time. Congratulations and much love. Kiss the Stone for me.

Piper Martini

Helpful Advice from 2010 Alumna, Sydney Alexander!

Dear 2011 ILE’ers,

Congratulations on becoming part of the Irish Life Experience Program. It is coming up pretty quickly and I hope you are all excited. I am very excited for you. You are about to venture on a life changing journey. You will soon discover a whole new world while also discovering yourself. You will be invited to step outside your comfort zone, try new things, and challenge yourself. You are about to discover who you really are and the change will touch your life for the better. This journey to Ireland will mean so much more to you than you can even imagine at the moment. In order to enjoy the fullness of the Irish Life Experience there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First off, do not be afraid. I know that stepping out into the world on your own can be nerve wracking. I’m a tiny Kansas girl who had barely stepped foot outside the Midwest-let alone the US, before my trip to Ireland. Believe me, I know that it can be a little on the uneasy side, but I promise you that you have nothing to worry about. Let go of all your fears and trust in those around you. They will become your new family. Taryn and all the ILE Staff are some of my favorite people in the world. You will be in good hands. Trust in them. Confide in them. They will take care of you and become some of your greatest friends. If you have any worries at all-they will gladly take the weight off your shoulders.

Along with letting go of your fears and trusting in those around you comes the ability to keep an open mind. Without an open mind, your time in Ireland will not be as impactful as it should. Experience all you can on your journey. Open up to all that surrounds you and absorb it all. Live entirely in the moment. Embrace the sounds, smells, and feel of Ireland. Every second will be special. You will cherish even the ordinary moments of this extraordinary journey.

Make sure you take lots of pictures. Talk to everyone you meet. Experience the culture. Buy keepsakes. Enjoy every second. Cherish the people you are with and create memories that will live with you forever. And at the end of the day be sure to write it all down in a journal. This journal will become one of your most cherished possessions from the trip. Write down all that you experienced and every emotion that ran through your body. Write down the big events and the minor things that happened in the day. You will be grateful to remember it in every detail. I read through my journal often and I cherish the memories it holds. At the end of our journey, I even had everyone write a note in the back of my journal. It is the greatest “souvenir” from my trip.

Good Luck on your journey and I wish you all the best. Make the most of it and enjoy every moment, as it will come to an end way too fast. I wish I was joining this year for I would LOVE to go back again. Be sure to start packing now so that you do not forget anything. Be prepared for it all. Make sure to send lots of postcards, especially to those in your life who have given you this wonderful opportunity. You are very blessed. Have a wonderful trip!

Sincerely,

Sydney Alexander

Helpful Advice from ILE 2010 Alumnus, PK Creedon!

Hello 2011 ILE’ers!

You are all about to embark on one of the greatest adventures of your lifetime: Exploring the Emerald Isle! I’m PK Creedon and I had the pleasure of traveling all over Ireland last summer with the Irish Life Experience. I am completely jealous because I wish I was going back with you guys again! I wanted to provide a couple packing tips and suggestions before you guys depart in a few short weeks!

1. Have fun. Do not let any little things spoil the short time you all have there! It goes by so quick!

2. Bring an open mind. When consuming food-it may not all taste particularly delicious, but it helps you become more acclimated to their culture and it is better for you, too!

3. Do NOT over pack. Your suitcase will literally double in size after the first week of souvenir shopping.

4. You will hit souvenir shop upon souvenir shop. Only buy things you LOVE.

5. Visit an Internet Café once or twice to update friends and family back home. They are really easy to find!

6. Bring car ride games! Boggle, Bananagrams, a deck of cards, or Catch Phrase (But don’t forget to take the batteries out of that game-otherwise it will sound like a bomb is going off on the plane if it goes off and you might lose your life). We spent the majority of our down time tossing a frisbee or playing a ton of different card games!

7. Possibly weigh your luggage ahead of time so you have a general idea if you will have to pay extra money for your suitcase. It may be cheaper and smarter to bring two suitcases instead of paying for one that is over weight.

8. Bring a rain jacket and umbrella. The weather was beautiful last summer, but rain is sporadic.

9. Tell your parents to not miss you too much! Mine were always checking the ILE Blog! Taryn does a great job of updating them on everything!

RULE NUMBER 10. Sing on the bus rides! Take a bagillion photos! Laugh until you cry! Cry until you laugh! Don’t miss home too much! It’s only a month and the people you’re traveling with will become family! Have a blast!