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!


Sydney Alexander

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Trip Dates: June 30-July 24, 2024