What I learned from my first international travel experience

Ireland Keychain

Just as I wrote about preparing for the trip to Ireland, I also wanted to do so with a reflective post. Two weeks after we returned to Philly, my travel group met to reflect on our time abroad as well. But before I continue on about our meeting, I have a lot to share about what I learned along the way.

There were quite a few things I learned for next time I visit the country of my ancestors. Some had to do with the academic side of going to Dublin, gaining a lot of business knowledge as a result. For instance, I learned business plan formats and the overall assignments made me wonder if one day I’ll start a photo company abroad. It wasn’t something I ever thought of before, but afterward, I felt that it was more possible to happen sometime.

My newfound knowledge also had a great deal to do with international travel and dealing with tech gear. There were some things I hadn’t even thought of, what with taking care of many other details. So, for any future international travel, I’ll remember what to bring:

  • More than one charged battery for my DSLR camera
  • International SIM card for mobile tech gear
  • Portable charger (I’ve since seen a few that work as a power bank)
  • Set my phone to airplane mode (I forgot and simply never turned it on in flight)
  • A zip-close wallet with passport section (I didn’t lose anything valuable, but just prefer this style)

That first one applies to general travel as well, since I can wear out my DSLR battery taking tons of photos wherever I go. I also wished I had a solar charger, which I had been looking into before hearing about the opportunity to visit Ireland. My phone’s battery dies out so quickly, even on the shortest of day trips. But the option of a power bank portable charger seems like a great solution.

When shopping for adapters, I found the one on the left in the photo at a store in Delaware. The packaging had a color-coded map on the back, showing that it was good to use in Ireland. But when I got there, it turned out to be the wrong type of adapter. On the right is the correct one, which I bought at a store across from Trinity College. It wasn’t until later in the trip and before then, a couple of others were very helpful in letting me borrow a three-pronged adapter.

Outlet Adapters

TCD Outlet

I also learned several Gaelic words, as well as English phrases local to the region, in Dublin and on the way to Connemara. While going through the airport, I spotted signs regarding photography. Since I didn’t take photos there, I looked it up later on a website called Irish Dictionary Online. More things I found out:

  • Properties with space to rent had signs that read “to let”
  • Soda is called a “split”
  • Many different coins are used in Euros

Money Exch Euros

Kilmainham Gaol was a particular site in Dublin that I didn’t know much about beforehand. Once there, I learned a great deal about its dark past, as well as its moments in pop culture when used for a filming location.

Check out my movie blog post on Film Inspired, for other cinematic-related sites I saw in Ireland.

I also rounded up the Irish literary sites visited along the way. Read my post about them on my Bookish Grad blog.

After looking into Ireland travel for so long prior to hearing about this trip, I knew of many sites in Ireland that I hoped to see. I loved the details that seemed hidden or seeing the sites I somehow hadn’t known about beforehand. Looking down just for a moment and seeing horseshoes decorating a sidewalk. Looking up at “The Spire” and its impressive height towering over Dublin.


The Spire

One of my favorite moments like this was spotting the castle ruins, mentioned in my previous post. I wasn’t sure if I’d find out anything about it, similar to when I pass by a very old and long-abandoned house that doesn’t have a marker telling its history. Back home, I found on using Google Maps that the name of the mysterious ruins was Rattin Castle and it was one that I hadn’t heard of until then. I have a lot of books on castles of Ireland, but never came across this one; I loved that this trip led to new-to-me sites and info about the country.

Rattin Castle Inst

Toward the end of August, our global studies group had a follow-up meeting to share our experiences. We talked about what we learned relating to our business proposal assignments. The staff gave out a prize for the scavenger hunt winner and everyone got to pick souvenirs for individualized awards. Included among the awards were themes such as “best luggage,” “photographer,” and many others. Mine was “journalist” because the staff saw me writing in my journal throughout the trip. I chose a Titanic keychain for my award.

Before the meeting ended, we exchanged contact info in our journals and were told about a staff member’s Facebook album in which to share our photos. Since then, many great photos have been uploaded by staff and students alike. They showed an amazing experience overall for everyone.

The trip staff also told us about possible plans for another travel opportunity next summer. Some of the places mentioned were Italy, Spain, Scotland and a few others. Like going to Ireland, it would be academic in nature and whoever attends would have to be enrolled in a business-oriented program. I don’t know if I’ll sign up for one of the required programs; I have to look into what’s available for non-thesis graduate certificates. So, whether I go on the next summer study abroad trip or continue international travel on my own / with family or friends, I definitely want to visit those countries sometime.

I don’t know when I’ll get to visit Ireland again; there aren’t any plans set in motion just yet. But until then, I’m going to write more about it every so often. Since I have many other places I want to see next time, I’ll put together lists of them by the Irish county in which they’re located.

About caroldwyer

A freelance photographer and blogger, I'm also a non-traditional graduate of Cabrini College with a B.A. in communication, minor in English and concentration in film studies. As a student, I was a staff writer, photographer and copy editor for the Loquitur. In my final semester, I assisted in promoting campus literary events for Woodcrest Literary Magazine. I love travel, historic places, nature, wildlife and the arts. I hope to be involved in some way with one of those areas throughout my media career. Currently, I'm pursuing my M.F.A. in creative writing and publishing. Read my film blog at http://cdwyerfilminspired.wordpress.com - and my literary blog at http://cdwyerbookishgrad.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Air Travel, Dublin, Global Studies, International, Ireland, Passport, Photography, Study Abroad, Travel, What To Pack and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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