Summer 2011 has been the longest summer of my life. Not just because an amazing experience is waiting at the end, but quite literally. My break started in the middle of May and will last until the middle of September – a full 4 month summer. As all my friends begin returning to school and starting the new semester, I still have almost a month of summer… to endure. The pure anticipation is excruciating. I want to be there. I want the experience to start.

Having lived in Richmond for half my life, I only have a simple 10 minute drive to visit friends on campus. Some of which are returning from Europe themselves (from summer abroad programs). Hearing stories from my friend Marielle who studied German in Austria only intensified my excitement. She made great friends and traveled to amazing places. She wished her trip would not end.

When September 18th rolls around, I will FINALLY board a plane heading to Derry, Northern Ireland – which is what this blog is all about. Hi, I’m Julia, by the way. I am a junior at UR studying Business Administration (with a concentration in Marketing) and Studio Art. This is a strange combination, I know, but it has a purpose. My dream job (for now) is something in the advertising/graphic design industry. So, at the University of Ulster, I will be taking graphic design classes… hopefully. At the University of Ulster (and many other European universities) registration begins upon arrival. Having been pampered by the luxuries of BannerWeb, I am terrified to attempt registering on paper. I have a list of classes that I want to take, but we’ll see how that goes.

As for other preparations for the trip, I’m still working on that. I have made travel arrangements (including 3 connecting flights, 2 layovers, and and a 2 hour bus ride) plus I have a place to live. I will stay in an apartment in Duncreggan Student Village. I know I am living with some roommates, but I guess I will meet them when I get there. My passport and other important documents are stapled and neatly sitting in a folder ready to go. It is almost impossible to walk across my room due to the numerous piles of stuff I plan to take. I definitely need to start weeding some items out. More important, however, is my mental preparation. Right now I am fine – calmly excited. I assume the freak-out will begin when I cross the threshold of the airplane and take my seat. But for now, the wait continues…

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