Island Preparations

Formal Travel Necessities

RFID Blocking Passport Holders are Essential

International travel requires a balance of pre-departure planning with excitement of setting off on a new adventure!

The UMass Dartmouth International Program Office (IPO) offers comprehensive pre-departure briefings.  They emphasize the importance of health management; safety preparedness; registering foreign travel; and, understanding one’s expectations, balanced with those of both home and host schools and countries.

The IPO coordinates with expert counselors, nurses, and school administration to ensure students are prepared for the culture shock that typically ensues – inside and outside the classroom.  How to Deal with Culture Shock while Studying Abroad offers valuable insights.

For those interested in exploring #UMassDAbroad opportunities, check out While Abroad to discover the support you might receive while traveling!

A Surprise!

I was delighted to discover a month-long break in between law school finals in the States and Orientation Week in Ireland.  (Hello, Sleep!)

At UMass Law, our amazing Law Enrollment Center team and myriad advisors keep us on schedule – we select and enroll in courses months in advance.  Fun fact – when you’re an exchange student in Ireland, it may take weeks before your courses are finalized and you have access to syllabi.

My Ireland Advisor reflected I was the first student to ask for homework during orientation.  To my colleagues in the States, Ireland definitely has some best practices we might consider adopting!  And, to my esteemed Professors, I hope you’re pleased I’m prioritizing academics.

Embracing the Upcoming Departure

My family is close and we were grateful to enjoy the holidays together. After the New Year, I snuck off to work in Washington, D.C. before returning to the northeast for final preparations.

Everyone asks about packing, and the truth is that it can be a fun, family affair!  My brothers helped load my storage unit with everything I wasn’t taking – demonstrating their most advanced Tetris skills and brotherly patience.  Such gems!  They also helped me settle on hiking boots over snow boots.

I wanted to bring more stilettos than the scales allowed, and, since one brother was traveling with me, I snuck an extra pair of heels into his bag when he wasn’t looking.  It’s all about the strategy!  (Travelers – I highly suggest investing in a luggage scale. Thank you, Mum!)

My Irish accommodations did not allow me to bring my ragdoll, Ninja.  He would love the view of the River Shannon I currently have, but I am confident he is enjoying his time, helping my friend study law well into the night.  Support from friends and family is crucial, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude that he is safe, happy, and well cared for.

Ninja would adore Ireland

Golf clubs were prioritized, but what did I miss? Sheets, dear readers, sheets!  After almost two weeks of searching, Nuala at Strawberry Beds on the Dingle Peninsula set me straight!  So thankful for the new, crisp, white Irish linens.

Strawberry Beds, Dingle

Wheels Up

Airport navigation was easy.  We flew Aer Lingus.  The flight crew was friendly and we found the Irish clovers on the aircraft wings and earbuds delightful!  Upon arrival, the immigration officer at Shannon Airport was welcoming and offered suggestions on Ireland golf courses.  In transit, my golf clubs were misplaced.  Luckily, we were reunited in Cork City, the following day.

The best part about the departure was the arrival – the moment my brother said, “We’re in Ireland!”   – Cheers!

Touring the Cliffs of Moher with my Brother

What’s Next?  Look for an entry on some of the fun we had during my brother’s visit and how welcoming the University of Limerick and the people of Ireland are!  I also have a special segment planned for you, highlighting our robust International Society.

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