Gap Chats #2

Gap Chat #2 is with Kyle Kredt: a super cool gal currently living like a local in Dublin. Kyle mixes her weeks with adventure and working. In any way, let’s hear from Kyle…

Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?

During my junior year of college, I had a classmate that was a Stinter intern. I remember sitting in class absolutely fascinated that she had gone abroad and worked in Ireland for a few weeks. I wanted to study abroad while in school and was never able to make it happen, but I decided the day I heard about my classmate’s experience that I was going to try out a gap year after I graduated college.

….and why Ireland?

I didn’t look into any other gap year programs because I knew I wanted to do it in Europe. Ireland seemed like a great introduction to a continent I had never visited.

Gap Chats #2 (Photo Credit: Ayla Graney)
(Dublin: close enough to Europe, yet far enough away to feel like a tiny continent in itself!)
The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

For me, the weirdest thing about Dublin is the weather. It can change quickly throughout the day, sometimes making it hard to know how to dress appropriately.

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

Being in Ireland and living in Dublin has been everything I thought it would be and more. The people are lovely, the culture is amazing, and there is so much history.

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

Right now I am doing a lot of reception/admin work. Since one of the main reasons I took a gap year was to travel, a 9-5 office schedule is really nice for weekend trips.

Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?

My advice would be to do your research. Whether you’re considering an internship or a gap year, you’ll want to be prepared.

 

So far Kyle has visited England, France, Switzerland, Germany and various parts of Ireland. I would highly recommend heading over to Kyle’s Instagram (@kylej0rdan). Her Insta-feed contains epic travel pictures, glorious food and lots of humor!

Stinter Ayla Graney

Gap Chats #1

Let us introduce our Gap Chats series. Over the next few weeks, we will feature some of our Gap Year Stinters, share their stories, what they are working at and hear the advice they have to offer. Although each Stinter story is completely unique, you will see that everyone shares similarities in reasons or ambitions to do a gap year. Why did we decide to create blog posts around their stories? Well, because they are pretty awesome and we also get a lot of questions from prospective Stinters about connecting with others that are like them! So here goes…

Gap Chat #1 is with Stinter Ayla Graney. Over to you Ayla!

Tell us a little about why you chose to take a gap year?
As my college graduation date quickly approached, I knew I was not ready to settle down and find a steady job. Since studying abroad in New Zealand, my desire to travel and explore different cultures has become an important (and arguably vital) part of my life, so it seemed natural to take a gap year.

 

….and why Ireland?

There are many reasons why I chose to take a gap year in Ireland, but the two main deciding factors were my family’s Irish history and the unique visa that Ireland offers for U.S. citizens who have recently graduated from college. Other reasons include the unreal natural landscapes (which satisfies my need to sit in trees), the ever-flowing Guinness (which makes my stomach full and my heart happy), and how close I am to an airport (which fuels the travel photographer in me).

 

Gap Chats #1 (Photo Credit: Ayla Graney)
(Some of Ayla’s crazy amazing travel photographs!)

 

The weirdest thing about Dublin is…?

I love Dublin – its canals, its proximity to other coastal towns, its diversity… the list goes on for ages. I think that the weirdest aspect (but also something I have come to enjoy) is how it is not a picturesque Irish city. It, of course, has areas that have the stereotypical Irish vibe, but Dublin is different from other Irish cities, like Galway. It’s perfect the way it is, and it allows me to better appreciate the times that I am able to explore outside the city center.

 

Has it lived up to your expectations so far?

When I moved to Dublin, I didn’t really have any expectations – I think that’s a primary factor to true happiness. That said, Dublin feels like home, and I think that is the best way to describe how comfortable and welcoming it is to live in this city.

 

Explain what kind of work you are doing?

Currently, I accept temporary jobs when I can get them, but most days I go to a cafe (or curl up on the couch in my pajamas) and work on graphic design and photography freelance work that U.S. clients have assigned me. While this style of work is not always reliable, it allows me to live and travel a bit more freely. Temporary positions are also incredibly flexible, and working with different Irish agencies has been a great addition to my freelance gigs.

 

Have you any advice to people who are considering a gap year?

My biggest advice to individuals who are considering a gap year is to be entirely open and take the time to get to know yourself. I started this gap year thinking that I knew myself quite well, but after taking multiple solo trips and spending many days alone, I have become even more independent and self-aware than I was previously. Being comfortable with yourself also makes traveling with others a lot easier, as it gives you the independence to go off on your own if what you want to do doesn’t align with the group mentality. Traveling with friends is an incredibly fun experience, but having an understanding of your own mind makes everyone happier – trust me 🙂

 

Ayla is currently exploring Ireland and Europe whilst freelancing. We highly recommend following Ayla’s gap year journey on Instagram (@aylagraney), her pictures will give you all the wanderlust feels!

A Gap Year: Is It Really Worthwhile?

Dear Potential Gap Year Stinter,

Today I thought of you. I thought of you and the choice that lies before you: do I take a leap of faith and partake in a gap year in Dublin? This is no small decision. It must be weighed on personal, spiritual, financial, practical and social levels.

 

“But what I want you to know — what is imperative that you understand — is that taking this step is the single most loving gesture you could make towards your own personal growth”

 

I thought of you as I listened on my walk to my Wednesday afternoon podcast, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text. The hosts were discussing what it means to protect and love something or someone. And Casper – I say his name as if we are close friends – Casper said, “To protect something, you need to love it. And to love it, you need to know it.” And I was almost halted in my tracks as I realized that before my time in Dublin I didn’t know myself, not really. If I had known before I moved the girl I was, am, and will be, I had lost sight of her for a time.

Back home, I felt stuck. I had graduated from college with two degrees and honors, and yet I was waiting tables and moonlighting as a science fiction editor. I was still piecing myself together after my greatest heartbreak to date and the subsequent return of my clinical, and nearly fatal, depression. I was living at home and felt my youth was being wasted on my claustrophobia-inducing small town. Looking back on it I know that this isn’t an uncommon sentiment for someone my age. There’s a reason Taylor Swift sings, “We’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time.” I felt trapped and I wanted out.

 

A Gap Year: Is It Really Worthwhile

A Gap Year: Is It Worthwhile

 

 

“That’s who I was when I applied to the program. That’s not who I am anymore”

 

 

 

 

Travel, Live, Grow.

I’m nearly to the six month anniversary of my arrival in Ireland. I’ve traveled all around the country and then some. I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone and I’ve hiked through the Wicklow mountains. I’ve toured the Ring of Kerry and I’ve traveled by rickety plane over to the Aran Islands. I’ve danced the night away at Flannery’s and seen a concert at Whelan’s. I’ve traveled north, stood on the Giant’s Causeway, walked the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and even met Kit Harrington. I’ve jetted over to Edinburgh and climbed Arthur’s Seat, and I’ve even traveled to London to see my future school.

 

A Gap Year: Is It Worthwhile 3

But it’s not the physical journeys that make up my Stint experience. And, although I love them dearly, it isn’t my Stint family either. It’s my Sundays.

This Is Why It’s Worth It…

On Sundays, I wake up at 10:30 a.m. and walk the quarter mile to the gym. I get on the bike and I ride with a room full of strangers through what is always a humbling workout. Then I go to church in all my sweaty, panting glory. On my way home, I stop by Brother Hubbard South and pick up a scone, jam, and butter. And then I feast at the kitchen table with my housemates recounting our last two nights. I boil myself a cup of tea and I breathe.

 

For what feels like the first time in years, I am content.

 

Sometime during the day I go to Lidl, just twenty minutes away, and pick up my food for the week. I listen to James Bay serenade me through my headphones on the walk by the canal filled with swans. I meander through the grocery aisles and then stuff my reusable grocery bags (because that’s all they have in Ireland) with sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, and barbecue sauce.

Back at the house again, I start to work a new freelance gig, happy to have some contact with the industry that I love. Around 5:00 p.m., I FaceTime my parents. I tell them I love them, that I’m grateful for their support, and that I’m happy. I mean all three.

 

A Gap Year: Is It Worthwhile 4

 

Sundays are my favorite days because they are the days when I feel at home. And that is no small feat. I’m very aware of the sacrifices I have made, the trials I have endured, and the active choice I continually make to keep living.

 

I have reinvented myself from the nothingness that I previously felt I was, and I have formed myself into a young woman I am proud of.

 

I choose this life every day. I have a life I know, a life I love, and, as Casper predicted, a life I want to protect. And I make every effort to engage in those little daily acts of self-love.

And When It’s All Over

I know one day I will have to get on a plane and return to Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.A. I know one day I won’t be walking down the street with a scone in my pocket and my face towards the sun – which, by the way, is visible a lot more than the Irish propagandists want you to believe. I know one day I won’t wake up in this “dirty old town,” that one day I won’t be able to stop and marvel at the fact that I’m actually living in Dublin, that I’m actually doing it. One day it will be done. But I have gained more from six months as a part of Stint than I gained in four years of university and eighteen years before that. I’m never going to be able to replace the journey I have had during my time here.

It is because of my Sundays that I urge you to take a leap of faith. Make that gesture of self-love and give yourself a chance to grow into the person you truly are. I promise you, stranger, that gifting yourself this confidence is priceless.

With all my love and best wishes,

Rose

Rose Friel is a self-proclaimed ENFJ with a love of whiskey, books, and being an utter cliche. She graduated from Villanova University with a double major in English and Communications and will be matriculating to London College of Communication in September 2017 to pursue her masters in publishing. Check out her occasionally published works on Thought Catalog (http://thoughtcatalog.com/rose-friel/) or her flora legia style blog (http://www.theexpatmusings.com/). our journey! We are super proud of you Rose. 

My Journey to Interning in Ireland

by Tia Mitsis

For many young students a semester overseas, a gap year or internship sounds exciting. It sounded exciting to me too as a young university student. At the time I didn’t have the financial ability to do it. I yearned to have an exciting international adventure, I looked through the various semester abroad brochures at my university but it was a dream I knew I could not realize at that point in my life. Fast-forward a few years and here I am; an intern in the vibrant capital of Ireland, arguably one of the literary capitals of the world.

 

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

You don’t easily make the decision I came to. It is a risk to essentially walk away from a job and life you know to go overseas and work in an entirely different field. The decision required much soul searching and a keen sense of adventure. Everyone told me I was brave. I didn’t see it that way then. I saw it as a risk. A risk compared to the more predictable goings-on of daily reality. It is the fear of the unknown compared to the known. It was a risk I was willing to take. Now I embrace the ‘brave’ label proudly. It is brave to choose to live overseas for a period, complete an internship and experience a different life and culture.
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Going Against the Grain: Why I Chose to Intern Abroad

by Anna Schuttenhelm

 

 

From the posters in school, to my friends’ stories, to the pictures I pinned on Pinterest, studying abroad was on my mind for a long time.

 

To me, it seemed like everyone has studied abroad. Barcelona, London, Paris… I’ve heard all the stories. But as my college years progressed, the idea of studying abroad started to fade away. With each new semester, I became more and more invested in my major, my jobs, and the clubs I was a part of.

 

While I loved all of the amazing study abroad opportunities out there, I knew that a full semester away would not be possible unless I wanted to give up many of the things I worked so hard to achieve. That did not kill my want to travel and spend time abroad though.

 

There had to be another way.

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Home Is Where the Dessert Is

by Jacqueline Sirois

 

 

When living abroad in Dublin, you’ll find yourself wandering the stony streets of Dublin. Through the hustle and bustle of the city centre, you’ll soon transition from a wide-eyed tourist to being a local, learning to zigzag through the slow crowds in your path. You’ll become accustomed to this fast-paced way of life, getting used to the bus beeping at you as you scamper across that pesky third lane. But even once you take to your new surroundings, every so often, you’ll find little breadcrumbs along the stony streets taking you back home.

 

For me, that place in Dublin is Queen of Tarts.

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The Pokémaster I Aspired to Be: A Gap Year Story

by Emily Kelty

 

 

It’s 1998. Ash Ketchum walks out the door of his tiny house in Pallet Town, backpack on, hat firmly secured, and stylish blue vest fastened. He’s ready to take on the world, one Pokémon at a time. With Pikachu, Brock, and Misty by his side, there’s nothing he can’t do, even if Team Rocket shows up to wreak some havoc.

 

As a kid, I would wake up every morning, tousle-haired and bleary-eyed to watch Pokémon before school. My head swam with dreams of being a Pokémaster, journeying across new lands, exploring foreign places, and catching them all. I would squint down at my Game Boy Color as my miniature Ash ventured from gym to gym, wishing I could do the same.

 

It’s 2016. I walk out of my house, backpack on and suitcase in hand, ready to experience the world outside the confines of my home state where I’ve lived all the years of my young life. It’s not a typical day because this day I’ve been given a chance to go on a great adventure: a gap year working holiday in Ireland.

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A First Hand (Instagram) Look at Experiences in Ireland

We imagine that prospective Stinters (possibly you), thinking of embarking on an internship abroad or gap year, would like to get a better sense of what an experience abroad is like.

 

Considering that, we thought it would be a great idea to let our program participants take the reins of our Instagram account to give you a glimpse into life abroad as an intern or gapper.

 

So far, it has been incredible getting a first hand, behind-the-scenes look, directly from the Stinters themselves. There’s so many nuances to living abroad, from social life with the Stint community to travels abound.

 

Before we give you the highlights…

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