Having the privilege of currently studying abroad in Glasgow, Scotland, I have found myself becoming increasingly fascinated with the lands of the British Isles. Looking back into my childhood, I suppose that my interest in these lands has been long lived. However, due to a focus on more pertinent subjects in my American education, my interest in Ireland and its neighbors had to sit on the back burner while I devoted my time to places I was studying in school. Though I still currently study history, the focus of my studies has been too much focused on other areas, especially France and Germany, whose languages and cultures I also study. Lately, though, my attention has been called back to the lands of the British Isles, especially to the Emerald Isle.
In my teenage years, I became increasingly attracted to the culture and history of the British Isles, mostly through British television shows such as Doctor Who and Sherlock and also novels by British authors. However, I found that these popular culture outlets often focused primarily on England and excluded Wales, Ireland, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Once I hit college I began to learn so much more about the rich history and cultures of Ireland and the United Kingdom. There was so much I thought I knew about these lands, but in reality, I knew so little. For example, I didn’t even know that Irish was a language or that Wales was a country! Most of what I knew about Ireland and the United Kingdom came from the lens of an American education, which often just focused on the Irish in America, not the homeland. All the rest of the historical focus seemed to be on England.
In my freshman year in college, I found a strong desire to study abroad in the British Isles. But where would I choose? I knew I wanted to study in a country not strongly represented in British popular culture or the history I was taught. It really came down to Scotland or Ireland. The choice was difficult. In the end, I decided on Scotland. But my interest in Ireland has not waned. In fact, due to subjects, I am currently studying at the University of Glasgow my interest has only grown stronger. Through two Celtic Civilisation courses, I am taking I have learned so much more about Ireland. I have become increasingly fascinated by its history and people and my desire to spend time there has grown. There is so much more I can learn about Ireland and my wanderlust pulls me to the Emerald Isle more and more each day. And who knows? Maybe after a visit to Ireland, I would be called to change my academic focus. I have long been fascinated with languages and the Irish language is just waiting for me to discover its magic. I have only scratched the surface of Irish history and culture. Ireland is a place of history, magic, and history just waiting to be discovered. From its ancient castles to its green hills Ireland calls to me. Ireland holds a story so vastly different from any other and to visit there would be a privilege.
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