With warmest wishes, I would like to introduce myself- Hi! I’m Holly, a student who studied at UL but originally from Minnesota, USA.

At home, I attend the University of Minnesota and study communications, which I found was easy to study at UL, as well!

I find myself to be an avid smiler, laugher, dreamer, and traveller, which was easy to accomplish at UL.

Within my time in Ireland, my heart has been completely stolen by all of its beauty, people, and of course, pubs, and there is no doubt in my mind that your hearts will be stolen just as quickly as mine was.

Email: Holly.hackenmiller@ul.ie

Leaving Ireland     14 August, 2017    by Holly Hackenmiller

Well, it has been exactly 85 days since I last saw the greenest grass I have ever laid eyes on and it would be an understatement to say I don’t think of Ireland everyday. It has been a struggle getting back into the swing of a non-Irish lifestyle, but I am thankful to be back at home with my family.

Upon arriving in Shannon, I knew the minute I got off the plane that returning home was something that I knew I would struggle with. I instantly fell in love with a place I knew I couldn’t stay, but that only helped enhance every moment I spent in that beautiful country.

My last days at the University of Limerick were very bittersweet. Knowing that I wasn’t going to be coming back for a very long time, I took time each day to make sure I went everywhere on campus one last time. It was a very sad time having to say goodbye to the campus pubs, the people, and my personal favorite, the trail along the River Shannon. I was ready to go home and see my family, friends, and dog, but I knew I was leaving a big piece of my heart back in Ireland.

Once I had said goodbyes to the friends I made, my village, the campus, and of course, the Guinness, it was time to make the 12-hour journey back to Minnesota.

The first couple of days were packed full of family and friends but after unpacking and getting back into a normal routine, the realization of the semester I just had set in.

Coming home for me may have been tough but it has made me realize how blessed I am. Still to this day, it feels like the 4 and a half months I spent in Limerick were all a dream. My mind can’t even begin compensate all of the countless things I experienced while I was abroad and because of this I can’t feel anything but blessed and thankful.

I definitely miss my friends, the flowers, the extreme happiness you feel when the sun peaks through and hearing an Irish accent everyday but I am happy to be back with water pressure and my family.

Since I’ve been home, my life has taken a sinking in adventure but I know my next big journey is right around the corner. Right now, I have no set and stone plans for the future, but what I do know is that I WILL be coming back to Ireland sometime in the future.

As for my life now, I will take it one day at a time keeping in mind everything I learned from my time spent in Limerick. Even though it all seems like a dream, it’s nice to look back on pictures and chat with friends who experienced the best semester of your life with you. 

 I may miss Ireland every day but finding out my grocery store sells Digestives, Oatmeal, and Guinness makes the hole in my heart a little smaller.