After saying goodbye to my dad and walking onto the bus, I was beginning the start of a year long journey. We had a wonderful send off meal at the Ace Hotel, where I got to meet some of the other Victory Scholars and listen to some of the heads of the program speak. On the bus, I got to meet even more scholars and make connections with them. It was surprising the amount of overlap that there was between people that we knew. This led to very easy conversation. About the same time the next day, we would be arriving in Belfast.
We dragged out suitcases out of the bus and in through luggage check in JFK. All of us were fairly certain that our overstuffed suitcases wouldn’t make the weight limit. To our pleasant surprise, we were able to check two suitcases for free which kept us under the weight limits (shout out Aer Lingus!). We had about 4 hours till our flight left, so we all walked around looking for food. This turned out to be an important time for us to bond and become more familiar with each other. Maybe I could at least make one friend! I started to become more comfortable with everyone, and this made me more excited for the year. After a long 7 hour flight, we touched down in Dublin. After watching Caddyshack on the plane, I was able to get about 2 hours of sleep. I had successfully survived my first transatlantic flight! Once we made it through customs and located our luggage, we all dragged our heavy suitcases to another bus. After making it on that bus, we all fell right asleep for the 2 hour ride to Belfast. Then from Belfast, we squeezed, and I mean squeezed, into a smaller bus to bring us to Ulster University in Jordanstown. We settled into our rooms in Jordanstown a little after 2 p.m. local time. All we wanted to do was sleep, but we had to stay up until the night to avoid the jet lag. Somehow, we all managed to make it to the night. The whole trip was a blur, in and out of sleep, but we made it. Once we got on a normal sleep schedule I was ready to find out what our week in Belfast would entail!