My name is Julia Dudley and I’ll be one of your junior counselors for the ILE18, as well as the resident blogger! I am an alum of the 2015 ILE, which I went on during the summer before my senior year of high school. Now I am a junior at Cazenovia College (in New York State) pursuing my Bachelor’s in English with an Art History minor.
I have done a lot of international travel including the ILE15 and I actually just got back a few days ago from studying abroad in Poland for two weeks. Next semester I will be in Canterbury, England to study as well. So if you have any questions or fears about flying or travel, don’t worry and please feel free to find me on Facebook and send me (or any of our other amazing counselors) a message. For parents reading the blog, we intend to update it once a day when we head out and we’ll include lots of picture!
Before we go, there are a few tips I’d love to share with you — just for you to keep in the back of your mind.
Looking back, there are absolutely things that I wished I had packed for the ILE…but a lot of the things that I brought just took up weight in my suitcase. (One of my most treasured possessions is the “heavy” luggage tag I received at the airport on our way back to the states. I like to look at it and cringe.)
Without a doubt, I brought the wrong shoes on the ILE15! I had the flimsiest sneakers ever with me and I regretted it deeply. I also brought a pair of formal ankle boots that I never ended up wearing. Ever. So my first piece of advice is to bring some really sturdy and comfortable shoes because we will be doing a lot of walking! Personally, this time around I will be bringing my Doc Martens, a pair of sneakers, and a pair of flip flops that can double as shower shoes.
Cosmetics and Amenities
Your mileage may vary on this one. I brought a variety of travel sized soaps with me in 2015 and was able to make them last for the duration of the trip but it was very cumbersome. You can do that or you can wait until you get to Ireland to purchase stuff. I would recommend bringing at least something to tide you over for the first few days just in case you won’t be able to run out and go shopping. I also recommend bringing one or two towels with you and then use them as padding for fragile things inside your suitcase.
For medications, make sure you bring enough for your trip, make sure you call in and get your refills ahead of time, and make sure you bring them in the original packaging too! If you are lactose intolerant like me or have any other dietary concerns, please make sure you bring all of your supplements etc with you as well.
For some reason, I decided to pack things that I thought would be great in very specific outfits and things that I never wore on a day-to-day basis. What a mistake that was. I cannot encourage you enough to bring the clothes that you regularly wear. That includes one or two more formal outfits for nights we might go out for dinner as a group. Jeans, tee shirts and things that you can layer for warmth are my recommendations. Flannels and lightweight sweaters will probably be on heavy rotation for me. Of course, always check weather predictions and maybe bring something for a (rare) hot day just in case. And of course bring your raincoats! You will need them.
Make sure you get the right adapters and plugs for your chargers, etc. If you use hair straighteners or hair dryers, I would recommend forgoing them or finding some cheap ones when you get to Ireland. Even if they work with the adapters, they will probably not function well because the outlets in Ireland have a higher voltage. When I went in 2015, I did not bring my computer with me and that was probably one of the best decisions I ever made on the trip. I definitely would have been too worried about it getting damaged or misplaced to enjoy myself. If you use a Kindle or an iPad for reading, please make sure to be very careful about packing it.
That’s all for now! Your counselors and I are so excited to meet everyone and we can’t wait for you to have an amazing summer with us!