As a summer intern, I got the pleasure of spending 8 weeks in Dublin, Ireland, before returning to the United States. While I will admit that I did spend an extended weekend in London and took part in a couple of day trips to other areas in Ireland, I found that spending time focusing on exploring my host city had perks that traveling did not. This list is not meant to discourage anyone traveling abroad from taking advantage of all of the opportunities available while overseas, just to remind everyone that host cities offer a lot of opportunities themselves that should not be overlooked.
1. You don’t have to waste time traveling.
Europe may be smaller than the United States, but travel times start to add up if you spend every weekend traveling hours away from your host city.
2. You get familiar with local transportation.
I can honestly say that no matter where I go to in Dublin, I could always find my way home by simply finding a bus stop that caters to the 39A bus line.
3. You begin to see a connection between different locations, attractions, and figures.
The history of any city is interwoven through numerous sites that tie together. Especially in a city like Dublin, that still has the literal and metaphorical bullet wounds from 1916 rising, the War for Independence, and the Civil War displayed, it is easy to see how knowledge gained from a tour of the General Post Office, Glasnevin Cemetery, Kilmainham Gaol, and other museums/ historical sites build off each other. This leads to number 4.
4. You get a more in-depth knowledge of your host city versus gaining only a shallow understanding of numerous other places.
While I could have spent my time in Dublin getting to explore numerous cities throughout Europe, by staying in Dublin, I became as familiar as possible with the history, culture, and people. I got to find cafes, restaurants, and pubs that I enjoyed enough to become a “regular” at and where the workers recognized and interacted with me.
5. And most importantly, nothing makes you feel more at home or like a real local (or in my case, a “Dubliner”) than when someone stops you in the streets to ask for directions and you can actually point them towards the right way with confidence.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.