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Jun 22, 2012
12:59 PM

Staying Local in Ann Arbor Makes for the Best Summer

She had dreams of studying in Ireland. Instead, this writer wound up visiting three states – and having an unforgettable college summer right at home.

Staying Local in Ann Arbor Makes for the Best Summer

One of my best summers ever started off as if it was going to be the worst.

I was accepted to the Ireland study abroad program at my college, which would take me to Dublin for six weeks. All that remained was waiting for the financial-aid numbers to be cranked out, so I could see how many scholarships I would be getting as well as how many loans. I had already talked to a financial advisor, and she had advised me that Ireland was one of the best choices financially; therefore, I was confident that my school would come up with a good financial-aid package for me.

When the numbers came in, I was crushed. The trip would cost $13,000, including tuition for both my college and the Dublin university, and they were only offering me about $4,000 – all of which was in loans. I desperately wanted to go to Ireland and study abroad, but I knew that it wouldn't be worth it for me to be paying back loans years after the trip, either.

I decided to stay in Ann Arbor that summer and work instead – and I got to travel to D.C. for the first time and NYC for a few days. I also went to Rhode Island, where my relatives live, for a week and a half, and disconnected by not having Internet during that time – which was actually rather nice.

Most of my friends had chosen to stay in A2 that summer too; we stayed up until 2 a.m. on the weekends playing Texas Hold'em poker (using candy for betting), watching DVDs and attending the annual Ann Arbor Art Fair in July. I didn't get to travel to Ireland that summer, but I did travel to London one summer later, and Paris this past April. Ireland is still on my "countries to visit" list; however, and I have faith that one day I will get there.

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