It has been such a wonderfully eventful time in Dublin so far – to be able to return as a full-time student to the city I have grown to love over the years as my third home has been so rewarding, enlightening, and an opportunity to reflect on how my journey as part of the Syrian diaspora has evolved over the years. Whether it be through time spent in late night conversations amongst flat mates in the Graduates Memorial Building, shared co-prepared dinners with fellow Mitchell Scholars in the city pursuing a plethora of passions away from home, or conversations with classmates deeply passionate about international healthcare delivery and equity in my Masters of Global Health program, Dublin has been a place where I have been grateful to be able to build community, and grow to love the new world that this experience has unlocked for me.
It’s always hard to know what to write about when so much has happened – but most beautifully, as I take the opportunity to pursue Global Health at Trinity, I have had the opportunity to be more connected to my daily surroundings, more conscious of the relationship building with both Irish students and fellow international students that come to Trinity from all over the world for the sharing of knowledge and intercultural exchange. My return to Dublin has also given me the opportunity to grow my relationship with my host family who I lived with during a summer internship at National Children’s Research Center in 2018, and explore with them parts of the Irish Sea coastline, and grow my appreciation for the value of the extended Irish family unit, and the way in which they always gather to celebrate, mourn, love, and overcome collectively.
The Mitchell Scholarship has also given me the wonderful opportunity to dive into the history of Dublin and Ireland, as a modern European city whose history is intertwined with struggle for independence, a national identity rooted in resistance, and a dedication to strengthening its linguistic, literary, and sociocultural histories. We have been able to visit as a group EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum, the Literature Museum of Dublin, as well as exposure to the incredible publicly funded initiatives in Enterprise Ireland to bolster Irish innovation starting at the University level and beyond. We’ve explored natural and urban settings around Ireland with an appreciation of the past, present, and future of the Island and all the things it had been through and everywhere the people of Ireland strive to take it every day.
During my first month at Trinity, I was able to witness firsthand the student commitment to organizing and advocacy, with the mounting struggle for housing and living expenses, amidst a national housing crisis whose effects are felt at the university level, and the university’s commitment to uplift student voices even when the journey to a fairer future is not straight forward. During a speech by the College’s first female provost in its 429 year history, there was a burning ember of hope for a future, and a commitment to unilaterally address inequities in the student experience. I am looking forward to the months ahead, and all that is yet to be discovered in this wonderful city and beyond.