A few weeks back I made a weekend trip to Ireland touring both Dublin, and Galway along the Western coast. Despite being majority Irish I have never really felt connected to any particular part of my heritage. I mean I'm English, Irish, Scottish, and Native American. It was really interesting to visit where my ancestors were from though and I now have a much better understanding of Irish-American culture back in the States.
Also had my first hostel experience......not the nicest place in the world but it did the job just fine. At the very least we met a few characters in the process. One that really stood out however was this French girl named Lara. She had been staying in the hostel for three months with no apparent direction and was just sorting out her life after finishing her first year studying philosophy in Paris. She was very nice (despite enjoying Rousseau) but what struck me the most was that she was completely fine living in a hell hole in Dublin no idea what she is going to do with herself. You could never get away with that in the United States, and I cannot quite figure out why. We have a very different attitude about education and more importantly we leave our college educations with so much debt that roaming around for a few years is a financial impossibility. I also think it goes further than that though.
Similarly one of the interns who trained me here in my office has already graduated from University and is doing unpaid work while living at home. Due to student loans and pride most US students want to get jobs and get their own place as quickly as possible after graduation. One of the most interesting aspects of going abroad thus far has been seeing how the role of young adults varies from place to place.