I came to Ireland after already being out of high school for a year, spending my previous gap year on an academic program in England and two culturally immersive volunteer programs in both Asia and South America, so when it came time for me to search for my next program, I had a clear picture of what I wanted. To be in a long-term group setting, to live in one place but still take trips and explore my surroundings. To be active and outdoors, but I also wasn't looking for something too extreme. I wanted balance, something that would be good for someone who wouldn't call themselves "athletic" or "outdoorsy." I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone, but not too far out! Irish Gap Year seemed to fulfill all of my requirements, and thus far it has met my expectations, and even surpassed some of them! For the first two months of the program we went out surfing at least two-to-three times a week, more if you were really keen! And we usually included two hikes every week exploring the beauty that is Northwestern Ireland. We also ventured out of our little bubble into the wider Ireland, taking three day trips into places like Dublin, Galway, and Belfast, a nice break from small town living especially as the weather turned and it was no longer pleasant for the more "outdoorsy" portion of the program. You get a full picture of Ireland and its people, who, by the way, are five-star. Our leaders too are amazing, easy to talk to and come with a wealth of experience, and are truly amazing people to learn from and get to spend three months with. The town of Bundoran is small, very small. During the summer season and all through September and October this was not a problem as it is a popular surf and outdoor destination. It is therefore full of new and exciting people to keep the town's vibe young and vibrant and your Friday and Saturday pub night's interesting! But as the good weather passed so did most of the tourists, and weekends in Bundoran grew slower. But fear not! Our program leaders allowed for the schedule to be flexible, so if we needed a change of scene, they wouldn't hesitate to see our needs met, sometimes taking us out of town for the weekend, etc. Living in a house with eight other 18 year-old's is been interesting to say the least, and is just as complicated as it should be expected. Kitchen and bathroom habits will always be a point of contention! Living with the same people and doing all of my activities with the same people was, for a self-admitted loner, a challenge, but all in all has taught me many valuable lessons and is not something I regret, no matter how difficult or out of my comfort zone it was. The leaders do try to help in this regard, they are attentive to the needs of both the individual and the group. As one of the guinea pigs in their first gap year program, I can honestly say that the program has been a success and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone interested in signing up for it in the future.