Journals from Ireland, National University of Ireland in Galway
20 February 2011
We have been in Ireland for just about eight weeks now. Time is flying by and it still seems as if it was just yesterday that our plane landed in Shannon. Here are some updates on the last eight weeks.
Currently, NUIG is at its midterm, which means we only have six weeks left of school. The schoolwork has been rather relaxed up until now with some light reading here and there. The library is usually packed by 10:00 am with students studying or fingers flying at the keyboard to write midterm papers. I have two essays due, but I’m almost finished with both of them so this has been one of my easier midterms in comparison to Linfield.
The Service Learning course I’m taking is proving to be very enriching. The class is designed into two sections. The first teaches how young students’ brains develop and ways that they learn and the other part involves weekly volunteering in local homework clubs. So each Wednesday I go to a school nearby and assist elementary-aged students with their homework. It is really enjoyable because I get a different taste of Irish culture. This last week I worked with a young boy who thought it was so cool that I was from America – it was like I was from a another planet. I’m constantly being asked if I personally know any celebrities. One time I had a little fun with it when I was asked about Arnold Schwarzenegger I said “Yes, in fact I had lunch with him just before I came to Ireland.” And that is all it takes to make their day. Of course I eventually confessed, but it is fun to see their eyes light up at such an idea.
Paris: At the beginning of February, I had my first glimpse of travel outside of the country. My roommates and I took a long weekend and went to Paris. In just four days, we saw a lot of the city and even took a day trip to Versailles. It turned out to be a wonderful first trip to the continent, but it left me with the travel bug.
Cork: The weather has started to warm, so this past weekend my roommate and I thought we would head to Cork, which is about three hours south of Galway. When we got there it was rainy and cold, but we decided to walk into the city and up to St. Anne’s Cathedral. It only took an hour before we were soaking wet! We learned a valuable lesson: check the weather forecast before traveling, even if the weather seems nice. Although the weather was gloomy, I found Cork to be a great city. It was very similar to Galway because of the sense of youth, but it had the grandness of Dublin.
Belfast: This weekend the International Student Society is headed to Belfast in Northern Ireland, so a few Linfielders and I are going to get a taste of the North.
I will update in a few days after I return from Belfast.