Journals from Galway, Ireland
2013-04-13 A Whirlwind Month
Eiffel tower at night from Seine River cruise
Wow. It has been exactly one month since I last wrote, and looking back I cannot believe how much has taken place since then! It has been the most packed, challenging, and adventurous four weeks of my study abroad experience, and I have enjoyed every minute of it!
Since I last wrote, one of the biggest focuses of my time has been finishing up school. The Irish school schedule is much different from Linfield’s. Regular classes only run until the last week in March. Students then have a two-week break, followed by an exam period that stretches from the middle to the end of April. In my case, however, I selected classes that base grading on final papers rather then in-class exams. I spent many a March night chipping away at my lengthy final papers, but it all paid off! Last Monday I turned all of my papers in and am now officially done with school for the semester!
One of the biggest motivating factors in being proactive about paper writing was that I wanted to enjoy travel I had planned without the stress of looming schoolwork. By working hard in Galway during the week, I was able to spend every weekend in March exploring Europe at its best. After the first week in Italy, I returned to Galway to spend St. Patrick’s Day weekend in true Irish style! Shop Street was decorated for the occasion and packed with green clad enthusiasts, who were merrily bringing in the national holiday. The following weekend I packed my backpack and zoomed down to Paris. It was a short stay, but I was able to see a lot of the beautiful city by navigating the metro system, taking a bike tour of the city, and hopping on a night cruise of the river Seine. After a crunched final week of classes, I brought in the Easter holiday with a trip to Prague. It was amazing! The beautiful city was brightly colored with its annual Easter markets full of intricately decorated eggs and delicious baked treats. We wandered the old cobbled streets, enjoying the incredible view and the light snowfall.
In the end the hard work paid off! I cannot believe all the experiences I have gained this month! My eyes have been opened to so many new cultures, foods, languages, architecture styles, and people. With school all wrapped up, I look forward to the adventures the last leg of my study abroad experience has in store!
Happy summer break!
Irish Phrase of the Week: Craig -- A phrase meaning fun!
Example: What’s the craic?! (What is happening?!)