Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Week Eleven

            The best way to meet local people is to head out to the pub on any night of the week. Every time we go out, it seems we come home having had a good conversation with someone we didn’t know before. Because classes are only once a week, you don’t really have time to get to know people unless you’re super outgoing. But a pub is the perfect atmosphere to meet new people.

            I haven’t really made too many big purchases while abroad. As I’m not really that much of a spender as it is. The different currency isn’t all that much for me to get used to. It only takes a couple of weeks to be able to pick the different coins from your wallet without having to look at them. However, keeping within a budget has been hard for me because of the constant rate of change as far as exchange goes. The economy at home has been fluctuating a lot. So, the amount of the dollar has seen better days. With this, it makes it harder to keep track of the exchange rate because it changes on a near daily basis.

Week Ten

            I feel that as a whole, all of the classes that I’m taking this semester are really interesting. My Irish Experience course is really helping me to gain a real understanding of the culture that I’ve immersed myself in. We spend the first hour learning Irish history. And I really enjoy the second half where we learn traditional Irish music and sing songs.

            My favourite place to study is probably my room. Seeing that we don’t have room mates its really easy to just shut your door and out in your headphones to block out the world and get work done. That’s probably where I am most productive.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Week Nine

            I haven’t had too much of a problem adjusting to the way they talk over here. There are certain slang words that I wasn’t aware of upon arriving. Like, instead of saying, “What’s up?” like the do at home, people will greet you with “What’s the craic?” Which is something I’m still not sure I fully now how to respond to. Other than that, I’m just enamored by the marvelous accents of my fellow Irish people! :]
            Something that I’ve noticed while being here, however, is the use of Gaelic that I wasn’t aware of before I came over. I knew that the Irish had their own language. However, I didn’t know that it was still pretty prevalent in their culture to this day. Of course, everyone primarily speaks English. However, I’ve come across a few people who still use Gaelic as their common tongue. It’s really interesting to listen to, because the phonetics of the language give you a bit of an understanding as to why their accent sounds the way it does.

            I’ve met a girl who learned Irish all throughout primary school and wasn’t introduced to English until she was in our equivalent of the fifth grade. Because of that, she says she has a hard time translating in her head and finds that it sometimes gets mixed up along the way. It’s really interesting to hear these sorts of stories in a country that most people find primarily English speaking.

Week Eight

My favourite landmark in Carlow is coincidentally the school I’m studying at. The town is small, and there are some amazing historical places, but I really love the school I spend most of my time in. It’s a gorgeous campus with a lot of history behind it.

Field trips are absolutely amazing. On selected Fridays, we head out to various places around Ireland. It’s probably for the best that it’s for credit because it’s starting to get harder and harder to get out and explore as the assignments have piled up.
Below are some pictures of places we’ve been!

Gorgeous Waterfall in Glendalough

Trinity College in Dublin

Gorgeous Beach

I climbed a mountain! 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Week Seven

The meals here in Ireland are not that much different than those at home. I have noticed a few differences in the food choices. As I am a picky eater at home, I’ve found it a little harder to find the same options at home as I do here. Being a poor cook doesn’t help much either.
            The food is very centered around meats. They love their pork and beef over here! There are certain things that I’ve noticed over the time I’ve been here. The dairy products are much different than at home. The cheese and milk are different because their cows are not fed on the same things ours are. They’re much more natural than ours taste. Their peanut butter is different, too! Many people don’t like it much. However, I am starting to enjoy it more than the peanut butter at home. There’s a lot less oil and it taste much more like peanuts.
            I eat most of my meals at home, in our accommodation. We have fully stocked kitchens that enable us to make whatever we need. We just need to head to the grocery store about once a week for shopping.  
            I haven’t had much of the local food. There are occasional stops to local “chip shops” on weekends. They’re quite popular over here. It’s just an in and out shop that has a lot of quick foods. It’s really interesting to see how hamburgers, pizza, and kebabs are all served at the same place.
            Overall, my diet has mainly consisted of quite a lot of frozen meals, as they keep better than the other foods do. I also eat a lot of pasta, chicken nuggets and pizza. It’s not that much different than college life at home, where you’re on a diet of whatever is fast and easy to cook. 

Week Six

            While abroad, we have Eric who acts as our academic advisor and oversees us as while we are here. He has worked with us to arrange our academic schedules. He has also created schedules for the deadlines of our essays and exams. When we arrived, he was there to pick us up from the airport and take us to our accommodation.
            We also have Sister Mary who works at the college. She was our instructor for the first few weeks of Irish Experience where we got a religious and cultural background to the Irish tradition. She is also the one that takes us on our field trips as part of our Irish Experience course.
            Overall, they have both done an amazing job at making our stay here as comfortable as possible. Sister Mary especially has been around to help us with everything we have needed. She has been here to check up on us to make sure we are happy with our stay here, and to ensure that we are all doing well.

            Our classes are starting to pick up now. We’re learning a lot in the single session classes we have per week. My favourite instructor thus far is my Christology professor. She is extremely knowledgeable in her subject and creates an amazing atmosphere to learn in. She was also previously in charge of the American students who were over here in Ireland. With that, she is very understanding to our situation as international students and takes time to explain things to us in a way that we would understand.