Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Thanks to Merrionsquare.ie, last week I started off my holiday season with a free wreath-making class, which included myself and a few other ACD students. It was a really wonderful opportunity and we all had a lot of fun!
Here I am with Helen, attaching a branch with wire.
And here is the finished product.
And here we are after we hung it on the door of ACD.
Several days later ACD took us out to eat for Thanksgiving! I felt so lucky to be celebrating with my friends, especially those who are on study abroad and will be leaving soon.
I haven’t written lately because I have just moved for the third time this semester and am currently in the midst of papers and exams. I’m now staying at a hostel. Before you cringe, it’s a nice hostel. It’s clean, safe, and there are warm showers (Previous accommodation was often lacking in warm water, I’ve never before been so appreciative of warm water!). I’m happy to be there, despite living out of a suitcase and washing all my clothes by hand in the sink (I’m too stubborn to pay 8 euros for the laundry mat!) You certainly learn about patience and flexibility when abroad! I’ll stay there until the end of the semester and then go to Germany for Christmas.
Another notable experience I’ve had recently is getting locked in the bathroom at school! The lock was jammed and there was not way to climb out. It was late in the afternoon, in a bathroom I don’t think gets used very much so I was really concerned that no one was around to hear me. I yelled for help and John, the maintenance-man-turned-superhero came and broke the door down. Literally--I had to stand on the toilet and cover my head. It was pretty traumatic! Thank you John!!
Wednesday, 6 November 2013
Recently I’ve been experiencing what I like to call little insert country here syndrome. This can be explained very well through a quote from an Italian friend of mine:
“I’m annoyed with my Italian friends. They never talk to anyone who isn’t Italian. It’s like they have created a ‘little Italy’ in Dublin”.
When a person goes to another country they naturally gravitate towards things that are familiar to them. They tend to socialize with people from their home country. To a certain extent, we really need this familiarity to help us cope with the stresses of being abroad. But the reason for going abroad is to broaden your horizons and if you’ve successfully created a bubble of all that is your home country, then what are you learning?
It’s too easy for us Americans to do this. Being in an English speaking country is very cushy compared to being in a non-English speaking country. When I was in high school, I did a year long study abroad in France. There were a lot of Americans in my program, just like there are now at my school. I can’t tell you how desperately I needed their friendship. I was so overwhelmed. My head hurt everyday from straining to speak another language. I desperately missed home and whenever I met another American there was a mutual feeling of “Nice to meet you, let’s be best friends!”
But what has struck me recently is that it is just so easy being here! Now, I am not complaining. I love it! I know how hard it can be and that makes me appreciate it so much more. But in a sense, I miss being forced outside my comfort zone and how that made me grow as a person.
So I’ve made it my mission to get to know more people, and do more things outside of school. I found a website meetup.com. It’s essentially a website that acts as a forum for various clubs all over the world. Dublin is full of meetup groups. I could join one for virtually any hobby. I went to my first meet up group with a friend from my class. It was a knitting circle. I am so glad to report back that during this meet up, I learned more about Irish culture in a few hours than I had during my previous study abroad here. It helps when you spend time with *Irish* people. I’m slightly ashamed of this, but it’s a great start.
In other news, last week I experienced the madness that is Dublin’s Halloween celebrations. It’s the biggest night to go out during this semester (next semester is St. Patricks day). I first got into the festive spirit by attending a free walking tour, with historian Pat Liddy, about Dublin’s so called “ghosts and ghouls”. It was a lot of fun. Halloween is a traditional Celtic celebration in Ireland called Samhain. The Celts believed that spirits could roam free on this night and that is why they dressed up—so that the spirits wouldn’t realize they were humans and move on instead of tormenting them. They also traditionally had, and still do, large bonfires. You know, the scare away the spirits. I think I did an excellent job of scaring away spirits, and also quite a few people, with my unicorn mask.
This is me and my friend MaryEllen, who is a study abroad student here at ACD. I chose this “costume” (it’s just a regular outfit with a mask) because I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes you just can’t take yourself too seriously.
Monday, 21 October 2013
I’ve gotten a lot of interesting pictures lately while walking around Dublin so I thought I’d do a little photo essay.
This first picture is of North Great Gorges Street. This is probably the most attractive street in Dublin. My picture doesn’t do it justice but I’m sure it looks even better in the movies that have been shot here. A friend of mine used to live here and told me how every once in a while, all the tenants on the street would get a notice in the mail to move their cars on a certain day to make way for film crews.
I wandered into a house that was being renovated on this street and found a tombstone propped against the wall!
I’m not brave enough but it’s a nice idea.
I went to a museum with my art class and this painting really stood out to me, as it seems to capture Ireland’s historical struggles. The artist is Patrick Graham.
This statue located in the parking lot of the Dublin Tourism Information Center, which is also an old church, is a little worse for wear. Legend has it (I can’t get any good sources but this is a story that’s been told for years) that it was once used for target practice by a rowdy, local gentleman’s club.
And lastly, some mysterious symbols I’ve noticed on the sidewalks of Temple Bar. This is the oldest area of the city. I’ve been doing research but still can’t seem to find out what they mean. The circular symbol is definitely a news real, as it is located just outside the Dublin Film Institute, and I’m still in the process of finding out about the others.
Monday, 14 October 2013
When St. Stephens Green Was a Battle Field
Things have been a little crazy for me here. Last week I was having a lot of trouble breathing and realized that what I thought was soot from the previous tenants smoking in my apartment is actually black mold. I decided to move out immediately and slept on my friends couch for a few days and now I’m staying in a guesthouse in Temple Bar with all the study abroad students. So I haven’t been getting a lot of work done. But things seem to be settling down now.
Last Saturday was one of those gloriously beautiful days that no one expects to happen. It was so warm and sunny that I didn’t even wear a jacket. I spent the afternoon in St. Stevens Green with some friends walking around, taking pictures, and just enjoying the wonderful weather. I think living in Dublin makes you a bit obsessed with the weather. Anyway St. Stephens Green is the most centrally located park in the city. It’s very scenic with a large pond full of swans and ducks, and lots of opens space.
While on my study abroad two years ago, I had a really wonderful history teacher. She’d ask us about the places we’d been visiting in Dublin lately and then tell us all these interesting things about the local history. Dublin of course has been the center of social and political strife for hundreds of years so it’s full of stories.
Lets say you are walking through St. Stephens Green right now. You’re admiring the sunshine, the flowers, birds chirping, children feeding the ducks, etc. Would you expect that ninety-seven years ago this place was a battlefield? Instead of birds chirping, you’d hear bullets whizzing past your ears, the flowerbeds would be ruined, there’d be trenches blocking all the entrances, and worst of all—there’d be very little cover as you get shot at from the tops of the surrounding buildings.
This was the Easter Uprising of 1916. St. Stephens Green was one of several areas taken over by the rebels on the Monday after Easter. The rising was unsuccessful due to lack of manpower and arms (Germany tried to sent a ship full of arms over but wasn’t able to get them to the rebels once they arrived in Kerry). But despite that it was the biggest uprising in over one hundred years and undoubtedly was an inspiration to the Irish people as The Republic gained independence four years later.
In the Green today there are several statues commemorating the rising and in my opinion the most interesting one is the bust of Countess Markievicz. She was the second-in-command of the rebels stationed there. This woman had an extremely interesting life! She was serving an elevated position in the Irish Citizens Army at a time when women couldn’t even vote in Ireland. She was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and her family was friends with W. B. Yeats so it’s likely that he influenced her political aspirations. She later went on to work in the nationalist movement for Irish independence. For this work she was arrested a total of four times, and during one of her stints in prison she was elected to the British Parliament, the first woman in all of Europe to do so. When she died, President Eamon De Valera was one of her pallbearers, and Yeats commemorated her life in a poem.
Knowing the history of a place makes me enjoy it so much better and because of my previous history teacher, I have been looking up information about a lot of different places in Dublin. So, more to come!
Monday, 30 September 2013
My name is Anna and I’m a second year student in ACD’s Liberal Arts program. When I was a first year at my school in the States, I did a semester abroad in Dublin. I loved the city so much and no college experience afterward was anywhere near as good as my time spent in Dublin. When you study abroad you get a glimpse of another life. It’s so foreign, exciting and fast-paced, that you are glad to return to the comforts of home when it’s all over. But in my case I wasn’t ready for it to end and I still wasn’t ready after more than a year at home. So now two years later, I have transferred to ACD. I will finish my bachelor degree in my favorite city and life is very good.
There is a popular pub on Wexford Street called Whelan’s. I used to walk past Whelan’s every day on my way to school when I was here for study abroad two years ago. I often amused myself on the 2-mile walk by experimenting with alternating routs, which is how I discovered my favorite spot in Dublin. Many people know Whelan’s but they don’t know the hidden gem just a block behind it on a quiet, unassuming row of houses.
This is where you will find St. Kevin’s Church: in a stonewalled in park, enclosed by heavy iron gates. The place is so unexpected, I think of it as a secret garden. The information I have gathered about St. Kevin’s is a little vague but this is what know: It is estimated that the original church was built around 11-1200 (the building you see now is from 1780). Dublin was a city founded by the Vikings who invaded Ireland. For a long time, St. Kevin’s Church was one of the last Gaelic strongholds in the Dublin area, as it was located just outside the city walls (now it is very much a part of the city center, or “downtown” as we say in the states).
The church became a popular destination for pilgrims in the 1500s, after Dermot O’Hurly was buried there. According to a plaque in the park, he was smuggled into Ireland as a missionary at a time when priests in Ireland where being hunted down and executed. He knew very well how risky his mission would be but he did it anyway, which is really incredible. When he was found out, he was imprisoned in Dublin Castle. They tortured him (to see if he would convert to Protestantism) and killed him. His resulting martyr status made his burial an important place for the ever-oppressed Irish Catholics at the time. Many notable Irish Catholics were buried there and their tombstones, now removed from the burial plots, line the walls of the park.
St. Kevin’s is so beautiful because the church is in ruins, covered in ivy. The old Celtic gravestones make one feel a sort of eerie reverence for the place. It’s very quiet there and it’s common to see people sitting alone, thinking to themselves. Its just such an unexpected, intriguing little park.
When I was here two years ago, the outside of its east walls had been turned into a canvas for a famous Dublin street artist called Maser of whom I am now a huge fan. ( MaserArt.com ) Now, two years later, there are new murals there. They don’t appear to be the work of Maser because of stylistic differences so I am very curious to know its origin. I’m a huge fan of street art for the same reason that I love St. Kevin’s: for its unexpected beauty. Dublin is full of street art, and things have changed in the two years that I have been gone, so I’m excited to see what I can find.
And finally, this weekend I spent an afternoon with some fellow Americans and a friendly swan at Pheonix Park, enjoying the unexpected (the best, once again!!) warm weather.
Monday, 22 July 2013
It’s hard to believe I’m beginning my final week in Ireland; it has been an amazing experience that I won’t soon forget! For my final blog post, I want to share a list of some of my top 5 favorite things of these past weeks that I’ve been here.
5. Lunch in Merrion Square Park - ACD is directly across the street from Merrion Square Park, and with the amazing heat wave that swept Ireland this summer, I spent lunch nearly every day in the park enjoying the sun (I have a horrible farmer’s tan to prove it!) The park has been packed almost everyday with businessmen and women, families, children, and tourists just enjoying the weather.
4. Weekend excursions – almost every weekend, my group and I would go on day trips to different parts of Ireland. We visited Blarney Castle, Cork, the Rock of Cashel, Bray, Howth, Galway, the Cliffs of Moher, Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, Glendalough, Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and Belfast. We took full advantage of the fact that Ireland is such a small country and you can easily visit most places as a day trip. I’ve gotten to see so many different areas and travelled around almost the entire country in the two months I’ve been here. Each area has its own unique feel and accent (which seems crazy for such a small country, but there are so many different accents!) My favorite places to visit were the Cliffs of Moher and Giant’s Causeway, they really are quite the sights to see in person.
3. Entertainment – Dublin is full of nightlife and events, and I took full advantage of that. Even before I was here I was looking up places to checkout for live music and bought tickets to some major shows. I got to see Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Ben Howard (and two other bands I wasn’t familiar with) at an amazing show held in Phoenix Park, it was an all-day event (3-11pm)! I bought a ticket to see Josh Ritter at the Iveagh Gardens, which was such a good show; he is an amazing performer! I was also so lucky to get free tickets to a show held in Christchurch Cathedral for National Music Day; the line-up included people I’d never heard of, but was a great show: Richie Egan of Jape, White Collar Boy, and Come On Live Long (who I saw again a few weeks later for their album release show, they’re really good!) I have also enjoyed a free comedy show every week at The Stag’s Head. They have it every Sunday and Monday, and I have gone every Monday for 6 weeks, the bartender and the organizer of the show both know my at this point!
2. Dublin bikes – my apartment is 3km (about 2 miles) from ACD. It’s not a difficult walk at all, but the first week my legs hadn’t adjusted and it took much longer than I would have liked. I had been thinking of trying to find a bike on Craig’s List, or seeing about renting one from somewhere even before I got to Ireland. Then I learned about the Dublin Bikes! A company created a bike share program in the city with 44 stations all around the city and about 15-25 bikes per station. I registered for a year subscription (€10, about $13) which allows me unlimited use of the bikes for 30 minutes at a time. If I do go over 30 minutes they charge my account extra (about €0.50 per each 30 minutes). There are two stations right near my apartment and one right near ACD, so it is very convenient. There have been a few times that there were no bikes at the closest stands, but there are so many that just a few minutes’ walk and I’m at another station, no worries.
1. New experiences – I am very much so an experiential learner. I love trying new things, meeting new people, and just going. When I found this opportunity, I jumped at it. I’ve loved to travel and this has just fed the fire to do more. I’ve met some great people: the group I’m living with, the people I work with, and all the people I have met through my other adventures in Ireland. The old adage goes, “teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for life.” I’d say that is true of anything, if you have the opportunity to experience and actually do something, it will last much longer and be more meaningful. I encourage everyone to take time to travel, explore the world, and experience new people and places.
Monday, 15 July 2013
This past week for class the group visited Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin and then headed out to Glendalough in County Wicklow. Kilmainham Gaol was opened in 1796 and used up until 1924 and house many nationalist leaders who fought for Irish Independence from Britain. It was very eerie to walk through the building and see the cells where men, women, and even children were held, and to walk through the courtyards where the nationalist leaders were executed.
Check out my 3D panorama of the East Wing of the gaol. Link here
Glendelough is home to an old monastic village founded by St. Kevin in the 6th Century. On the grounds are two beautiful lakes, the ruins of the village and cathedral, and the round tower. The group enjoyed a leisurely lunch outside the visitor center and then walked around the Lower Lake where we stopped and dipped our feet in.
On Saturday, the group travelled to Northern Ireland to see The Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and spend some time in Belfast. We had some concern going to the north on July 13 because July 12 is Orange Men’s Day, a day that the loyalist/Protestant people of Northern Ireland march through Catholic neighborhoods and generally stir up some trouble. (We did not experience any of this, as we were only in Belfast City Centre for about an hour in the late afternoon.) The Rope Bridge is quite something to experience; like any rope bridge, it shakes and sways as you make your way across from one cliff to another over the sea and rock formations below.
The Giant’s Causeway is absolutely amazing. The hexagonal rock formations are so unique and really a sight to see. I was told by several people I had to make the trip north to see this area, so I was very excited to go.
This weekend was, by far, the most informative and educational of any of my outings. The history of the Irish Revolution and nationalist leaders held at Kilmainham Gaol, the struggles between Northern Ireland and the Republic throughout the 20th century, especially during the 1970’s and 80’s, and into the 90’s are all extremely interesting and at times shocking to hear about, but not something I will soon forget.
Monday, 8 July 2013
This weekend I got to try my hand at some of the Gaelic games (hurling and Gaelic football). I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not really one to play ball sports, but as a group, we all did fairly well in our training drills and game play. I mentioned in my last post how hurling is a combination of lacrosse, hockey, and baseball mixed with a healthy dose of insanity and beatings. Gaelic football is a mix of football/soccer, handball, and some aspects of volleyball and played somewhat similarly to basketball. Both hurling and Gaelic football are played on a field larger than an American football field with 15 players per team. Hurling is played with wooden stick called a hurley (or camán) which is usually between 70 and 100 cm (28 to 40 inches) long with a flattened, curved end used for striking the sliotar. The sliotar is a hard ball, similar to a baseball with more pronounced stitching. While we were playing, we used tennis balls (for our own safety) but ended up splitting most of them in half. It was great fun and I really want to buy a hurley to take home with me!
Sunday afternoon, some of the group went to a hurling match at Croke Park. We went to the Leinster Final: Dublin v. Galway. Dublin won the match and the Bob O’Keefe Cup for the first time since 1961! It was an exciting match; Dublin came out swinging from the beginning and scored a lot, quickly. On average, there was about a score every minute, just goes to prove that hurling is the fastest game on grass. The final score was 2-25 to 2-13 (Dublin had 2 goals worth 3-points each and 25 scores through the uprights worth 1-point each, Galway 2 goals and 13 through the uprights, so the total score was 31 to 19).
During the game, I was sitting behind a group of children (probably around age 10-12) who all hurl together and support Dublin and I was beside a women supporting Galway (the stands are completely mixed). At the beginning of the match as the teams walked around the field and were announced, the women was cheering for Galway and one of the kids in front of me turned around and said, “Galway sucks!” there was no response from the woman, but one of the chaperones with the group of kids gave him a quick look and he turned around. The Galway fan was not happy throughout much of the match, her team was not doing very well at all. Part way through the first half she began a slur of expletives, complaining, and claiming she was about to leave which was all periodically broken up when Galway would score. (She did end up leaving about half way through the second half when there was really no hope for Galway.) It was a great afternoon and a very exciting match to attend. Congrats to Dublin, the Mighty Boys in Blue, for their victory and raising the Bob O’Keefe Cup again after 52 years!
Monday, 1 July 2013
Gaelic Games and Galway
In this week’s class we visit Croke Park, the home of the Gaelic Games, and the GAA Museum. There is so much history in the Gaelic Games and even more local pride from the players and fans as they play for and cheer on their counties through each season. Hurling seems to be the most exciting of the Gaelic Games. It is the world’s fasted field team game, and is like a combination of hockey, lacrosse, and baseball with some serious contact thrown in the mix. Watch this short video on YouTube for a visual, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmzivRetelE. We toured Croke Park, saw a locker room, went out beside the field, and up to the press area, which gave a great view of the entire stadium and the size of the field. In addition to the tour, we were assigned to write a paper on how sport influences society, and I’m actually looking forward to diving into that topic.
For the weekend, my group travelled to Galway to visit the Cliffs of Moher and Connemara. The Cliffs of Moher are absolutely amazing, quite an experience to walk along them and look over the edge. The Cliffs were used in the film The Princess Bride as the Cliffs of Insanity which The Man in Black/Westley climbs to the top of in pursuit of The Princess Bride and her capturers. Sure the film was released the year I was born, but it’s a classic and a personal favorite.
After visiting the Cliffs, we returned to Galway, where we were spending the night in a hostel, which was an experience in itself, rather uneventful, but a great view of a cross section of European cultures. We went out for dinner and a few of us followed that with a trip to the pub. We met one guy who talked to us for quite a while. Found out he is a cinema promoter who works to screen Irish films and then tries to sell them to cinemas across the country. He was kind enough to buy us a round, which is the proper thing to do in Ireland.
Sunday, we visited Connemara and Kylmore Abbey. This is an amazing part of the country with amazing mountains, waterfalls, dry stone walls, and lots of sheep. The Abbey was originally a castle owned by Mitchell Henry in the 1870’s. When his wife Margaret died, he built a mausoleum and Neo-Gothic Cathedral in her honor on the grounds as well. Also on the estate is a huge walled Victorian garden with a wide variety of plants and vegetables growing within the garden.
Monday, 24 June 2013
Out and About
For “class” on Friday, a group from ACD went south to Bray to climb Bray Head. The Dart ride itself was great. The rail goes right along the coast, and the views are amazing. We were accompanied by a group of school children on the Dart for part of the trip, and it was funny to watch them interact. Kids are kids, and silly no matter where they’re from. Bray is a neat little town and Rory told us some of the history of Bray and how it became a hot spot for ocean bathing in the 1860’s. Then we began out assent up Bray Head. It was somewhat of a strenuous hike to the top, but an absolutely stunning view of the sea and the town of Bray below. Hiking down was such a welcomed treat after the hike up. It was a perfect day, sun shining, and I got to meet some of the American students who are studying at ACD this month.
Saturday, some of us went north to Howth for another hike. It was great to see both areas that surround Dublin to the north and south (that are both easily accessible by the Dart). The hike around Howth was much less strenuous, but just as great a view. The trail runs along a ridge at the top of some cliffs directly over the sea, so it was treacherous at times (with a few signs warning of dangerous cliffs). After the hike we headed to Malahide for lunch, proper fish & chips by the sea, and visited Malahide Castle. A fairly small castle, but very well maintained with amazing grounds and gardens.
Friday was also national music day in Ireland and I was fortunate enough to claim a ticket to a very special event held in Christ Church Cathedral. It was quite an impressive venue for some interesting music: singer/songwriter Richie Egan (frontman of Irish electronic-rock band Jape), White Collar Boy (a two-man electronic-garage group), and Come On Live Long (electronic-rock) who were probably my favorite of the night.
If you enjoy live music, Dublin is the place to be. There is usually someone playing in any pub you walk into, and there are a number of street performers along Grafton Street, Henry Street, and throughout the Temple Bar area.
Monday, 17 June 2013
First Day of Class
In addition to my internship, I am taking an Irish Cultural course through American College Dublin, and Friday was my first day of class. The Academic Dean, Rory, gave a tour and history of the Oscar Wilde House and then somewhat of a lecture on the pre-historic history of Ireland, which I found rather interesting. For the afternoon, I toured the National Museum of Ireland looking at artifacts of that time.
After class, I enjoyed a walk around Dublin and a relaxing night in to prepare for an early start Saturday morning for a daytrip to Blarney Castle, Cork, and the Rock of Cashel.
I left Dublin at 7am and returned around 7:30pm, so it made for a long, but great, day. The first stop was Blarney Castle, and as you can see below, I kissed the Blarney Stone. (I haven’t noticed that the gift of the gab has taken effect, but we’ll see!) Then it was off to Cork. Cork was a great little city to visit, and I really loved walking through the English Market. There was so much fresh produce, bread, meat and fish. From Cork, the tour went to the Rock of Cashel, where St. Patrick converted the King of Munster. The castle is surrounded by a cemetery full of Irish High Crosses (Celtic Crosses) with elaborate carvings and traditional knot artwork. It was a long day full of history and bad jokes from the tour guide, but so enjoyable.
Sunday, I slept in and relaxed for most of the day. Earlier in the week I had registered for the Dublin Bikes (a bike sharing system within the city). I received my subscription card and set out for a ride! I rode from my apartment to ACD to get an estimate of how long my commute would now be (biking cut the commute in half!) There are bike lanes along a majority of the roads and most drivers respect the cyclists, so I have really enjoyed riding through the city without any issues so far. Then I rode around Dublin, through Phoenix Park, and back to my apartment for the remainder of the evening.
Wednesday, 12 June 2013
My first weekend in Dublin was amazing! I arrived Saturday morning, got to my apartment, met my roommates, and got settled in. That afternoon, the rest of my group (5 girls) and I met up with Sandra, the internship program director, and toured part of the city, mainly Henry Street and The Temple Bar area. Walking with Sandra is quite the experience; she zooms around, pointing at so many things, it truly is sensory overload: too much to take in at once. After walking around for a few hours, we stopped for dinner at Fade Street Social, a tapas bar near Temple Bar. I had a few different plates, but the best, by far, was the mini goat logs: goat cheese wrapped in ham, then lightly battered and fried, and drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. They were amazing! Following dinner, most of the girls headed back to the apartments, but Kelly and I stayed out with Sandra and went to Grogan’s Pub. With the heat wave that was running through Dublin at the time, the streets were bustling and the pubs as lively as could be. Kelly and I stayed out for a few hours and got to see a great cross-section of Irish culture and people. It was a great first day!
Sunday, we all met up with Sandra around noon, toured more of the city: O’Connell Street, the Financial District, Grafton Street, St. Stephen’s Green, and the area around Trinity College. She took us each to where we would be interning for the summer so we knew where we were going. After this walking tour the six of us went on a Viking Splash Tour, which really helped us all better understand to layout of the city after Sandra’s whirlwind tour. The tour vehicle is a WWII DUKW amphibious vehicle, so we drove around the city, then floated through part of the canal, all while wearing Viking helmets and taunting pedestrians and other tour buses. After the Viking tour, we returned to the apartments and relaxed for the evening.
Monday was my first day on the job. I am interning this summer at American College Dublin in the Student Affairs Office with Colum Cronin. I am a graduate student getting my Master’s Degree in Higher Education: Student Affairs, to ideally work at a college or university in Student Activities. I am very excited to be working with Colum and the staff here at ACD to plan an anniversary and reunion for this fall and everything else I may end up working on. I enjoyed a half day in the office on Monday, then was tasked to explore the city some more, take photos, and enjoy the weather. All of which I did, because Tuesday saw the return of dreary Dublin weather with rain off and on for most of the day.
Monday, 16 July 2012
Wow, I truly can’t believe that this is my last time writing my weekly blog for American College Dublin this summer. It sounds cliché, but it really does seem like only yesterday that I landed in Dublin and greeted by Colum in the airport. These past two months have gone too quick, which generally tends to happen when you are busy and enjoying your time with great people in such an amazing place.
I truly enjoyed my time interning in the Student Affairs Department at American College Dublin. I came into the internship knowing that I would be working with the summer study abroad students, but there was so much more to the internship then just that. I learned how to network to other state University’s through emails and conference calls about what amazing programs ACD has to offer. I went on field trips and learned how to play different national Irish sports. I developed friendships with other ACD faculty who kept me laughing and entertained day in and day out. I can actually leave my internship saying that I participated in a Guinness Book of World Records. I was also able to attend seminars that were hosted by American College Dublin, which broaden my horizons to topics that I never used to think about.
The most recent seminar/presentation I attended at American College Dublin was about homelessness in Ireland. Colum arranged for a representative from a local charity called Focus Ireland to come into the classroom to discuss how they work to prevent people from becoming, remaining, or returning to homelessness. This was a very interesting, and eye opening presentation and topic to learn more about. I think this is very beneficial for study abroad students to sit in on because it clears up any false perception they may have about the homeless population in Dublin.
After Wednesday presentation, the rest of the final week in Dublin flew by! I was busy with last minute projects at American College Dublin, as well as setting up and going to apartment viewings. Luckily by the end of the week, I had moved myself into my new apartment that I would be sharing with another girl who is getting her masters in Dublin as well.
As the week turned into the weekend, I dropped into the student apartments a few different times. Each time I went it seemed like the place was getting more and more empty. The students began to throw away all their garbage and packing away their clothes and souvenirs. I laughed to myself when I heard a few of the girls questioning how they were going to fit everything they originally brought with them and the new items they accumulate over the course of the summer into their suitcases. I found their frustration somewhat entertaining because I remember I had the same issue when I was here last year. I was happy to hear from one of the 8 week study abroad students that she had been in contact with the other 4 weeker students and thy were in the middle of planning a Ireland Summer 2012 reunion in New York at the end of July. It's nice and in a way rewarding for me that I got to witness the transformation of group of complete strangers becoming a group of great friends. I really am going to miss a lot of the students that I spent time with this summer, but like my friends that I met last year while I was here; I have no doubt that I will keep in contact with the students I really formed a friendship with.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing my weekly blogs to all of you. It was also nice for me to not only do this for American College Dublin, but for myself as well. I'd like to take the time to thank all of you who have been following along and reading my blogs, it genuinely means a lot to me. I also want to thank Mary Kirk, Damian, and Tony for being beyond welcoming and friendly to me since day one of my internship. I want to thank Colum for everything this summer! I couldn't have asked for a better advisor. Finally, I want to thank my parents from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to come back to Dublin for the summer and supporting my decision to stay here for a few years to get my Masters. If it wasn't for you two, none of this would be possible.
I am leaving for New Jersey this Tuesday to spend some time with my family and friends, but will be returning in 2 weeks. I couldn't be more excited for this new chapter in my life to begin. Thank you again!
Monday, 10 July 2012
It’s hard to believe that a week from tomorrow I am leaving Dublin and heading home back to New Jersey for two weeks. Even though I will be back in the beginning of August, it still feels a little strange that at the end of the week I will be packing up my things and saying goodbye to the people I have lived with for the last two months. This process of packing up my suitcases feels very similar to what it was like last year when I was finishing up my study abroad semester. Colum and I continue to talk about how quickly the summers gone by, and I joked with him that if I wasn’t scheduled to come back August 1st in preparation of the start of my classes I would probably be severely depressed at this point. Luckily, I do not have to worry about putting myself through that pain.
Originally, when I had spoken to my parents a few weeks about my return date to Ireland before my classes start at University College of Dublin, we had made a compromise that if I found a job in Dublin to come back to then there was no issue for me to return at the beginning of August. My paranoia obviously kicked in like it tends to when I begin to worry that things might not work out as I have planned in my head, but as I mentioned in my last blog I was once again lucky enough to find a job at local pub. Last week couldn’t have gone more quickly as I spent every day of the week worrying about how my first night ever working in a pub was going to go. Although I was told repeatedly by Colum and Mary Kirk that it was “going to be grand” and there was no need to worry, I couldn’t escape my nerves. I am happy to state that after 7 quick hours of picking up empty pint glasses, bottles, and taking drink orders I was reassured by my manager that I would be coming back to a full time position at 4 Dame Lane starting in August.
The next morning I reflected on my night of work and thought to myself, how I am really beginning to start my own personal life here. Although I have expressed numerous times how much I have fallen in love with Ireland and referred to it as a home away from home. It wasn’t until my first real working experience in a public Irish setting that it really began to hit me that Ireland is really going to be MY home for the next two years of my life. Sometimes it doesn’t seem real to me how fortunate I have been with the hand that life has dealt me; the places I have gone, the people I have met, the numerous opportunities that have been presented to me. Of the many things I am slowly learning to develop and also love about the Irish mentality, is to not waste my time questioning and asking why me? Instead, I need to appreciate it, be thankful for it, and go on living everyday as another part of my continuing journey.
I look forward to writing to all my followers once more next week, and I want to thank you all once again for taking the time to read about my amazing and unforgettable summer in Dublin. Until next week…
Monday, 2 July 2012
Last week was yet another busy week of my internship at American College Dublin. The week started with with an amazing dinner with Marsha Glines, her two friends, Mary Kirk, and Colum. We went to a very delicious restaurant called Matt the Thresher which is known for its fresh seafood. The dinner started a bit rocky when we found out that most of the seafood offered on the menu was no longer in stock due to a busy weekend for the restaurant. After deciding on a few different dishes and all being told they were out, our table laughed with amusement. Everyone eventually chose a dish that was available and made a mental note to not go to fresh seafood restaurants on Monday considering there is a strong possibility that many of their main dishes would be out. After getting our orders taken care of, we enjoyed each others' company while discussing a variety of topics. Throughout dinner I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was to be in such good company with many people that I had developed relationships and friendships with. Marsha: a four year and still going relationship from my undergraduate career at university in Florida. She is and I strongly believe someone I will always keep in touch with for the rest of my life. She is a smart, genuine, funny and caring person who I have always felt more than comfortable talking to and truthfully love spending time with. Colum: In one short year, as I mentioned in my earlier blogs has become more than just an advisor, he is my friend. I constantly joke with him that he is also my free therapist. He is an amazing listener and always gives me great advice and allows be to look at a situation from different perspectives. He knows how to keep me calm and rationalize my thoughts when I dramatically think my world is in shambles. Mary Kirk: I have worked with Mary Kirk for almost two months now, and she always seems to keep me laughing. Her humor and friendly personality are two of her many amazing personality traits. Mary Kirk is also another very caring individual. I had mentioned at dinner that I was beginning to get nervous about not finding a job when I get back to Ireland before my school classes start in the fall. The next morning, I wake up to a facebook inbox from Mary Kirk with a few different websites highlighting jobs in Dublin. I couldn’t help but think how sweet and thoughtful that was for her to take the time and send me on links. It is meeting amazing people like this that makes my experience so much more enjoyable and meaningful. It was also a great pleasure to spend time with Marsha’s friends as well. They are two very inspiring women who are in the process of building a center for children and families with autism. Coming from a strong background and passion to help people myself, it is nice to see others doing such great things.
On Wednesday Marsha, her two friends and I decided to take the Dart into Howth, which is another small fishery town on the outskirts of Dublin City Centre to get some fresh fish and chips. We really lucked out with the weather, which made walking around Howth that much more enjoyable. Although both Marsha and I have been to Howth before, it was her two friends first time ever visiting. I was delighted to hear that they loved the area and thought the lunch we had was delicious.
My weekend ended on a great note with a casual interview at one of my favorite pubs in town called Four Dame Lane. Over the course of the month and a half I have lived in Dublin this summer, I managed to become friendly with Four Dame Lanes manager and joking asked a few weeks back if they ever had any job openings I was in desperate need of a job starting in August. Surprisingly, on Friday night the manager asked me if I was still in need of a job and if so to come back the following evening anytime after 6pm to have an interview, no resume needed. After a brief conversation with him Saturday night he told me that the job was mine, and we wanted to me start this Friday at 9pm. I couldn’t be more pleased how everything seems to be turning out and falling into place for me. Just a few days prior I was paranoid that I wasn’t going to be able to find anything and now I am the newest employee of Four Dame Lane. Once again, its moments and opportunities like these that make me firmly believe that everything happens for a reason, and things will always fall into place the way you want them to. Although I am nervous about my new job, I am excited to have this experience and share it with my readers as well. Until next week!
Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Last week was a very busy and exciting week for myself and the study abroad students. We were told at the beginning of the week that we were given the opportunity to meet Dublin’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Maria Parodi. Prior to meeting her, I did some background research on what her role was in Dublin’s political system, the Deputy Lord Mayor attends numerous functions regarding social and public issues of Dublin City. After becoming somewhat educated on what her role was, I was eager to meet and speak with her in person. I was very shocked to see how young she was. I couldn’t believe how much she has done in such a short period of time. As we sat around the table and drank tea in the Oscar Wilde House, she answered any questions we had for her. She also took the time to ask us some questions such as where we live, what we are studying, and why we came to Dublin. She is a very genuine and personable young woman, who is destined to do great things. Speaking with her and hearing what she has to say gave me more motivation to not waste any time. If I want to be as successful, as I dream, I need to continue to work hard and stay driven.
Wednesday morning I woke up early to pick up two of Dr. Glines’ friends from the Dublin airport. Considering this was my second time doing it I felt a lot more confident than my first time around. The airport pickup went more than smoothly, and was surprised and delighted when I got to arrival and saw that the plane landed early. Once Marsha’s friends got off the plane and met me in arrivals, I assisted them with their bags and led them in the direction to the cab. It was a nice confidence boost to hear from one of the women that I was natural and had the routine down to a T. I brought both of Marsha’s friends directly to American College Dublin, so they were able to sit in on Marsha’s seminar regarding the topic of understanding learning differences and challenges: strategies for teachers and parents. Although I have known Marsha since my freshmen year of college, this was the first time I have ever seen her teach or speak to an audience before. I was blown away with how she was able to engage everyone in the room and make it so personable. Her use of humour and knowledge kept the audience involved. Towards the end of her seminar she opened up the floor to discussion and questions. It was interesting to listen from an Irish education professional of the challenges they face with many of Ireland’s educational institutions that do not have study and tutor programs that assist children, teenagers, and young adults learning challenges. Although I do not necessarily have a learning challenge, hearing the frustration from these women made me realise how lucky I was to attend a university for my undergraduate career that established an institution to assist all types of learners. The two hours flew by, and I walked away from Marsha’s seminar learning a lot about not only understanding more about disabilities and challenges, but also what Marsha does at the University I graduated from.
These are just two of the many amazing opportunities my internship at American College Dublin has given me. With only 3 weeks left of my internship here, I intend to take advantage of every opportunity given to me and learn from it because that what an internship is all about. I would like to thank you all once again. Until next time.
Monday, 18 June 2012
I’m officially at the one month mark of my internship at American College Dublin. It’s unbelievable how much time flies when you’re busy and having fun in a place you love so much. Last Thursday, Colum and Damian had planned for us to meet in the park and do one last group activity before the 4 week students left to head home. We were greeted at the park by a young female professional hurling player, who was going to teach us the rules of this well-known Irish sport. For those of you who don’t know, the object of the game is for the players to use a wooden stick called a hurley to hit a small ball between the opponents goalpost. I saw a few professional matches last year while I was here studying, so it was fun to actually be taught and participate in the activity for myself. The young woman was very helpful in explaining the rules of hurling, as well as keeping it fun and exciting with the different drills. We all had a good laugh as a majority of us struggled balancing and hitting the small ball with our hurley sticks.
Five of the students who were here for the 4 week study abroad program left early Saturday morning and that’s when I had my first reality check of “wow my internship is half way done.” Although I was sad to see the students leave, I was happy knowing that I had developed a strong relationship with most of them and that we can look back at all the funny and unforgettable memories we had in such a short period of time. While I was sad to see them all go, I was excited to meet the new incoming students.
The general routine of the arriving of the students starts with picking them up at the airport, getting them settled into their apartment, and then take them on a brief walking tour of the city. When the first set of students came in back in May, all I had to do was wait at the apartment for them to arrive and then follow Colum around while he talked and showed all the students the city. This time around I did the entire meet and greet routine on my own. I met two of the students at the arrival gate at Dublin International airport, taxied them to their accommodation and then took them on an hour and half walking tour of the city. I have to admit that I was a little nervous do this all on my own and questioned my capability of answering all their questions if they had any. By the end of the arrival routine I surprised myself about how much I knew and how helpful I was in insisting the students on my own. Once again, it nice to see the excitement in the faces of the students who just arrived in Dublin, as well as hear their first impressions of the city. Uniquely and different from most of the students that are also studying here, these two student in particular grew up in Ireland for a few years, but hadn’t been back since they were really young. As I brought them around the city, up Graffton street, in temple bar, and passed Trinity College it was interesting see hear what they remembered and some of the memories they had while living here. They were especially excited to eat their first full Irish breakfast again. By the end of their tour and full stomach of an Irish breakfast jet lagged settled in. I brought them back to their accommodation and was delighted to hear that I was very helpful in assisting them.
Last night Lynn University’s Dean of Institute of Learning and my ALL time favourite Lynn faculty member Marsha Glines arrived to Dublin. I have known Marsha since my freshmen year of college at Lynn Univerity and developed a very strong and personal relationship with her. Over the course of my four years at Lynn she has become more than just a University Dean to me, she is someone that I often go to for advice and has helped and guided me through many personal obstacles. Marsha, Colum, and I went to an early dinner where we were able to all catch up and enjoy each other’s company. Marsha will be here for two weeks, where she will be leading her own seminar as well as enjoying her time in Dublin. It will be nice to see her around the city for a while, and spend some time with her as well. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I look forward to sharing the rest of my summer experience with you!
Thursday, 14 June 2012
Last Wednesday, June 6th the Olympic Torch was taken on a tour of Dublin involving a number of Ireland’s recognizable Olympic medal winners, including Wayne McCullough, Michael Carruth and Ronnie Delaney. Being an outsider it seems that having the torch relay throughout Ireland is very significant and exciting because of how close Ireland is to London, where this year’s Olympic Games will take place. It was even more exciting that the Olympic Torch passed right in front of American College Dublin. At around noon Colum, a few other colleagues, and the study abroad students met outside ACD to see the lighting of the torch. Although Colum mentioned that this was an exciting moment for Ireland, I wasn’t expecting to see the large amount of crowds outlining Merrion Square. Everyone was in such high spirits cheering and clapping as the torch was being carried down the street. The man who was holding the torch was (fill in the blank) he was very friendly and allowed people to come up take pictures with him, as well as touch the famous Olympic torch.
This weekend was the kick off to the 2012 European Football Championship, which is commonly referred to as Euro 2012 with 16 nations all competing to win. Although the games began on Friday, it wasn’t until Sunday night when Ireland would be playing their fist match against Croatia. This match was especially important to Ireland because it was the first time in 25 years that Ireland was qualified to play in the Euro matches. While there was no doubt that Dublin City Centre was expected to crowded with fans, my friends who I had made last year basically demanded that I take the DART to Howth to meet them at their Soccer Club/Pub to watch the game in a “proper Irish atmosphere, far away from tourist.” Even though the match did not start until 7:30, my friends made it clear that I should meet them in Howth about an hour earlier so we were sure to have good seats to watch from. My friend Ciarian met me as I got off at Howth-Junction DART station, and directed me towards his team club called Naomh Barrog GAA Club. This local club consists of two different types of members. You are either a “social member” which means you pay a certain fee to drink there and have free admittance to gigs that occur throughout the year. The other types of members are considered full members which means you play on an intramural team of hurling or football. As we entered the club I felt like we were celebrating St. Paddy’s Day. The club house was packed with all local Irish people (no tourists, well besides me) dressed in their most authentic and festive Irish attire. Everyone was wearing green, some had their face painted, and others were wearing the Irish flag as a cape. It was clear that the Irish were ready to support their team proudly! Throughout the game the clubhouse would burst out in two chants, the first one was “you will never beat the Irishhhh, you will never beat the Irishhhh” and the second was “come on you boys in green” (I was told its usually boys in blue because of the Dublin hurling team at Croke stadium, but it was appropriate to change up the color for the occasion). I knew very little about the Euro prior to the game, but with the help of my two good friends Ciarian and Stix, as well as a club house full of Irish people I quickly learned and got into the game. My friend explained to me while laughing that Ireland is typically “considered the underdog in most sports” so even if they get one goal it will be a huge deal. And what do you know, GOAL!!!! The club house went crazy! We all jumped up in excitement, some people got on the tables, others were dancing around and hugging each other. Although Croatia ended up beating Ireland by 2, I was surprised to see the lack of sore losers in the club house after the lost. I eventually made my way back in to town, where I thought most pubs would probably be closing or empty. I was wrong. Ireland might have lost, but the party was still going on! I am once again reminded why I love this country so much, the Irish mentality is truly unique and amazing. Everyone is just out to have a good time! Hope you all are enjoying my blog, please keep reading to hear more about my summer experiences in Dublin!
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
While last week we saw the best of Dublin’s summer weather with sunshine in the low 70’s, this week we are back to Dublin’s typical summer weather including rain and clouds. Colum and I had planned to organize flag rugby with the students last Thursday, but because of the rain the students were not entirely into the idea and so unfortunately it was a washout. We later joked around with students who decided it was too rainy to play that if Irish people waited for the sunshine to do something in Ireland, you would be waiting for a VERY long time.
Saturday morning I was delighted to meet Colum at the University to help him give a tour to Paul Turner who is the Dean of Students at Lynn University (where I recently graduated from in May and is ACD’s sister school) and his wife Marlene. I am very friendly with Dean Turner who I always saw and chatted with from time to time when we would see each other walking around campus. It was nice to see a familiar face, as well as tour him around ACD for his first time. Right away you could see the excitement in both his and his wife’s eyes when they walked into the front doors of ACD. Considering ACD is the former childhood home to one of Dublin’s most famous sons, writer, and dramatist Oscar Wilde, we thought it was only necessary to start our tour there. The Turners were intrigued by the history of the Oscar Wilde home and how it was transformed into a modern University. After the tour of the Oscar Wilde House, we then brought them into the other doors of the University where students attend classes and study. After a few more photos, the Turners had to return to their bus and continue their travels around Ireland. I was delighted to see how happy and grateful they were to see ACD and their reaction made me that much happier to realise how lucky I am to not only attend ACD as a study abroad student, but to return at work at the University as an intern.
While the weather remained cloudy and raining all day Saturday and Sunday, I was able to enjoy a warm afternoon with blue skies and sunshine on Monday. It was perfect timing since it was a Bank Holiday weekend, which is Irelands Public Holiday that allows a majority of Irelands population time off or extra pay to those who do work on this day. I spent a majority of the day in St. Stephens Green and ended the beautiful clear night in walking along the cliffs of Howth with a friend that I had met last year. Although I had visited Howth a few times, this was the first time that I walked along the Cliffs. It was absolutely breath taking! It’s the beauty of this country along with many other things that makes me fully appreciate my time that I have in Ireland.
Although I am hoping the sunshine comes around again this weekend when my friend from University comes to visit, if it doesn’t it will not stop us from having a good time! I hope everyone is enjoying my weekly blogs, keep reading to hear more about my amazing summer experience!
Monday, 28 May 2012
Since the students arrival two weeks ago, Colum and I had planned a few field trips and activities to do with the group of students. The first field trip we planned was the first weekend the arrived, which was taking the DART to Dun Laoghaire for a walking adventure. For those of you who don’t know the DART stands for Dublin Area Rapid Transit, it is a light rail network operating in Dublin and is one of the most common uses of transportation in the city. For someone who did not grow up in a city like me, this was a very exciting first time city transportation experience for me last year. Being more familiar with it now, it was interesting to see what the other students thought. Most students who lived near a city were able to relate this type of transportation, while for others it was another first time experience for them. The day was a fairly mild day, with some sun shining through highlighting the beauty of the numerous seaside town and villages dotted along the way. Once we got off our walking journey began. Colum toured us through pointing our various landmarks. As we continued to walk we passed what is known as the “40 foot” which is where Irish people going swimming. Myself and the other students were shocked when we saw a good amount of people going in for a dip on a slightly overcast, and to us chilly day in Dublin, but for Colum this was nothing out of the ordinary. Colum had also pointed out to us a magpie, which is a bird that is found all over the country. What’s unique and comical to us (Americans) is that when you see one you are supposed to salute it, in efforts to avoid off bad luck. After a few hours of walking we made it into this next town over and hopped back onto the DART to head home. In my opinion DART trips are always a lot of fun because you can make a day out of it, and once you have used the DART once it’s easy and convenient to use on your own when you want to explore other areas outside Dublin City Centre.
Over the last week the weather in Dublin, Ireland has been magnificent, and if you ask any Irish person they would typically respond by saying “enjoy it because it’s the best it is going to get!” In order to fully take advantage of the great weather we planned a trip to a nearby park, where Colum and his colleague Damien taught the students how to play Gaelic Football. Gaelic football is very different from American Football, it consists of a mixture between soccer, rugby, and basketball. Prior to going to the park we went over the rules and guidelines, as well as provided them with a some brief YouTube clips on how the game is actually played. I was happy to see that most of the students had a competitive edge to them and were eager to get out on to the field. Kudos to Colum and Damien for coaching the students and running them through a few drills before starting the actual game. The group of students split in half and it was game on! For next 40 minutes the students competitively played against one another by throwing, kicking, catching, and running with the ball. While there is always a winner and loser when it comes to competitive sports, it was clear by the end of the match that everyone had a really good time playing, and some students even asked when they were going to learn another one of Irelands other sports.
As the week continued the sun shined on and got warmer and warmer. Colum and I spent our Sunday in Bray hiking to the top of the hill to look over the water. In efforts to be adventurous we decided to take a different route down the mountain. Little did we know our exploratory mind set led us down a path of uncertainty. We ended up getting lost and hiking up and down the mountain for 3 and a half hours. Despite the sore feet and exhaustion we enjoyed the hike in its entirety. By the time we made our way down the mountain we had missed lunch and couldn’t be more ready for a big dinner. Our first attempted to eat at a local restaurant in Bray failed when the waitress informed us that they were not taking anymore order temporarily because the kitchen was very busy and overloaded with food orders. Confused and starved at this point, Colum said we have 5 minutes to take the next DART into Dubin, we had to make a run for it. It was at this point that I decided I would never go sprinting in moccasins shoes again. Just a few feet away from the station, running as fast as I could, and dodging the people in front of me, I lost my balance and fell flat on my face. As I laid there on the ground for a minute Colum looked back to make sure I was okay, shaking it off as quickly as I could we made it to the dart station before it departed back to Dublin. If my body wasn’t going to be sore enough the next morning from the 3 hours of hiking, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be waking up feeling achy and sore after a fall like that. I am excited to see what the next week brings! Thank you for reading and keep following along to find out! If you have any questions or comments regarding my blog please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Friday morning, I woke up bright and early, eager and excited to meet the new incoming study abroad students. Their new apartment was also ideally located in Dublin’s city center, just minutes away from my apartment, as well as American College Dublin. Ten students (9 girls and 1 guy) were expected fly into Dublin International Airport with landing times ranging between 7.00 am to 3:30pm. Colum met the students at the airport, helped them with claimed baggage and sent them in a taxi to meet me at their apartment.
I arrived at the students’ apartment around 7:30 am, did a quick run through of the apartment, and laid out some informational pamphlets for the students to refer to during their stay in Dublin. I waited downstairs at Metro Café which the students lived above. While I was waiting to hear from Colum, a tourist came up to me and asked for directions. For some that may not seem like such a big deal, but for me I basically felt honoured and excited that I knew exactly where to direct the person. Colum then called telling me that the first set of students were just put in a taxi cab and sent my way. It was from this point that all the students began to quickly file in. As one set of students had just finish up unpacking another set would be coming in, dragging their suitcases up the stairs and begin to do the same.
As each set of students came in, you could clearly see the excitement in their eyes and voices about the new country they either haven’t been in at all, or had visited for a very short time. Despite the lack of sleep and the jet lag that most were probably experiencing at the time, the students were ready to unpack, explore the city, and get to know one another. I spent a few minutes with each of the students as they came, asking questions about their flight, their excitement being here, and where they are from. I truly wanted to get to know the students I would be seeing and spending time with for the next 4 to 8 weeks, I wanted to make them feel at home, and excited to be here.
Once a majority of the students were all settled and in the apartment, it was at that point I just stepped back and observed. Hearing them ask one another questions, and getting to know each other reminded me of my first time as a study abroad student in Ireland last year. For me, it was probably one of my most favourite days last year because it was at that point I had my first realization that I’m here in Ireland for the first time, more or less on my own, and I have just moved in with a bunch of people I have never met before. I remember thinking to myself “this is going to be an experience I will never forget!”
Once Colum arrived back at the apartment, we took the students on a walking tour of the city. While Colum was leading the group and describing where to go and what certain places are, I situated myself in various parts of the group, again trying to get to know the students and answer any questions that were asked. I loved being the one that the students could turn to ask a question and for the majority of time be able to answer it. Once again I knew by the end of the walking tour and getting to know the students a bit more that this was very different than any other internship that I have ever done, but in an extremely positive way. I am excited for the upcoming adventures we have planned with the students, until next time! If you have any questions or comments regarding my blog please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for reading!
Monday, 21st May 2012
Last Wednesday morning, 16th June, I arrived back in Dublin and was greeted at the airport by my all time favorite Irish guy, Colum! Colum had been my advisor last year when I travelled to Dublin for my first time to study abroad at American College Dublin in spring of my junior year of college. Prior to leaving Dublin last year Colum had mentioned the possibility of coming back to Dublin the following summer to work as his intern at American College Dublin in the Student Affairs Department. Considering I had already been “Dublin home sick” before I even left the city, I instantly accepted this great opportunity. It’s amazing how it only took four months for me to consider Dublin a second home. My study abroad experience last year brought out the best in me, and transformed me into a more mature, independent, and calm young women by the time I left. Additionally, it’s difficult to resist the Irish culture, where the people are, in my opinion, the nicest in the world with an amazing mentality to “keep calm and it will be grand.” Over the course of four months I spent in Ireland last year, as well as the frequent contact I have kept with Colum through Facebook, emails, and his two visits to the states, he has become more of a friend than just a mentor or advisor. I truly value our conversations, his humor, and advice. That being said, Colum kindly helped me research living arrangements for this summer which couldn’t be more suitable for the type of person I am.
I had heard from Colum what my summer living arrangements would be like, but I was unable to paint a clear picture in my mind. I needed to see the place for myself. My apartment could not be in a better location; it’s in Dublin City Centre, just minutes from the University and next to the best pizza place in the city. We were welcomed at the door by a small Indian woman named Canter, who cleans and cooks breakfast and dinner for everyone who lives in the house. She gave us a brief tour pointing out where the living room, kitchen, bathroom, and other dormitories are. As I followed her up the flights of stairs, she led me to the top floor where I would be residing for the next few months. It is a fairly big room that I share with one other girl.
After getting settled in and leaving my bags in the room to be later unpacked, Colum and I left to eat breakfast, catch up, and discuss my intern responsibilities and tasks for the summer. As I mentioned I am working with Colum in the Student Affairs Department at ACD, which means that I will be working with, assisting, and getting to know the Study Abroad students who travelled over as I did last year to complete an amazing and exciting academic summer program. Colum explained what we would be doing for the following day in order to prepare for the arrival of the “newbies" as Colum liked to refer to them as. After being a study abroad student last year, hearing numerous rewarding and often hilarious stories and experiences from Colum, I was excited to take on the role as a mentor instead of being a student itself.
By the time breakfast was over my jet lag had set in full force and I was ready for a nap. I woke from my nap just an hour before dinner and got to know some of my many roommates. I was aware that I was living with a lot of people, but as this point I still wasn’t sure how many. At seven o’clock sharp I heard Canter screaming "dinner" in her very strong and thick Indian accent. As I proceeded down the stairs following the few roommates I had met, other unfamiliar faces were coming out of every door making their way down for dinner as well. When I reached the kitchen/dining room, I was initially overwhelmed with the amount of people that I actually live with. I live with 20 people all whom are from a variety of different countries including: France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, India, Tahiti, and me being the only American in the house. Over the course of the week I quickly got to know a lot of my roommates and have had very interesting conversations with them all in regards to why they are living in Dublin, what their culture is like at home in compared to Dublin and the United States.
The students were due in early Friday morning, so I needed to rest up for an exciting day of meeting “the newbies.” I was eager to meet the students, see what they would think of Dublin and ACD, as well as get to know them as Colum did with me. I knew after day two of being here that this internship was going to be exactly what I had hoped for and that the eight weeks were going to fly by!