Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Jessi - October

I’ve been SO busy lately! In this blog, there’s three things I want to address: having a relationship overseas, traveling, and classes.
First, I want to talk about having a relationship while studying abroad. It’s hard, I’m not going to lie. It’s my boyfriend’s birthday this Sunday, and I won’t be able to even call him since I’m going to be in Germany. We actually broke up a couple of weeks ago, but then I realized that I was just questioning things because I’m alone in another country. I’m not going to go into the boring details… just know that if you’re in a relationship and you’re going to study abroad, it’s going to be a little challenging. As long as you’re willing to deal with the challenges, you should be fine.
Second, I want to talk about traveling. I’ve been going to different places every weekend. So far, I climbed a small mountain in Ireland and at the top of the mountain were about 50 mountain goats. That was amazing. Except it was raining the whole time, but that’s no big deal since it ALWAYS rains in Ireland. I’ve went to Scotland, and walked around the Highlands, Loch Ness, and Loch Lomond. I went to Paris, and saw the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, ect. My hostel was right next to the Louvre. I think it was called BVJ Louvre. Hostels are sooo cheap. Don’t be scared of them. I haven’t had any problems with theft. And I’ve stayed in some pretty shady hostels. I went to all of those places by myself. Most people travel with other people, but I prefer going by myself. I’m going to Frankfurt, Germany this Saturday until Monday. The flight cost me $40 total. I’m leaving from Shannon Airport; I’ll have to take a bus there, which will cost about $20. Hostels usually cost around $20-30. If you’re planning on traveling a lot, I would suggest saving about $3,000-5,000. Especially in England, Scotland, or Northern Ireland; everything costs twice as much. If you spend 1,000 pounds, that’s $2,000.
Classes in Ireland are so different than in America!!! I’m taking six classes: Human Sexuality, History and Current Issues in Psychology, Nazi Germany, Ritual and Royalty: the Archaeological Sites of Ireland, Medieval Ireland History, and Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience. The teacher in Human Sexuality is from America, so his class is more like an American class. We have five papers and two tests. For the Nazi Germany class, we have a 3-hour test, along with 2 short papers. In Psychology, Science, and Pseudoscience, there’s a 2-hour test. That’s all. No homework, no quizzes, nothing. The test is 100% of our grade. For History and Current Issues in Psychology, we have a 5-page paper and a 2-hour test. For the Archaeology and Medieval Ireland History class, we have a 10-page paper due. Classes aren’t mandatory, since they never take attendance. Therefore, it’s all up to you to get good grades and go to class. To get an “A” or above in my school, it’s a 60% or above. A “B” is something around a 50%. I think that classes here are so much easier than in America, but that’s mainly because I prefer to write papers instead of taking tests. For the tests in Ireland, it’s essays. The teachers give a choice of about 5-10 essay topics, and you choose about 2-3, depending on the teacher.
My main suggestion is to work hard but play hard. Partying in other countries is fun, and traveling is awesome! Save up money before you go, or else get a credit card that’s 0% APR for 6-12 months. Hopefully this has helped!


Anonymous Pam English said...

I really enjoyed your blog, you have given a lot of great advice that I will definitly keep in mind. I certainly plan to take weekend trips like you've mentioned and I want to thank you for inspiring me to not be afraid to explore new places on my own. Your advice on hostels are also a great tip to cut costs on travel. I also appreciate the descriptions you gave on your classes and how they are different from classes here. Im a little nervous about adjusting to how the classes are run and how many you take but I feel a little bit better now that you have described the details.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Jamie Rowe said...

I also enjoyed reading your blog; I had no idea the classes were so different in Ireland- what an interesting variety- I'm not sure what I think about my entire grade being based on one test, though. I am only going for J-Term (to France and Italy), so I will not be taking classes at a University there- I will be with other Americans and an American teacher. I wish I was, though; I know that traveling and taking classes with other Americans will mean I won't be as immersed in the cultures as much as some one like you, who is taking classes there.

I also thought the earlier blog about the food was interesting- that's too bad- sounds a lot like the food I had in England. We had some great Indian and Thai there, though- are there any Ethnic restaurants you can go to (besides Irish)?

1:13 PM  
Blogger Jenny Hameister said...

I will be in Jamaica next semester and hope to travel also on the weekends. So since you've been able to travel to other countries on your own hopefully I will be able to figure out the little island. However, I'm still a little worried about just not having enough common sense or maybe you would say street smarts to get around. So I will look forward to that challenge. Also, you speak of the classes was very interesting. It will be very odd for me to have tests again since I'm a Special Ed. major and really only to projects of all kinds. But it will be an experience and I could use a few easier classes again. Hopefully Ireland and Jamaica classes will be similar that way. Finally, I can't wait to hear more about you experiences.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Jamie Rowe said...

We've been discussing culture shock in class; I was thinking that this would be the time of year when you would really start to feel it- especially during the holidays. I know that I would really miss my family and familiar traditions. I think you guys are brave- I don't know if I could stand be away for the holidays, although it would be interesting, and probably not as hard to do as I think it is.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, this is Jessi again... here's my response to all of your posts.

PAM- Definitely don't be afraid to travel alone. It's an awesome experience.

JAMIE- yeah there are some ethnic places to eat here. Unfortunately, my stomach usually can't handle ethnic food (Thai, Indian, Chinese, ect). But I've heard other people around here say that there's good ethnic food here. And yeah, I am missing home and everything, but I've been so busy with everything I haven't had time to even think about it.

JENNY- you're probably going to get lost. knowing that, just remember not to freak out. I got lost in Paris and Dublin and so many other places. I took the wrong train in Scotland. Just remember to be calm about it. Trust me, I get lost all the time. My sense of direction is terrible lol. If I can do it, you can too.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I had been wondering about what it's going to be like to leave some loved ones for awhile, I bet it's going to be tough, but it is what it is. Have you had any problems fitting in? Has there been anything that makes you stand out as an American tooooo much? Is there anything about the culture there that you like better than in the states?

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Pamela English said...

Did you experience any culture shock when first arriving?> If so what were some examples? HOw did you adjust or cope with your new surroundings??
Thanks :)

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Val Slegesky said...

Hi Jessi,

I think what you have to say about how different classes are is really interesting. I was wondering how you picked the classes you did decide to take. Were they mostly for your major? Or did you just decide to take them because they looked interesting? If you have any tips on how to pick classes abroad, I love to hear them. I hope everything is still going well for you.

11:23 AM  
Anonymous Shannon S. said...

I have the same question as Val, how did you pick your classes? Did you have much choice or was it just what was available?

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey guys, it's Jessi. Once again, here's my responses to what you wrote:

MISSY: The main thing that made me stand out as an American was my accent. It's very obvious that I'm not from Ireland if you hear me talk. I didn't have any problems fitting in, (most) of the Irish people I met were really nice to me. They didn't have a problem with Americans. As for the culture here, the people are much nicer than in the Chicago area. But that's just because Ireland is so rural... in the country in Indiana, people are nicer than in Chicago. That might be a generalization, but oh well.

PAM: The main shock that happened to me was the knowledge that I wasn't going to see any of my family or friends for 3-4 more months. There were also small things, but the main thing was that I had to do everything by myself.

VAL & SHANNON: There were about 70 classes to chose from... I chose the classes based on how easy they were, the exam format, and how interesting the class was. I don't have many general education classes or psychology classes left to take, so I wasn't worried about what classes I took as long as they were interesting.

5:12 PM  
Anonymous ashley grice said...

Hey jessi, thanks for sharing! That was some awesome advice you gave. Now, granted, I am looking to study in Australia, but the places you mentioned are close by and it seems as though traveling is very cheap which is a definite positive for me. My whole attitude toward traveling once I left the country was at a very minimal, but reading about your awesome experiences with traveling has definitely made me rethink my plans and think what its all worth! Thanks for your time and enjoy the rest of your trip!!

3:41 PM  

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