Saturday, October 31, 2009

Crystal - Cork, Ireland - Fall 2009

Hey guys! It’s Crystal here, studying in Ireland. In Cork to be exact. I’ve been here for about two and a half months and still loving it. Cork has become my home away from home. It’s pretty small compared to cities like Chicago. But it’s a real college town with great pubs, an awesome gym, and really friendly people. I’m here through the Arcadia program, and they’ve really come through for us so far.
Even though we had to endure several orientations, Arcadia set up some great things for us. Like seeing Riverdance perform while in Dublin. And just this past weekend, we went to Belfast in Northern Ireland to see the Giant’s Causeway. I’ve travelled through most of Ireland so far with the early start class I took. It’s basically their version of our J-term for visiting students. And in the class, we went on field trips every week and saw some of Ireland most renowned places. It was a great time, not to mention the nice hostels and free meals that came with it. And yes, if you’re wondering if I’m trying to make you jealous, I definitely am.
The “culture shock” has been an interesting thing to watch out for. Since I got here early, all by myself, without a laptop, phone, or any form of contact with home, I hit the very bottom of the rollercoaster pretty fast. But since then I’ve adapted fine to the new environment. Honestly, things are similar enough for me to not even notice sometimes that I’m thousands of miles away from home. The only problem I’ve had so far is how the Irish drive. It’s not that they drive on the left side of the road. Nor is it that they drive so fast (which they do). It’s the fact that they drive on winding roads not big enough for two cars, at around 70 mph, while on the left hand side of the road. I’ve actually started feeling carsick for the first time in my life.
My accommodations are pretty good. They’re at least better than Elmhurst Terrace, which at the worst of times can be terrible. I have my own room but I share the apartment with two other women. One is Irish, and one is an American. We all get along well, but the Irish one and I are practically soulmates. She’s been kind enough to bring me home with her, and her friends and I hang out often.
My classes are going well enough, but I’m anxious to be home again taking classes for my major. But I’ve got two months left and plan to enjoy them to the fullest. Hopefully my friends and I will take a few weekends out and travel to some places like Rome, Barcelona, and Scotland. Well, I’ve got to go. Go ahead and ask any questions if you’d like!



Anonymous Ashley Dell'Aquila said...

Heya Crystal -

Oh man, your post is so amazingly ironic for me! Haha, yeah sorry I just HAD to comment on this.

So I'm studying just across the pond in Glasgow, I thought I'd offer you my sofa, if you really do want to make it out this way :-)
Oh! And on that note, I really hope you see this soon...because Ryanair has deals from Dublin to Glasgow right now for 3 GBP each way if you book by tomorrow (Monday) night.

And, I actually had the chance to see Riverdance back in Chicago over the summer...and I was listening to the soundtrack this afternoon :)

And I'm pretty sure I'll cause some sort of accident by the time I go home - I ALWAYS look the "wrong" way before crossing the street lol I haven't been very far out in a car yet, but I have a trip booked for a tour of the Scottish highlands (where they drive 70 MPH, down the left hand side of too-narrow roads too) and I can imagine it being a nerve-racking experience :-\

And! I actually just booked flights via Ryanair this morning for a holiday in Spain and Italy :-) I'm flying from Glasgow to Barcelona to Venice, to Rome, to Madrid, to London and then back home to Scotland. I don't know how open you'd be to the idea, but I'll be travelling solo in Italy (and meeting friends in Spain) if you happen to be going mid-December, you're definitely more than welcome to come with me :)

Best wishes!

- Ashley

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Crystal L. Pope said...

Hey Ashley,

I'm glad to hear that somebody knows what I'm going through out here ; )

And believe me, if I can make it out to Scotland (probably not gonna happen), I will totally take you up on the sofa offer. If you'd like to come visit Cork, just let me know!

Also, I'm actually heading out to Barcelona in a few weeks and I have exams mid-December, so I can't join you. But again, thank you for the offer!


8:11 PM  
Anonymous Alexina Valdez said...

Crystal and Ashley, when you go to Barcelona...if you love Dali or just love Dali!!..there's a Dali museum in a town called Figueres, which is a two hour train ride outta Barca. DEF worth it.

Also, while in Barcelona, check out la Rambla and all the cool street performers throughout the day. They are awesome. Uhm, of course la Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and the several Guell houses are worth a visit too. Last, check out if Barca is playing that weekend--tho tix might be hard ta get but the town will be in an uproar if they are playing!!

Btw, BCNhostel is the one I stayed in and it was AWESOME. Very clean and not too expensive. I would HIGHLY reccomend it!

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Crystal,

Your trip sounds amazingly awesome! I'm studying in Limerick and Galway this coming summer and I can't wait! Ti's good to hear that you enjoyed yourself so much, it only makes me more excited! yay! :)

8:52 AM  

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