Friday, March 05, 2010

John M. - Dublin, Ireland - Spring 2010

I arrived at the Dublin airport in the morning, not knowing what to expect. One thing to note for any of you considering here, you won't always understand the accent, but you'll get used to it in a week or two. IES has been very good at getting everybody involved with the program, and they want to give students a chance to interact.

The city itself is wonderful; there is live music and "fun" about anywhere you go. The Irish people are very friendly, but it's important not to go blabbing on and on. There is a sense of false modesty here, so people don't like to brag. You should bring a sense of humor with you though, as the people like to have a good laugh.

Through IES we don't have a lot of local interaction planned out, so it's kind of up to you yourself to get to know different people of Dublin. I've been pretty successful, meeting people at music shops, and I also joined a local YMCA. As an aside, for 75 euro for three months, having a membership is pretty nice, especially if you've had a long day of class and want some exercise.

As for travels, take every opportunity you can to go around Europe. I've had a blast in London, Paris, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Karlsruhe, and Freiberg. Having said that, make sure you get to know your own country too. For instance, Ireland has many great hiking spots and is incredibly beautiful. Portrush in Northern Ireland was amazing, particularly Giant's Causeway. The west of Dublin has Cliffs of Moher, which is fantastic as well. The city life in Galway contrasts greatly from Dublin, so make sure to make like the locals do. It's been a blast so far, and I would recommend Dublin to anyone. Come and have some Craic, dance, learn, and meet some good people.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John, this is an assigned comment, but I liked what you had to say. I'm not going to Ireland, but my friend did and loved it, I definitely want to visit there. Any specific places you recommend? I'm glad that you said you were able to find a YMCA to join, that's something I want to be able to do. (I'm going to Spain but I assume it might be similar in that sense.) I'm also going through IES, do you like them slash the program and everything?

Thanks! Kaitlyn

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John,
I am a student at EC and was wondering if you had any advice on choosing courses when you arrive in a foreign country?

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John!

I am studying abroad in Ireland this summer in Limerick and in Galway. I am so excited! Summer is getting closer and closer and although I am excited I am anxious and nervous in some ways too. Do you have any tips on selecting courses to take in Ireland?

Emily :)

9:36 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Thanks for blogging John,

I am thinking about doing some independent travel when I study in Prague next fall. Any helpful tips I should know about so I can plan ahead?

Thanks,
Laura M.

4:42 PM  
Blogger maherj854 said...

Hey everybody,

I'm going to try to address everyones' questions.

IES Dublin has a great staff, the program is pretty small, but they offer some unique courses that you won't find in typical schools. For example, I have a guest lecture class on Northern Ireland, where we have former IRA, British Army, and even a former president of Ireland coming in to speak. I know in Barcelona, Spain IES has a much larger program of over 500 students, but I would imagine the program is good there as well. I recently spoke to Bill Hoye the president of IES in a meeting, and he said that students spoke highly of the Spain program.

For choosing courses, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all know what requirements you have to fulfill at Elmhurst including Gen Ed and Major/Minor requirements. But really try to take every chance to challenge yourself with something you wouldn't normally do. If you are able to, I recommend taking a class that deals with your countries urban development, to really get to know the streets you are walking on.

Ireland has a unique history, and is fairly young in many aspects. Definitely take a history course, it may seem like a boring choice, but the culture is deeply engrossed in keeping traditions and heritage. At the very least, you'll want to know Wolftone, Robert Emmet, Daniel O'Connell, and of course Michael Collins. I only took a few history courses at EC, but it'll make your visit more memorable when you know the significance of the places you are visiting. I loved Galway though, great place, and Limerick in County Clare. Check out the King's Head in Galway. It's a small place, but you'll have a real good time there. If you plan on visiting Dublin, which you definitely should, I'd be let you know all the places to go.

Regarding Independent travel: Make sure to check Ryan Air out for special sales. You'll get tickets from 5 eruo's up to an average of 20-30 i'd say. Be flexible with time. Pack light, just one backpack, including shoving your purse into your backpack. Ryan Air is strict with baggage. Also, just learn to laugh off the annoying little things, because at the end of the day YOU'RE TRAVELING THE WORLD!

If you have any more questions just let me know. Post them here, or you can email me at maherj854@net.elmhurst.edu.

Good luck on all your travels

John Maher

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Sara Kuzianik said...

John!
I'm incredibly jealous of your travel abroad location! I love the UK, but I've only had an opportunity to visit Scotland myself. :)

I was wondering--how did you pick classes? If you've started classes, what are they like?!

9:51 PM  
Blogger Allison N. said...

Hey John,
I was wondering if you had any suggestions about what types of classes to take while studying abroad? Are you trying to take them for credit, or just for electives?
-Allison Nault

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Ali Konold said...

Hi John!

I'm also going to be studying in Dublin for Spring of 2011 using using IES. Which Dublin program did you use? I'm doing the Irish General Studies. I'm hoping I can join some music group for singing. Know anything like that around the city? I'm also hoping for an internship in a Speech Clinic. How easy is it to set up things, like your membership at the YMCA, in Ireland?

1:30 PM  

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