Friday, February 04, 2011

Ali K. - Dublin, Ireland - Spring 2011

Dia dhuit! Conas atá tú? That's Irish for Hello, and How are you?

I've been studying abroad in Dublin using IES Irish General Studies Program for nearly a month now. The city here is vibrant and the people are very warm and welcoming. It's the middle of winter, but the temperature never gets below freezing. But there's a common saying in Ireland, that Ireland's weather is fickle at best. I have found this statement to be true as the weather changes rather quickly and rains a lot. But its much better than 2.5 feet of snow!

Dublin is a relatively young city with about 70% of its population between the ages of 20-40. As such, life in the city is exciting with the many pubs playing traditional irish music and dance clubs. During the day, there are plenty of places to shop and places of interest, like the National Museum of Ireland or St. Stephen's Green. I especially like Grafton Street, which despite being a tourist area, always has many things going on that can keep your attention for hours.

Dublin is also a "walking city." The city is smaller, compared to Chicago and New York, which makes it easier to walk everywhere. And that's just what the people here do. They walk everywhere! I've been doing it mostly myself (with the help of occasional public buses). One can really get far with a little bit of pocket change and a map.

For my classes, my curriculum is very unique and unlike any other classes in the world. All of my classes are about some aspect of Ireland. For instance, I'm taking a class called Irish Myth & Folkfore, which involves reading Celtic myths and discussing how they tie into superstitions and beliefs in Ireland.

Another one of my favorite classes is Irish Language & Culture. In this particular class, I'm learning simple Irish phrases to use in everyday conversation and the different aspects of culture in Ireland, such as music and dance. It's exciting to be able to speak Irish to another person and I even learned how to do a simple Irish dance!

These are the Cliffs of Moher in near Galway
I've been outside of Dublin as well. I've been to Galway where my group and I saw the Cliffs of Moher. It was a very impressive sight! It was cold and rainy on that day and the wind was gusting so much that I could lean against it entirely without falling over. I've also been to Brú na Bóinne where I went to see the Newgrange burial mound. What's amazing about these mounds is that they were built 500 years before the pyramids. I'm planning to visit other nearby European cities, like London. I can't wait to go!

3 Comments:

Anonymous Jessica Thompson said...

I had considered studying in Dublin and it sounds like you're having a great time! I actually decided to study in Galway instead but I know my program is gong to visit Dublin which will be very exciting! I really like hearing about all the Irish courses you're taking. I'm not really sure what kind of courses to take when I go abroad...I'm pretty much finish with the major (Psych) and minor (Intercultural Studies) I'm planning on so I was wondering what kind of tips you could give me for registering for classes in Ireland. I was worried I don't have enough background knowledge to take Irish cultural courses.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Alexandra Konold said...

Galway, eh? I've been there. It's a lovely town. They have really good traditional Irish music that you should listen to. I've been to other places too, so if you want some recommendations just ask me on facebook. My last name is Konold.

Don't worry about the background information. You don't need to know a thing. That's what your Irish cultural classes are for! If your program offers any, take them!

If you have the free space and time, take classes that aren't in your major (if you want). That's what I've been doing for my semester abroad and it's been a grand time so far.

It's actually quite nice to take a rest from my major classes for a semester and take classes that are fun and interesting!

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Jessica said...

Thanks Alexandra! I did end up choosing Irish cultural classes and others that I'm excited to take! It will be nice to just take a bunch of electives. Ahh so excited to travel! Is it August yet??

9:35 AM  

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