Arriving in Ireland
From the moment I stepped off the plane and my feet planted themselves on the Emerald Isle, I was swept into a whirlwind of new faces, a new school, and a new culture. While I was very excited for my study abroad trip in Galway, Ireland, I was also a little intimidated to enter a country where I had to start all over with making friends and finding my way around. I’ve never felt more like a freshman, aside from when I actually was a freshman.
I moved into my quaint apartment that I now share with three other roommates who all happen to be from the US as well. Each morning I walk to campus, rain or shine (mostly rain), which is about a 15-20 minute walk. I quickly came to the realization that the classes at NUI Galway couldn’t be more different from the classes at Nazareth. The courses here are held in giant lecture halls with anywhere from 100-250 students. My final grade for all of my classes comes from one final essay that counts as 100% of my grade. Yes, this means I have absolutely no homework while I am here. Amazing, right? Actually, it is quite terrifying because while having no homework is super relaxing, the one essay that is worth 100% of my grade is always looming in the back of my mind.
After about 2 weeks or so of living here, I had all of my classes sorted out, I had made some friends, and as my reservations began to fade. I was able to really start enjoying this beautiful place. In the heart of the city there is a pedestrians only cobblestone street that contains tons of little shops, cafes, restaurants, and pubs. During Christmas and New Years, the whole street has lights strung from building to building, so when walking at night, the whole street is beautifully lit. I’ve spent many of my days simply wandering around, grabbing a coffee, and taking it all in. While this never gets old, I don’t need to travel far to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
The rural life isn’t far away; there are sheep and cow farms 10 minutes in any direction of Galway. There are small cottages and homes with huge green fields beside them that truly give you the feel of living in Ireland. I have also found that it is very easy to access beautiful hiking trails and trips to the countryside that are just outside of Galway city.
Having both the city life and countryside adventures within walking distance from my apartment makes this the perfect place for me. I am so pleased with the adventures I’ve had so far and so excited for the adventures that are still to come. And when I’m not out adventuring, I still sit here and feel the excitement that comes with knowing I get to live in this beautiful country for the next 5 months.