Study Abroad Adventures Part 1

My last two blog posts consisted of some study abroad advice, but I know my favorite part about researching my study abroad options was reading about the experiences people had in different locations! There was honestly nothing that got me more excited and I hope that this post will inspire you to go on and write about your own adventure.

While it feels like I have just arrived about a week ago, today actually marks my first full month of being in Cork, Ireland! I know this doesn’t seem like a lot considering I still have four more months to go, but honestly, time abroad goes by so quickly!

To start, I actually arrived in Dublin for my UCEAP orientation about a day late—JFK was having weather delays that made me miss my flight and the rest of my connections—so I missed out on the scheduled bus tour of Dublin, but I did have time the next day to at least walk around the city a little bit. (My advice: Even though you will have to pay for an extra night in a hotel, fly in the night before your orientation start date, not the day of, just in case of flight delays.) Ireland in general is so different from Los Angeles. For one, their way of life is much more relaxed which has done absolute wonders for this stress-bucket. Not to mention the surreal feeling of walking down cobblestone streets and buildings older than your own country. And lastly, the green landscapes that make up Ireland are completely breathtaking!

I was lucky enough to visit the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula with the University of College Cork International Society in the Southwest of Ireland two weekends ago and it looked exactly like how I had pictured Ireland all these months. If you ever find yourself in Ireland, I would highly recommend going on a Ring of Kerry tour. My personal favorites along this route were the Lough Lean in Killarney and Torc Waterfall—which also has a nearby hiking trail that offers some stellar views from above!

Just yesterday, some friends and I went to Blarney Castle just outside the city of Cork and spent half the day exploring the castle, the surrounding gardens and caves. Thank god it was a relatively nice day without a drop of rain, because the steep and narrow staircases and ledges to reach the top of the castle and Blarney Stone made me nervous enough as it was! For those that don’t know, Blarney Castle is home to the Blarney Stone, where legend has it that kissing the stone will endow the kisser with the gift of gab (or eloquence).  In order to kiss the stone, however, you must lie down and lean backwards over the edge of the castle while an assistant holds your legs down. Needless to say, but I wouldn’t recommend it to those, like me, who are afraid of heights.

During my time here I have also been able to attend the UCC Languages Ball! (Yes, you read that right.) As the name implies, College Balls are a formal, prom- esque event hosted by one or more student societies (a.k.a. student clubs) at a rented out venue. These balls are a big aspect of university life in the UK and Ireland with multiple held throughout the year, so pack at least one semi-formal or formal dress if you are going abroad because there is a good chance you will attend at least one and what girl doesn’t love to dress up! All-in-all, it was a great night where I got to meet Irish as well as other international students from across Europe. You can check out the fantastic "after movie" by Ignas Luagalis of Whattime Production below!

video:http://vimeo.com/118398086

Keep an eye out for part 2 of my Study Abroad Adventures because there are some fun events happening within the next two weeks!