I find myself thinking about this quite often. I keep thinking “oh, that’s weird” when I see things that are different than that of the US. Every time I think that something is “weird” I try to tell myself “no, it’s just interesting.”
Over the past week here in Dublin, I can honestly say I have explored and learned more than I ever have. The week started with a tour of campus, which was followed by a walking tour of the city the next day. After a day on our own in the city, we had the chance to go to Causey Farm, a traditional Irish farm. And of course, the week had to end with watching the final Gaelic football game of the season, which Dublin won! Talk about a diverse country.
Living on campus here is a little different than what I have become used to over the past two years at my home university. I had to go grocery shopping and plan my own meals…does this make me an adult? We found grocery shopping to be a bit of a challenge between not knowing the brands and not knowing what to buy in general. In Ireland, you have to pay per plastic bag as a way to help the environment, so the walk back from Tesco (the local grocery store) was a bit of a challenge. It’s about 20 minutes and I was carrying one large reusable bag.
A more familiar adventure we went on this week was to Ikea. It was great going somewhere I recognized, but at the same time, it was a little weird. At one point, I forgot that I was even in Dublin. Yes, I will probably find myself in Ikea again over the next three months, but I would rather go to places I am unfamiliar with because it’ll help me learn my surroundings.
Our first Friday night was Culture Night, which is when museums in the city stay open late and extra tours are offered. We had the chance to stop by an art gallery, the National Library of Ireland, and the National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology. Tourists and residents of Dublin are among the people who participate in Culture Night.
I can’t wait until I have the chance to get lost in the city to really learn my way around and venture out on my own. But for now, my markers are the Ha’penny Bridge, Trinity College, and Grafton Street.
Not only is living on campus a different situation than I am accustomed to, but so is the educational system. Ireland uses the cohort system, so we were not able to register for classes until orientation week. What does this mean? It is a struggle to get in contact with your home university to get courses approved, but it will all be worked out by the time classes start.
If my first week here in Dublin has anything to say about the rest of the semester, I cannot wait for all of the fabulous opportunities. I made my first meal, which may have been peanut butter and jelly, but you have to start somewhere! While exploring the city, we found a really cute café that I definitely plan on going to quite a few times. Most importantly, I feel like my group has formed a bond that will only grow as we get further into the semester.
Tracey Pyser, Susquehanna University