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Dublin, Ireland

This is the post excerpt.

This blog will describe my journeys through this amazing country, and through Europe all together. I can’t wait to see where the next four months take me!

Cultural Differences

The difference between Ireland and America are vast, but the difference between the cultures are even more vast. Schooling, for example, most people in Ireland go for their masters, and tuition costs around $300 a semester for them. The grading scales are completely different here also. A 40% is considered a passing grade, and anything above a 70% is an ‘A’ although they don’t actually use letter grades over here. Exams count for way more of your grade than anything else, which I suppose explains why you need a lower percentage to actually pass the module (course). I am taking 4 courses here, and my final exams for each course are 50%, 70%, 80%, and 100%. We have what is called “Continous Assessment” which can be equivalent to a midterm. Your CA is usually a paper or a presentation. Other than your CA, your entire grade is your final exam. No pressure or anything.

Another difference I have noticed between Ireland and America is how people dress when they go to class. In America, it’s usually a struggle for any of us to even put jeans on, let alone do our hair and makeup. Here in Ireland, everyone is dressed and made up perfectly even for an 8 am class. Sweatpants and Hoodies are definitely not a thing over here. Honestly, generally speaking, Irish dress way nicer than Americans. Girls here do wear a great deal more makeup than America girls as well.

Drinking is completely a societal norm. We have a bar on our campus, that you can find the Irish drinking at, at any time of the day, whether it be 11 am or  11 pm. It is totally acceptable to have a pint in between classes, and definitely an everyday activity. There are places to go out and drink every single night of the week, including DCU’s event “Shite Night” where they essentially play really bad music and every DCU student comes together.

Even in terms of words, we definitely say quite different phrases. Being here for four months, I have begun to say “cheers” instead of “thank you.” We have learned so much about the culture of Ireland by being surrounded by the Irish and living with them. Ireland is an amazing country with an even more amazing culture, and I couldn’t be happier than I chose Dublin as a place to call my second home. I know that Ireland will always have a piece of my heart.

Exploring one country at a time.

How is it possible to actually only have one month left of this incredible adventure? I have now been here for just over 80 days and I feel like Dublin has become a part of me and the thought of leaving makes me extremely sad. I have had the amazing opportunity of traveling to four countries so far. First, the girls took a trip to London, England, where we spent 4 amazing days learning about the architecture and visiting monumental sights that I never knew I would see in my lifetime. From Big Ben to the London Eye, to West Minster, London was just as beautiful as I had ever imagined.

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My second trip took me for the day to Brussels, Belgium. How amazing is it that you can take a day trip to a country for just under 30 euros. Although we almost missed our flight back to Ireland, we were able to explore the city of Brussels just enough to see exactly what we wanted.

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After Brussels, we spent the weekend in the wonderful city of love, Paris. To stand outside of the Eiffel Tower was breathtaking and something I will never forget. We spent the weekend sitting at cafe’s, eating croissants, and seeing art unimaginable.

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The next weekend, we flew to Amsterdam where we spent 5 amazing relaxing days, cruising the canals, viewing the art of Van Gogh, and touring the Heineken brewery.

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I never thought it was possible to love Dublin anymore than I already did, but although I fall in love with each and every city I have visited, I always look forward to heading home to Dublin.  We meet amazing people in every city and learn more about each culture through interacting with people from the city. Luckily flying in Europe is way cheaper than traveling in America. You can catch a flight round trip to London for €30. Ryanair is the airline that any cheap college student uses. The flights are always completely booked, and there is little to no leg room on the flights, but when you are flying for an hour for as cheap as we are, you can’t really ask for much more. Their planes aren’t decked out in TVs and electronics like most flights these days, but they give you exactly what you are paying for, which I think is way better!

When I look at my life, I genuinely could not be happier with my study abroad experience and how I have spent the last three months.

Starting Fresh

One amazing thing that study abroad has given me is an opportunity to start over. Ireland has opened my eyes to a world I would have never seen by staying in the states. In the course of just one month I have made friends with americans, irish people, students from Finland, Germany, Denmark, France, and so many other countries. It is amazing being able to learn first hand about countries that are not like ours. People are so genuinely fascinated by how different ones life can be just because you live in a different place in the world.Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

I feel as though I have grown so much as a person in just one short month. Dublin has given me a sense of independence and gratefulness. I am so unbelievably grateful to be given this amazing opportunity. There is so much more to life than what we see, and being able to see it first hand is literally indescribable. If I could give advice to any person contemplating taking the daunting step of studying abroad it would be; go. Go while you can. Life is short, but life is amazing, and there is no feeling better than knowing you have stepped out of your comfort zone and accomplished something that not everyone can do. I wouldn’t change the last month for the world, and I am so excited to see how the next three months go. Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

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