When people think of Ireland, including myself when I first went four years ago, they think of Dublin and kissing the Blarney Stone. I mean what else is there? I’m happy to say that during my time abroad, I have had opportunities to explore places I didn’t even know to look for. These opportunities are from the luck of attending UL (shameless plug here, folks), where not only do they have a society specifically for their international students, they have a fantastic international education department! The two have organized numerous affordable trips all around the country and I can say I’ve probably done close to all of them. That alone is enough to assure me that I picked the right school.
To date, aside from Belfast, Giants Causeway, Bunratty Castle and Cliffs of Moher (thanks to Arcadia), I have been to Cork City, Galway, Blarney Castle, the Aran Islands, Dublin, Limerick City, Connemara, and Kylemore Abbey. And before I leave for home, I can add Killarney and Kilkenny as well. That has gone above and beyond my expectations for this trip and I am so grateful! I’ve seen fabulous small cities, gorgeous green scenery, old castles and observed a culture different from my own.
I think it’s important that abroad, you embrace the country you’re going to live in. Yes, going abroad can give you a chance to go see the big cities and explore other countries close by, but there’s also a chance to find those little cities or hidden gems that you might love a little more within you’re home away from home. For example, I went to Rome. I saw so much culture and history in the popular Italian city but if I had to rank my adventures, discovering the Aran Islands was so much better and it’s hard to exactly explain why.
I’m more confident now than I was at the beginning that my choice in picking Ireland was the right one. There’s so much of Ireland that I have been able to explore and discover. Even when the time comes for me to leave, I’ll have found more places to want to visit and things to do for the day when I come back. Because not coming back to this great country is NOT an option.