Ireland through fresh eyes
Megan shares her experience of exploring Ireland as a study abroad student
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It’s been two and a half weeks since setting foot in the lively city of Dublin. I can remember boarding my flight in New York and feeling a wave of excitement and anxiety all at the same time. I had traveled many times before, but this was the first time that I would be doing so on my own outside of the United States. When I arrived I knew none of the 70 new faces during orientation for the study abroad program, IES Abroad, but since then I have made several new friends from all throughout the States and Irish friends as well.
The first week was full of new conversations and getting to know people. The conversations were always the usual, “what’s your name...where are you from?” and so on. But the number one question I always got asked and still do get asked is “why, Ireland?” To that, my response is always something along the lines of “why not Ireland?”
Ireland in my eyes is a completely new adventure waiting to happen. Every day in Ireland brings something new to the table. I find myself sometimes in complete awe traveling by foot around the city and taking in the culture, the people, and everything else it has to offer. Everything about it is so unique. Everything from the street artwork, to the live music always being played on Grafton street, to the brightly painted doors all over the city, to the joyous voices and shouts from inside the local pub, to walking around in St. Stephen’s Green, to the history found all over this city excites me. This city and country has so much to offer.
In addition to exploring Dublin, I just recently had the opportunity to travel to Galway as well. Just like Dublin, Galway has so many fun and exciting things to do as well. I think one of my favorite memories in Galway is walking from the city to the coast and just standing on the beach and taking in the beauty of both the sea and the city behind me. Another one of my favorite memories of the trip to Galway was traveling down to the Cliffs of Moher. Even though it was a tad bit overcast the day that we went, the weather didn’t stop us from gazing at the beauty of the cliffs. I remember we would hike a little ways and then stop to take in the views and say surely the view can’t get better than this, but surely enough to our surprise we would hike further up and the sight of the cliffs would be even more incredible from the time before. I think in some sense this is how all of Ireland is, in other words you think surely it can't get better than this and then surely enough I turn the corner and come upon something more exciting.
Overall Ireland has been such an wonderful experience so far, and I can’t wait to get the chance to explore and see more of it throughout the rest of my time here. Although at times getting to witness and partake in a whole new culture has been definitely a learning experience, it has given me so many new friends, experiences, and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime as well. Even though I have only been here two weeks, I am already dreading the thought of leaving this amazing place. I know for sure though that once I do leave, I will eventually make my way back to this special place.