The University of Limerick is settled along the west coast of Ireland, right alongside the Shannon River. Located only 15 minutes from the center of Limerick City, UL is the definition of Ireland, from the lush green landscape, to a distant view of the Forgotten Castle.
It was only natural that with my red hair, freckles and Irish roots that I would find myself study abroad my junior year in Ireland. What started as just a fun idea my freshman year, actually being in country is nothing like I imagined it would be, itâ€™s more.
Today we were lucky enough to have the sunshine from sunrise to sunset. The first week however, the Irish weather did not disappoint. One moment the sun was shining with a cool breeze, the next, hurricane-like winds with a torrential downpour would appear. But as many of the locals have told my fellow study abroad friends and myself, the weather is something you will never get used to.
But I suppose the daily sporadic rain is what gives Ireland the most beautiful foliage of every shade of green. So while always needing a raincoat and sunglasses on hand may not be ideal, it is worth the struggle for the view that I get to enjoy everyday.
While I didnâ€™t think culture shock would hit me hard, adaptation has been a significant part of these last couple weeks. The first couple of days proved to be difficult however as jetlag stuck around. I would want to sleep in the middle of the day and would find myself wide-awake at 3:00 a.m. But luckily a routine sleep schedule is supposed to come with time.
Currently I am still adjusting to Irelandâ€™s culture. Like any journey to Europe, watching cars race by on the wrong side of the road takes some getting used to. I still tend to look left when I should be looking right, giving the local Irish students a good laugh.
On the flip side, I do recognize the study abroad students here have been able to adapt much quicker than say those attending schools in Italy or France where a whole different language is being spoken. Of course, I think it helps that the Irish hold up to the reputation of being some of the friendliest people on Earth.
The Irish students do find entertainment watching all of us exchange students struggling to understand their slang, it is all in good fun. One common example we have found is when they say, â€œWe will call over later!â€, contrary to our belief, we shouldnâ€™t be waiting by the phone, for â€œcall overâ€ means they are actually coming over later.
I wasnâ€™t sure how I was going to feel about living on-campus with the Universityâ€™s housing, but I am so happy with my decision.. I live in Plassey Village, a popular student village right across the street from campus. The village is full of Irish students excited to make American friends.
All the Americans have found a favorite place on campus, The Stables Pub. Located right on the edge of campus, The Stables doesnâ€™t disappoint. Every night has a different theme, whether itâ€™s a live Irish band, or â‚¬2.00 pint night. Possibly the best part is the fact that, Stables is one of four pubs on campus, an exciting change for us who are used to dry campuses.
The first two weeks here in Ireland have been more than I couldâ€™ve imagined and I am so excited to be spending three more months here. This upcoming weekend we will get to explore more of Ireland, as we will be traveling to Galway. I look forward to sharing all of my experiences from right here in Limerick to future travels across Europe. So for now, as the Irish love to say, ye have a grand!