So I’ve been here a week now and gone through orientation but it feels like I’ve been here so much longer with all that I’ve done! Classes start tomorrow.
On Monday, I arrived in Dublin and took a bus to the UCD campus (luckily there were other study abroad students with me on the flight so I wasn’t completely lost). I then checked in and unpacked all my stuff (two suitcases worth) for basically the rest of the day. I also took a walking tour of campus to help me get adjusted to the campus, it’s a lot different from the brick buildings of Richmond because most of UCD’s buildings are concrete. I then feel asleep at about 8 from the jetlag and slept for 12 hours!
On Tuesday, I went to IKEA (my first experience in an IKEA- it was possibly the biggest store I’ve ever been in) and purchased a bunch of things for my bathroom, bed, and kitchen. I then went out into Dublin for the first time with some other students to eat dinner and go to a pub. We went to a burger place and then went to a pub, where I knew I had to order a pint of Guinness, which was actually better than Guinness in the USA. It was nice being able to see Grafton Street, the main pedestrian-only street with many shops in downtown Dublin.
On Wednesday, the actual orientation events began and they had an international student welcome. It was in their biggest lecture hall of over 500 students so it was pretty intimidating compared to our small Richmond classrooms! There then was an international student fair where they had some organizations with tables displaying their services to international students. There was, for example, the career development centre as well as the library. Also, there were the two main organizations that coordinate events and trips for internationals, the International Students’ Society (ISS) and Erasmus Student Network (ESN), which I joined for two euros each. Both of these have trips and other events throughout the semester; I am hoping to go to Galway with ISS in a couple of weeks!
On Thursday, there were more orientation events. There was one talk in the morning that was catered to study abroad students and laid out some tips about living on campus, safety, and how to register with immigration. Then, in the afternoon there was an academic advisory for arts students (I’m technically an arts student). This was centered more around academics and adding/dropping classes. There was an Irish professor and he cracked joke after joke! He went on about how they don’t allow guns on campus like in America or iPhones in class. His jokes were sometimes borderline offensive but hilarious! I then went to the on-campus pub after dinner, which was pretty nice and modern for an on-campus place.
Friday was finally a relatively down day for me. I went to throw the Frisbee around with a friend for a little in the afternoon. At night, the Erasmus Student Network held a pub crawl, so I decided to take that. There were over 200 students on it, so we had a large group but we were divided into three groups. We went to four pubs over the course of the night and it was really fun. Some pubs were better than others but I would definitely return to a couple of them.
On Saturday, they held a “Discover Dublin” day trip so I decided to go on that. In the morning, we went to the Guinness storehouse, a must-see when in Dublin. It went over the process of brewing Guinness, which was really interesting. There was a room at the top of the building at the 7th floor which had a 360 degree view of the city which was awesome to look at! I had delicious Guinness stew for lunch which and then we went to the “Guinness academy” where we learned how to pour Guinness, learning it is a two pour process. We got certificates after we learned how to “pour the perfect pint of Guinness.” For the second part of our day, we went to Croke Park, the fourth largest stadium in the world with over an 80,000 person capacity. The all-Irish games are held here where all the counties of Ireland fight for the trophy in the sports of Gaelic football and hurling. It was really neat learning about these two sports because I’ve never seen them before.
For Sunday, I went on a Dublin walking tour of the city. We saw St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, and many other sights in the city. It was nice to finally be able to get my bearings somewhat. I then finally got an Irish phone so I can now communicate with other students at UCD.
I’m looking forward to classes in one way but in another way I wish I could just discover Dublin, Ireland, and Europe for the next four months!