Getting the chance to study in Ireland was a dream come true. I had dreamed about doing so since the first time I had visited the country when I was 11 years old. Even then, I knew I would come back one day, and with the Irish American University, I got that opportunity.
During my six-week term, I took the classes Anglo-Irish Writers, Irish Cinema and Society, and History of the Great Potato Famine. Each class was different in its own way. The literature professor preferred a lecture format, my cinema instructor open discussion, and the history professors a mixture of the two with occasional field trips to areas of historical importance. All three classes went by in a whirlwind; I doubt I could recall every detail I learned during the two weeks allotted to each class. I do know, however, that I loved each class for its content, the instructor, and the new perspective it gave me of Ireland.
The university staff, Colum Cronin especially, was very helpful and made sure we were never bored. We went on group trips to the Guinness Factory, the old Jameson Distillery, a literary pub crawl through Dublin, a comedy club, hurling and Gaelic football matches, and a ceili (my personal favorite), where we learned how to set dance and watched traditional Irish dancing, not to mention weekly soccer games among the students. I personally think Colum was our godsend throughout the trip. He was so easy to turn to with any problems, and he was great for suggestions of where to go around Dublin. I mean it when I say that none of it would have been possible without Colum.
As well as providing us with its own arrangements of entertainment, IAU gave us incredible freedom in our free time. Besides our assignments, we had plenty of time to explore Dublin and take trips around Ireland to Galway, Cork, and Belfast; a few even managed time in Madrid, Amsterdam, and Edinburgh. I myself kept to Ireland, going to the Cliffs of Moher, Glendalough, Galway, and Dun Laoghaire with a few fellow students. What I loved most was seeing new places and meeting new people, having the best time of my life with the friends I made while in this program. Experiencing the best of Ireland wasn’t just seeing the sights; it was going out and meeting the locals, singing the songs, and having the time of my life in the process. I grew so close to some of these people in the weeks we were together; we keep in touch and want to meet again someday soon, maybe even in Ireland!
Studying with Irish American University in Dublin was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Everyone says you should study abroad at some point in your life, and I was lucky enough to do it at a great school with amazing students. I desperately didn’t want to leave Dublin when the time came; writing this, I wish I were there now! I felt right at home in Ireland, and I can’t wait for the day that I can go back.