Trinity Department: English
Home University: University of Southern California, English and Narrative Studies Major
When I decided to spend a semester studying abroad in Dublin, I knew I was in for some pretty big changes, but nothing really could have prepared me for what I found when I arrived here. I was slightly worried that it would be raining all of the time and I’d never get to see the sun. However, after being here for over a month, I can confidently say that my fears were very quickly disproved and I was able to confidently settle into Trinity for the semester. I did realize though that while it’s not always raining, it’s a good idea to have some sort of rain protection on you, so I am getting a lot of use out of the raincoat I never considered buying until I committed to studying here.
Ireland is beautiful so far. The campus itself is beautiful. I didn’t realize before getting here what it would be like walking through the front gates. USC, my home university, is wonderful, but it doesn’t exactly have a main entrance that instantly provides some sort of “wow” factor just from stepping through it, but Trinity has a breathtaking view of the front square of campus once you step through the gates. There’s the Campanile right ahead as you walk in with a lovely green lawn behind it. I’m actually living right off this front square now and so far every morning I walk outside I’m still a little in awe of where I am. Hopefully this doesn’t fully wear away. Trinity is a smaller campus than I’m used to, both physically and in terms of the student body, which makes it feel immediately very welcoming. My classes are all small discussions, which makes it easier to get to know the other students in the class, as well as to have good discussions about the material.
I also didn’t realize just how true it was when I was told that Trinity is right in the middle of Dublin. You walk outside the gates and are literally in the middle of the city. With going to school in Downtown Los Angeles, I’m very comfortable with this situation, but there are definitely big differences between the two. Not the least of which being the river in the middle of Dublin. So far I’ve really enjoyed getting to walk around the city, looking at all of the different shops and restaurants and things that they have here. Dublin as a city is very easy to get around, which made me able to feel at home pretty quickly. While the bus system is still a little confusing, mostly because the buses tend to run late, I was able to figure out how to get around my immediate area in the first few days.
There’s a pub on every corner, and also several in-between each corner. These are actually one of my favorite things here so far. Some people teased me about going to Ireland, saying that I was going just to sit around and drink Guinness, but I’ve found that going to the pub is a really fun social event. There’s always an event going on at a pub near campus, whether it’s an open mic night, a pub quiz, a band performing, or something. There’s always something to do at night, and it’s a good way to get to meet people here in Ireland. I’ve come across several bookshops and coffee shops, my favorite places to hang out back home. My favorite bookstore so far is one called Chapters, because the entire second floor is full of second-hand books. Luckily I found this early on and have been able to get many of the books that I needed for class from this store. Even in this cold, I’ve located the nearest ice cream store, which advertised a gin ice cream. Even though it was raining, I stopped for a scoop. It was delicious and more fruity than I had imagined.
The people have been really friendly and ready to help me if I have any questions. Slowly but surely, I’m figuring things out, but I don’t have to worry too much because I know that I can always just ask someone if I need any help. I don’t know if it’s just Trinity or if all of Ireland is like this, but almost everyone that I’ve encountered, from the bus driver at the airport, to the woman helping me register for classes, everyone has been extremely helpful and accommodating. I didn’t necessarily expect to be so welcomed here, but it’s been a nice first month and I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here.