Visiting Student Departments at Trinity: English, Political Science, and Sociology
Home University: University of California Berkeley, Ethnic Studies
Trinity has a wide array of societies to join. It was actually hard to decide which ones I would be able to be a part of because there are so many choices yet limited time to spare, accounting for lecture and study time. But when I made my choice to join the International Students’ Society (DUISS), which is one of Trinity’s most active societies, I knew it was the right one, since it has a great reputation. DUISS is a wonderful society to join whether you are an International or Exchange student, or even if you are Irish and just want to meet new people from different parts of the world, so all students from Trinity are welcomed to join. DUISS’s key activities are centered around travelling, and making sure students see the top sites from all over Ireland. But also, DUISS puts on movie nights, as well as pub gatherings where people have more opportunities to socialize together. Usually during the pub get togethers, the first one hundred people to arrive get free drinks, but everyone gets free food. The best part though, is that it only costs three Euros to join!
I have had the chance to attend two out of the three travel trips DUISS has put on thus far. The first was a day trip to Northern Ireland’s Giant’s Causeway (a coastal site with basalt columns deriving from an ancient volcanic eruption), Carrick-a-Rede (a famous rope bridge of Antrim), and a tour of the beautiful Dunluce Castle. It truly was an amazing trip. The bus ride had great scenery and was actually relaxing. I am a student who is older than most, since I come from a non-traditional academic background, and so I was a bit reluctant to go on a trip on a bus with a younger crowd, but it was great. Trinity students are so much more mature and easy to get along with than a lot of the younger adults that I have come into contact with during my college experience. People were really friendly, ready to chat, and were very considerate of each other throughout the trip, which was great to see these good qualities come out in my fellow peers. So, the first trip was a success, though the weather was unbelievably unforgiving with hailstorms and winds that would blow people down to the ground, but the trip was still a great one because of everyone’s attitude. Everyone made the best of the weather, and most of us agreed that it actually added to the adventure. It was fun.
The second trip was to Cork, which I was not able to go to because the spaces got filled up quickly. The prices for the trips are a great deal, since the bus rides, hostel stays, and tourist attraction fees are all covered in the one DUISS fee, which they get a discount on for being a large group. So, they are usually a bargain. The system DUISS uses to sign people up on trips is first making an announcement through their Facebook page, and either using an online registration method, or having members meet at a specific time and buy their ticket in person. Usually the line is big; it is a large society. Facebook is the main medium for communication for DUISS, which works well I think. Usually an overnight trip’s schedule commences with meeting on Nassau St. in front of the Art Building around 5:30 pm and catching a bus to our destination. DUISS has members stay at usually really nice hostels, and then arranges a night of activities to begin the trip. Saturday’s morning excursions to cultural sites are started early in the morning, and I cannot stress enough how much of a great job DUISS is at picking the sites and planning for them. The one thing that DUISS does not pay for is food during the trip, but there are usually more affordable Spars or Cafes to get food at instead of high-end touristy restaurants. After getting back to the hostel, and resting for a bit, DUISS arranges another night out in the city. Sundays are usually the same schedule, except for the trip back to Dublin.
The third trip orchestrated by DUISS was a trip to Galway, which I did partake in. It was a blast. Everyone was great fun, and a pleasure to be around. It is exciting travelling around Ireland with other students who you may not know, but eventually have a chance to say meet. I have already made some friends on the trip that I would not have met unless I had joined, and it also gave me an opportunity to grow closer with acquaintances that I can now call friends who I had met in my classes. DUISS’s International Student’s Society is a great way to make friends, treat loneliness that might occur from being far away from home, and is a fantastic way to see and travel throughout Ireland. Moreover, DUISS has such a great relationship with the touring companies that they choose time and time again that one of the drivers asked us if we wanted to make a pit stop at a friend’s goat farm. We got to hold baby goats, and also witnessed a mother bonding with her new babe who had just been born an hour before we had gotten there. It was a cool surprise to be able to do that. Though if I could change something about DUISS, it would be making more spaces available for people on the trip, because it can be a big let down if you don’t get to join, but at the same time there is a pretty high chance of making it on the trip if you are diligent about checking the DUISS Facebook page, and keeping open communication with other members, since one of you might notice if new information has been announced. I am very grateful for DUISS because the society is making it easy for me to be able to travel around Ireland on the weekends, which maybe I wouldn’t get a chance to do if it wasn’t put on by the society.