The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is exactly 4053.95 miles away from Trinity College Dublin. I distinctly remember the excitement and giddiness that coursed through my veins at the time of my acceptance because I had dreamed of studying abroad at Trinity College since the beginning of my college experience. Trinity is a world-renowned institution and I knew I wanted to challenge my own views and grow as a global citizen here. Throughout the application process, I repeatedly read and heard about how different the American educational system is to Ireland, however, I did not fully grasp how different it would be until I was sitting in an auditorium at orientation thousands of miles away from home.
Before coming to Trinity for a semester abroad, Irish history was mostly a mystery to me.
Attending public school in the Midwestern United States, Irish history was only touched on in a minor way, classes such as AP European History, where a subtle mention of British battles to expand their occupation of Ireland were entwined with Scottish rebellions and other British-colonial expeditions. Meanwhile, the Irish community in my town was virtually non-existent, or at least as blind to their history as I am of my genealogical predecessors. Thus, events liked “The Troubles” and people like Michael Collins were treated more as answers to Jeopardy questions than consequential historical figures.
By Michael Singer, Fordham University student, studying at Trinity College Dublin
Walking onto Trinity’s campus for the first time felt, in all honesty, a bit intimidating. After passing through a grandiose hardwood door, I entered into a plaza filled with dozens of tourists and students all gazing up at the heavy stone façades of the veritable city of buildings that ringed the courtyard. Directly in front of me stood Trinity’s campanile, much larger and more imposing than I’d imagined it, standing dramatically in the dead center of the bustle. As excited as I was to be there, a couldn’t help but feel a twinge of fear.
By Ava Kristy, UC Santa Cruz student studying at Trinity College Dublin
I think one of the things people most readily associate with Irish culture are its pubs. When I told family and friends that I had decided to study at Trinity, I got a lot of pub recommendations and a couple warnings about not drinking too much. While I would say that drinking is a big part of college culture in any country, Ireland does it in a really unique way. The live music in almost every bar I’ve been to has been one of my favorite things about going out in Dublin.
By Jordan Hall, Michaelmas 2018 Study Abroad Student from the University of California, Santa Barbara
Between studying for classes and exploring the sights, it can be difficult to find the time to root yourself. You may convince yourself you don’t need to make connections, especially if you are only staying for a short time, like a semester. But, a lack of connections can make us feel isolated and lonely while in an unfamiliar place. I can assure you that your experience will be much more enjoyable if you make an effort to meet people. It doesn’t have to be a deep connection and you shouldn’t try to force any friendships, but finding your niche can give you an enormous sense of well-being, even if you only connect with your group once a week. It goes beyond answering the small-talk questions like, “What are you involved in?” Joining a group or society allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and make your mark. It allows you to place yourself among the constant backdrop of life in a foreign place that you are only a temporary part of. Continue reading How to find your niche or “home-away-from-home” while studying abroad in Ireland?
By Fiona Corcoran, Michaelmas 2018 Study Abroad Student from American University
Most of my friends thought I was silly to arrive in Dublin for study abroad almost a full month before classes actually started. To them, the later semester schedule that many European schools keep seemed like an opportunity for a longer, stress-free summer. But for me, it was a chance to get a head start on adjusting to life in a new country. The Semester Start-Up Programme (SSP), a three-week pre-semester course at Trinity designed for international and visiting students, was hugely helpful in this area. By the time most visiting students were just arriving for Freshers’ Week, I had made new friends, gained a stronger understanding of Irish history, and knocked a few must-see locations off my list.