Ethan Richie – Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg, Virginia
I knew Trinity College Dublin was the place for me to study abroad because of the school’s rich history dating back to the 1590s. What I was not prepared for was the wonderfully rich history of Dublin dating back to the 800s. Studying in the School of Religion, Trinity’s locale in Dublin has offered me an extremely unique, once in a lifetime experience. Not only to learn about religion in international relations from seasoned professors from around the globe, but also explore Dublin’s rich religious history.
For my living accommodations, while studying abroad at Trinity, I found myself in the classic Irish neighborhood known as the Liberties. A working-class neighborhood and home to the famous Guinness Storehouse, the location offers traditional pubs, shops, brick houses, and of course many stone churches. Anyone familiar with Thomas Street would instantly recognize the spire of St. Augustine & St. John Church, commonly known as John’s Lane Church. Built-in 1874, the Church was built in the French Gothic Revival style and adds a sharp tone to the road, and makes for a great getaway for students living around the area.
Another popular destination for students is Dublin’s famous Grafton Street. A pedestrian-friendly street, Grafton is filled with lively local shops, big-name stores, and fun eateries. Hidden in a corridor is the beautiful St. Teresa’s Church run by the Discalced Carmelites. A great location close to Trinity College Dublin for silent reflection, the interior makes one forget the fact they are in a bustling city.
Dublin is home to some other fascinating churches filled with abundant history including the Protestant St. Patrick Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral, both of which are filled with history and have reduced student rates for admittance. Whether you are curious to explore your own belief system, interested in learning about the relationship between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland, or fascinated by history and architecture spanning back 1,000 years, Dublin offers a great location to expand your studies. I can think of no better place to be an undergraduate student interested in resolving religious conflict and peace studies than at Trinity College Dublin.
If you are studying in Ireland, then you are studying in a country with dazzled autumn, mild winter, shiny springtime, and glorious summer days – if it doesn’t rain. And if you are studying at Trinity, you are lucky to study in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a city full of both old things to admire and new things to discover! Take a walk from Trinity’s college green to see the history of the city and explore.
Cork is the capital of the South West, the perfect place to enjoy life to the fullest, just 2.5 hours by train from Dublin! The city centre is built on an island, embraced by the River Lee and spanned by many bridges. Cork has numerous pedestrian walkways flanked by smart boutiques and vast department stores, but also theatres, museums and some of the best art galleries in Ireland. At every corner you can find an amazing panoramic view!
Before I came to Trinity, “what department will you be studying in?” was one question my friends had for me the most frequently. It’s true that I major in Chinese literature in my home university, which means it’s hard to find a course in Europe to meet the requirements of a department of Chinese literature in China. But actually, when I decided to spend a semester in Trinity, I thought it was time for me to try something different, especially try something really European and Irish. So I signed up for modules in art history, and started my semester abroad in a brand new field. I am taking two modules from the department of History of Art this semester. One of them is Introduction to History of European Art and Architecture, which is more general, and the other is Art and Sculpture in Europe in the 17th Century, which is more specific. Both modules consist of lectures and tutorials; the lectures give introductions and the professors’ ideas on the artists, the works and the concepts of a certain period of time, and the tutorials let students present their own ideas after reading and preparation, focusing on specific topics with the guidance of the professor.
As a visiting student at Trinity, it has been important to me to learn as much about the city of Dublin and its people while I’m here, in addition to everything I’m learning at Trinity. Being from America, Dublin’s centuries-old architecture and history is remarkable. Its city centre alone offers an abundance of things to explore – I have never been bored.