Tag Archives: Travel

5 YEAR’S TIME: FROM VISITING TRINITY TO MY GRADUATION – Experiencing Trinity as an American

Eli is one of our US students who is in her fourth year in Trinity.  Here she lets us know about her experience of moving to Ireland to study at Trinity. 

The first time I ever set foot in Trinity was November of 2012. It was Thanksgiving break of my senior year in high school and I convinced my family to fly half way around the world with me for what I knew would be a very important college visit.

The moment I walked through the front gate of college I was sold. There’s something magical about strolling in from the loud bustling street into the dark tunnel of front gate. Those big wooden doors transport you into another world, a bright imposing and enduring oasis. After over 400 years of change, so much remains remarkably the same at Trinity. The history really drew me in.Photo 3

We got a tour from an American girl with an Irish accent who had just started her third year here and spent the hour singing its praises. Her stories and reassurances really made me confident that if she could do it so could I.

I met for coffee with a member of the Global Relations Office and a lecturer from the Political Science Department. They both made me feel important, like I was welcome and wanted at Trinity. That feeling, I’m happy to say, has never gone away. As I was leaving campus I wondered if walking down those cobblestone paths between the old stone buildings would feel just as magical if I was there every day. Five years later the magic still hasn’t worn off.

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Almost a year later, in September of 2013, I showed up for my first day of college. The whole first week was a blur. Meeting tons of new people with names I couldn’t pronounce. Joining a million clubs and societies unsure of what I even liked to do. Trying to translate Irish slang. Struggling to cook dinner for myself for the first time. Drinking gallons of tea with my new housemates in Trinity Halls and talking incessantly about what life in Ireland is really like. Everyone was friendly and amazingly welcoming. I can’t appreciate enough how kind and inclusive everyone in this country is. It’s so easy to feel at home here, even amongst strangers.

The entire first year I was so busy making friends, going to balls, trying to understand the weather, having dinner parties, traveling, and panicking over exams, before realising they weren’t really that bad, to stop and think about being homesick or scared. When I went home for the summer I couldn’t wait to come back.

Throughout the next two years I settled into life in Ireland and travelled a ton, taking advantage of Ireland’s amazing sites and proximity to Europe’s most iconic destinations.

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I got a job in the Trinity Global Room giving tours and helping other international students. I moved out of Trinity Halls and rented a house with friends. I put my head down and studied more than ever before for the Schols exams and ended up spending my first Christmas away from home.

I became so much more independent, something I think a lot of American college students miss out on. One of the things I appreciate the most about Trinity is the fact that they don’t coddle you. It’s on you to study, to show up for classes, to find accommodation and to ask for help if you need it. The support services at Trinity are second to none, but at the end of the day it’s up to you to take advantage of them and to push yourself to succeed. While it was intimidating at the time, now that I’m finishing up my time here I feel so confident that I can go out into the real world and take the initiative. I think this is a big reason so many entrepreneurs come out of Trinity. Going to Trinity taught me how to push myself and to earn everything I accomplish.

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I’m in the second semester of my final year now, trying to decide what to do with the rest of my life. Only now looking back, I realise how much I’ve learned, both in and out of the classroom, in the years since I first set foot in Front Square. I’ve gained a global perspective, friends from all over the world, a masters level undergraduate degree, a new home and confidence in who I am. These four years have been the best years of my life. While there have definitely been hard times and some tears and homesickness along the way, I know I’ve grown so much from my time here. I’ve decided I want to stay in Ireland after college is over. I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready to leave. My experience here at Trinity has changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

In November of 2017, I’ll be walking through the front gates again, this time to graduate. Five years ago, going to college at Trinity was my dream. I’ve been so lucky that that dream became a reality. While it’ll be hard to say goodbye, I’m happy to know the time I’ve spent here will be a part of me forever.

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If you would like to get to know Trinity College, consider coming along to one of our upcoming US events from 25 March to 4 April in Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.


Grace is one of our US students who is in her fourth year in Trinity.  Here she lets us know about her experience of studying BESS at Trinity, one of our Top 10 Courses. 

Your name: Grace Tierney

Where you’re from in the US: Annapolis, Maryland – a small coastal town about an hour from Washington, DC.

Your year of study: Final year (4th year)

Your programme of study / course:
Business, Economics, and Social Studies (BESS) – getting a dual honors degree in Political Science and Sociology. 

What made you decide to study your course at Trinity?

I liked that BESS allowed the opportunity to choose from different degree options rather than choosing a course that bound your degree from day one.

What, if anything, was the most challenging thing about moving to Ireland to study?

The most challenging thing about moving to Ireland for me, as crazy as it sounds, was that I didn’t anticipate it being challenging at all. Going in to my first year at Trinity, not expecting to miss home or experience any culture shock at all (naïve, I know) meant that when those things happened, they really threw me for a loop. Luckily, the Trinity community really helped me find my footing and my friends were there when I needed them. 

How did you overcome the challenge?

As silly as it sounds – I overcame this challenge by letting time run its course. Homesickness and culture shock are things that get better with time and patience. Committing to doing everything I could to make sure that I was building a life in Dublin and making the most of my time at Trinity, through making great friends, exploring Ireland, focusing on academics, and getting involved in societies really helped me feel at home and helped make the transition easier.


What aspect / module of your course have you enjoyed studying the most so far and why?

I’ve really enjoyed getting a more global perspective in my subjects – especially politics. If I had gone to university in America it most likely would’ve been a school in Washington DC and while I love DC, I know that I am getting a more worldly perspective studying politics outside of the “American bubble.”



Keri is one of our US students who is in her fourth year in Trinity.  Here she lets us know about her experience of studying English at Trinity, one of our Top 10 Courses. 

I get the desire to get out and see the world; I also get that it can be scary to consider moving thousands of miles away from your family, so I commend you for coming this far. Honestly, the best thing you can do for yourself at this juncture is read all of the research you can get your eyeballs on. To that end, I’d like to share with you a little bit of insight into the reasons I chose to go to Trinity.


One Young World Summit – Reflections

In her final installment of the series, Sadhbh reflects on her trip to the One Young World Summit in November 2015, taking place in Bangkok.

When I received my acceptance email to the One Young World Summit, dozens of expectations and possibilities began flooding into my mind. We often tend to build these things up too much in our minds, overestimating in our glow of excitement how much of an impact they will have and how transformed we will be afterwards. As the jet lag begins to fade and the taste of fresh pineapple becomes but a memory, I have the chance to reflect on my whirlwind trip to Bangkok – and I can safely say that my experience over those four days not only met every expectation and provided me with all the possibilities that I had imagined, but in fact left me with many, many more.

                  I expected Bangkok to be an incredible backdrop for the event, and indeed our host city had a huge role to play in the experience. It made it all the more exciting and exotic for me, and I enjoyed the bustle and movement of the city as much as I did the fresh pomegranate juice from the street hawkers and the smell of incense drifting from colourful roadside shrines. No modality of sensation is left untouched when walking the streets of Bangkok. The governor of Bangkok and his administration did their utmost to welcome us and ensure our safety, perhaps erring on the side of excess at times – I’m not sure that I’m quite important enough to warrant a guard of honour of policemen or three people to help me cross the road! Although we were very busy and didn’t have the chance to explore much, we got to see parts of the city, such as the gardens of the Royal Palace, Chulalongkorn University and Lumpini Park, that I wouldn’t have visited of my own accord. To top it off, when a dance off began in Lumpini Park on our second night, the governor himself came to join in, showing us his best moves and forever cementing Bangkok as one of my favourite cities in the world.


One of my biggest expectations was for a diverse and dynamic line-up of speakers, and one cannot find fault with One Young World in this respect. Every sector was represented, from business to sport, healthcare to media – even Durex came along to speak to us! Each speaker had something important and provoking to say, but I found Maajid Nawaz, a reformed Islamic extremist, particularly interesting. He explained the reasons why people turn to extremism and gave me a new perspective on the Isis situation and how it has developed. Kofi Annan and Paul Polman both spoke passionately about climate action and certainly provoked many of us into taking a more proactive stance on this issue. While it was mind-blowing to be in a room with such brilliant people as these, the most inspiring of all were the delegate speakers, young people taking incredible steps in their communities and abroad to make this world a better place. Yeonmi Park, who spoke bravely about her escape from North Korea and the challenges she faced integrating into society after this, made me realise how lucky we are to have our freedom – although she told us, “I didn’t escape for freedom. I escaped for a bowl of rice”. Lina Khalifeh from Jordan works to put an end to violence against women with her self-defence organisation, SheFighter. Bryant Zebedy emotionally shed light on the troubles of his country, the Marshall Islands, as they battle increasing coastal erosion due to climate change. Francois Reyes from Paris, president of a think tank called Reveil Citoyen, gave an especially moving speech after the tragedy in Paris the weekend before. His ardour and passion captured the audience as he declared, “We will fight intolerance peacefully and never, ever give up hope”. The inspiration and empowerment I gained from listening to these delegate speakers cannot be measured. Coupled with the advice from Professor Yunus to “solve the issue of the person in front of you”, I feel ready to use these tools to create further positive change in my community.



Of course, once the serious work was done, I expected great fun to be had in the evenings. After the long days of talking and debating, our evening entertainment was catered for with dinner, live music, DJs and even a miniature carnival at the closing ceremony, complete with game booths, rides and food stalls. The highlight of these would have to be the dance-off I mentioned above. I have shimmied my way into many a circle of boppers and shakers, but never one so multicultural as this! The Portuguese guy spinning on his head was followed by a hip-hopping Japanese student, quickly elbowed aside by a tangoing couple from South America, all co-ordinated by a young man from Essex, Hussein Manawer, who later went on to win the Kruger Cowne Rising Star Programme for his phenomenal slam poetry on mental health – meaning he won a trip into space. Yes, you heard me. Outer space. And now you see why it is almost impossible to underestimate the possibilities that One Young World allows you.


What I didn’t expect were the friendships. Yes, I knew I’d make connections (hence the hasty joining of Linked In) and I knew I’d come home with more Facebook friends than I’d left with. But I did not envision coming home with friends that I fully intend to keep in touch with, from Brazil to Australia and many places in between. One Young World is more than just an organisation – it’s a community, a collection of passionate, proactive, forward-thinking young people. Yes, there is a great deal of networking and exchanging of business cards, and of course some of it is tactical. But more so, there is genuine connection and the desire to maintain this bond, because every person there ultimately wants the same thing, regardless of cultural, political or linguistic differences – to take action in order to make this world better. I am hugely grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend this Summit, and cannot thank the Global Relations Office and the Provost’s Office enough for their support. I have come home with expanding expectations of myself, plausible possibilities to connect with others on international projects, and a renewed fervour and positivity. The message of One Young World is not just for the delegates who attended the Summit. Paul Polman believes that “the reason changes are happening is because of the millennials”. We, the millennials, can call ourselves the leaders of the future – but why are we waiting for the future? It is time to talk. It is time to act. What will you do?


One Young World Summit – First Impressions

In her second installment of the series, Sadhbh writes about her trip to the One Young World Summit in November 2015, taking place in Bangkok.

I arrived into Bangkok at 7.30am on Tuesday to 27 degree heat after what my French neighbour on the plane called a ‘nuit blanc’ – an all-nighter. Wandering around the city that day, I noted that the city has changed since I was last here, but the friendliness of the Thai people has not – everywhere you look, you can see why this country is called The Land of Smiles.

The conference kicked off on Wednesday with registration in the Bangkok Convention Centre, where we got our welcome packs and picked up our delegate badges, labelled with our name and country of origin. Immediately, I was thrown into the deep end of this ‘networking’ pool ; hands were thrust towards me from every direction, stretching out from Indonesia, Australia, Bangladesh, France, countries from every continent. From students to Apple employees to founders of NGOs, there are people from all walks of life represented at this conference. I was chatting away casually to a French guy my own age before he revealed that he is president of a French think tank company, a defence advisor with NATO – and still a student of political science in Strasbourg. One rapidly gets used to feeling moderately inadequate here..

Many delegates were dressed in their traditional clothing, making for a bright and colourful procession as we were transferred from the BCC to the pier for the boat trip up the Chao Praya river. An impressive selection of canapés and iced drinks awaited us, the ideal spread over which to mingle.

The opening ceremony was held in the grounds of the Royal Palace, the first non-royal event to be held in the venue. We were blown away by the lengths that the host city went to – a traditional Thai drumming performance opened proceedings before the One Young World counsellors were welcomed to the stage, amongst them Sir Bob Geldof, Kofi Annan and Muhummad Yunus. These three men gave fantastics speeches, from Kofi’s empowerment to Bob Geldof’s ‘get real’ straight-talking. This was followed by the flag ceremony, with each of the 196 countries present at the Summit represented – and without doubt the Irish representative waved with the most gusto!

As enjoyable as that night was, the real business of the Summit began this morning at 8.30am with the Special Sessions and the Plenary Sessions. The morning sitting focused mainly on human rights (in particular the migrant crisis) and young Thai leadership and entrepreneurship. We heard from Kofi Annan on climate change as he implored us to hassle our governments ahead of the COP 21 meeting in Paris next weekend – ‘We sink or swim together, with regard to climate change, in the long term’, he said.

The highlight of the afternoon sitting for me was the Plenary Session on the environment, as this is something I feel particularly passionate about. The topics of water and sanitation, COP 21 and food waste were discussed, with one delegate telling of his #lickitclean campaign – imploring people to post pictures on social media of their empty plates after they eat, in an effort to reduce food waste. There was a session on disability, where a boy with cerebral palsy delivered a spectacular speech that moved many of the audience to tears. ‘See me’, he told us. ‘I want to be ordinary. Yes, sometimes I need help opening doors – but only if they are closed in the first place’ .

I had the opportunity to ask a question that I had submitted in advance – although the moderator of the session did struggle to pronounce my name when calling me to the stand! I asked Angelina Cheung, editor of Vogue China, if she felt a conflict in being editor of one of the world’s leading fashion magazines in one of the countries most abused by the fashion industry in terms of the sweatshops. There were some raised eyebrows, a murmur of agreement, and then a round of applause . The great thing about OYW is that it not only gives you the chance to ask the counsellors for advice but also to hold them accountable. Whether or not they choose to adequately answer those type of questions is another story !

12 hours later, we emerged from the BCC, tired, hungry, slightly overwhelmed, but thoroughly impressed and inspired. OYW aims to move young people to action – and in our first 24 hours, I can already feel these seismic effects. I’m looking forward to two more days of talking, debating and questioning, adding to my growing collection of business cards and imbibing more of the electric energy flowing abundantly at this Summit.

One Young World Summit 2015 – A Student’s Perspective

In the first instalment of the series, Sadhbh writes about her trip to the One Young World Summit in November 2015, taking place in Bangkok.

It’s a dreary afternoon in November, rain sloshing down and the tail-ends of Storm Abigail mercilessly whipping any small bit of skin that has been left exposed to the elements. I should be at home, drinking tea and watching TV (or, you know, doing some study maybe), but instead, I’m dashing around town in search of sun lotion, travel miniatures and 50% Deet spray. Not your average weekend shopping list – but this Monday, instead of hopping on the Luas to St James’s Hospital, I will be boarding a flight bound for Bangkok, where the One Young World Summit 2015 is taking place.

One Young World is an organisation that brings together young leaders from around the globe to work on solutions to pressing issues facing today’s society. Each year, they hold a Summit, where delegates are joined by eminent speakers such as Kofi Annan, Mary Robinson, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many other influential leaders. Throughout the four day programme, delegates debate and formulate ways to make change in areas such as climate change, global business and sustainable development. Last year, the summit was held in Dublin, where I had the opportunity to attend for one day as an observer. I was thoroughly inspired by what I heard there – from motivational speeches from the likes of Kofi Annan and Mark Pollack, to the incredible stories of some of the delegates themselves. This experience led to my application to attend the Summit this year as an actively participating delegate, and much to my delight, my application was successful.


I am incredibly excited to attend the Summit – and not just for the copious amounts of Pad Thai that I intend to consume over there. As a delegate, I will once again be hearing from renowned speakers (this year’s line-up includes Yeonmi Park, Bob Geldof and Professor Muhummad Yunus), but I will also have the opportunity to participate in smaller breakout sessions and workshops on topical issues such as the migrant crisis and healthcare interventions. I am very much looking forward to putting my brain to work outside of the realms of my daily college life and working with others to come up with innovative ideas and attainable plans on how to tackle some of these issues. The Summit is an unparalleled platform to form connections with like-minded young people from all across the world. I’ve even joined LinkedIn in anticipation of all these connections, although my father and I had some disagreements on what I should include on my profile – why wouldn’t future employers want to know that I have a Bronze Gaisce and spent three months working in Forever Yogurt on my J1?!

I visited Bangkok before, almost five years ago now, when I set off on my first backpacking adventure. That was a very different trip, involving 3 months of volunteering followed by all the classic backpacker activities; jungle trekking in Chiang Mai, Full Moon partying in Ko Pha Ngan and scuba-diving on Ko Phi Phi. I’m glad that I had the chance to do this before, because I certainly won’t fit it into this trip! My flight leaves Dublin at 9.15am on Monday and arrives into Bangkok (via Paris) at 7am on Tuesday morning, the day before the Summit starts. There’ll be no time to sit around recovering from the 15 hour transit time or the jet lag – the schedule is packed, with breakfast served from 6.30am and sessions running until late evening each day. However, it’s not all work and no play – on Wednesday, the Summit begins with a boat procession along the Chao Phraya River, lined with ancient temples and modern architecture, before the opening ceremony at Sanam Luang in the historic centre of Bangkok. Here, we will get to enjoy Thai culture through music acts, entertainment and traditional markets, where I anticipate I will spend my entire budget for the week on jewellery and brightly coloured harem pants.


Over the last week, hype has been steadily building on the OYW social media accounts, with pictures of Bangkok preparing for the Summit and delegates from around the world starting to make their journey there. It was recommended that we download a great app called Convene, on which one can easily connect with other delegates and peruse the event schedule. The sessions at One Young World will cover a wide range of topics, with Plenary Sessions on areas such as Human Rights and the Environment and Special Sessions with titles from “Engineering into a zero carbon future” to “Unlocking your unicorn”. There is a general focus over the four days in South East Asia and Thailand, with dedicated sessions such as Leading Thailand and ASEAN Leaders Forum. Although I have a general interest in everything that will be discussed at the Summit, I am especially interested in the issues surrounding climate change and global health. Thus, I am particularly looking forward to the Plenary Session on the Environment, as well as one of the breakout sessions I registered for – Innovative Solutions to Healthcare Challenges. Hosted by Johnson and Johnson, this workshop will look at the role of multinational healthcare companies in implementing Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives such as health crisis intervention and local community projects. I’m hoping to glean much from these sessions – and the Summit as a whole – that I can take home with me to develop and apply in my future career both at home in Ireland and abroad.

One Young World posted a video on their Instagram this week of an interview with a Trinidad and Tobago OYW ambassador, Melissa Pascal. She said, “Once you have gone to this conference, you are entirely changed. You are now a game changer”. I came back from my trip to Thailand in 2011 with a very different perspective of the world and its problems. Here’s hoping that upon my return in 2015, I will have gained the skills and knowledge necessary to become a game changer, to fight against inequalities and injustice and to be a part of the solution to these problems that the world continues to face every day.

Short Trips in and around Dublin

Having previously explored the various day trips you could take around Ireland, we now take a look at summer excursions a little closer to the capital. Byrne and Lydia,  two Student Ambassadors, look at some of the short trips you can take to sights just outside of Dublin.


1. Newgrange

Newgrange, a prehistoric Passage Tomb in County Meath, is a perfect day trip excursion for any history buff. Surrounded by the Irish countryside and less than a 60 minute journey from Dublin city centre, a visit to Newgrange is also perfect for those of us who need a break from urban living!

Buses to Newgrange can be taken from the Bus Aras Station with a student return ticket costing 25.65 euro – with a packed lunch, this is a savvy tourist’s means of exploration!


2. Castletown House:

Castletown House is situated just 20km outside Dublin City Centre. A large, impressive Country House with beautiful surrounding lands promises a comfortable spring-time picnic – or a rainy dash to Castletown House’s front door!

To get to Castletown:

With Dublin Bus, take the 67 bus from Merrion Square to Main Street Celbridge and walk (approx.. 10 – 15 mins) down the avenue to Castletown House.


3. Bray:

If you’re searching for an escape to the sea, then consider a trip to Bray! A seaside town situated close to Dublin City Centre offers stunning, oceanic views, quaint little tea shops and hosts a myriad of Arts festivals. Bray is also home to Ardmore Studios, an Irish film production company that has produced films and television series such as the Tudors, Braveheart and My Left Foot – you might even be in with a chance to meet your favourite actor!

To get to Bray:

Bray is on the DART Rail Network and a train can be taken from Pearse Street Station just across from Trinity’s Sports Centre and next to the JCR on Pearse Street. Return tickets cost 6.30 euro.


4. Howth:

Howth is a stunning coastal fishing town, just north of Dublin City. It has a remarkably small village feeling, considering its close proximity to the city centre. Indeed, it is very well serviced, with commuter darts every few minutes from town. Hence, one can leave at a moment’s notice to find the perfect, quick escape.

On a sunny day, get up and out of the city from Pearse station, and arrive into the quaint town of Howth.  Directly in front of the train station, there is a wonderful tea room, called “The Dog House Blue’s Tea Room” that serve lovely tea and cake.

A strip of road leads you to a small marina, where boats bobbe in the wind.  Across the strip, there is a very easy hill walk, and a view point where you can look across the bay of the Irish sea into Dublin City. After you’ve worked up an appetite with the short walk, we recommend returning to the city and having the famous fish and chips from Beshhoff’s The Market.

How to get there:

Howth is very easily accessible – the Dart zips along the coast in under 30 minute from Pearse Station (at the bottom end of Trinity) right to the town.  Look for the Howth Train, Northbound, €6 adult return.


5. Powerscourt

Powerscourt Estate is a large country estate, complete with a grandiose house and manicured gardens.  Originally a 13th Century castle, the building was altered and changed into a Manor in the early 1700s.  Recently refurbished into a hotel and golf course, the grounds make for a perfect day retreat.  You can see the house, stroll through the gardens, and eat in the lovely restaurant, Avoca.  The restaurant is possibly outside the student budget and so we recommend a bringing a small picnic in conjunction with a trail to a stunning waterfall – the highest in Ireland!

How to get there:

Take the Dart southbound to Bray from Pearse Station.  The 185 bus goes from Bray Station to Powerscourt.


6. Kilkenny

Kilkenny is a beautiful medieval city in the south east of Ireland, sporting one of Ireland’s largest castles, complete with acres of manicured lawns and a forest leading to the River Nore.  Kilkenny is an hour and a half train trip away from Dublin City – the journey is a relaxing, winding course through the gentle rolling Irish countryside.

Things to do:

The train stop is quite near the city centre – exit the platform, descend the small hill and turn left onto John’s street – an old street with a plethora of traditional Irish Pubs. The historic John’s Bridge is at the end of this street, with the fortified castle high on a hill on your right.  We recommend taking a tour of the castle, and then a lazy afternoon picnic in the grounds.  Other noted attractions in the city are to walk the old town, like Butterslip, Kieran’s Street and Kyteler’s Inn, and the wonderful St. Canice’s Cathedral.

Kilkenny is also a noted centre of the Arts.  The Kilkenny Arts Week Festival happens annually in the first week of August, and sees the city come alive with exhibitions, theatre, music and street art.

How to get there:

Take the Waterford Bound train that goes from Heuston Station, Dublin. A student return ticket is €21.


7. Hillwalking in Glendalough 

Glendalough is a historically significant monastic site, having had settlements founded as early as the 6th Century.  It is located in the mountainous areas of Wicklow, affectionately named “The Garden of Ireland”.  The entire area is a protected national park, saturated in beautiful indigenous Irish flora and fauna.  There are nine demarcated woodland trails through the region, from easy to moderate in difficulty. There are maps and information available at the Visitor Centre in the old town.  More information can be found here.

Glendalough is a living dream for the outdoor nature trail lovers. It is an idyllic day-trip escape from the city, and sees Irish nature at its best.

As it is a national park, access is more difficult, with little to no public transport services. We would recommend gathering a group and chartering a minibus to take you to and from the site, before your day’s walk!

For example: http://www.glendaloughminibushire.com/