|The Long Room at Trinity College|
While it’s great to be finally feel comfortable in your host city, you can start to also feel a little stuck. Not having easy modes of transportation and having a small or isolated city can leave you bored. One of the absolute best ways to combat this feeling is to take part in the CEA hosted excursions and events. These opportunities are beneficial for multiple reasons. You can get out of your host city for a bit and do some traveling around your country, your on site advisor is extremely knowledgeable about your area’s cultural activities, and you can better get to know your fellow study abroad students.
I loved taking part in my CEA excursions. So far, our group has traveled to Dublin and the Aran Islands and we’ve got a weekend to Dingle coming up soon. I have really enjoyed all of our trips, but if I absolutely had to pick a favorite, it would be the weekend in Dublin. What I liked about this trip was that the city was so different from Galway. Galway is small and everything is close together. It really reminds me of shore towns back home in New Jersey. I feel like in Galway, everyone knows everyone; it’s small but not too small. I was feeling like I needed a break when it was time to go to Dublin.I found that Dublin was very much like New York. It was a lot more city-like than I had anticipated but it still had elements of Irish charm. We had scheduled events for this excursion like touring the Guinness Brewery and Trinity College, but the best part for me was the unscheduled events. For example, our advisor, Thomas, flagged down a horse and carriage and had us all jump on so we could have a fun trip to our hostel. And our walking tour ended right by the National Leprechaun Museum so we all took the chance to go in and check it out (it’s a must see if you’re ever in Dublin; the guide was phenomenal and you learn so much while having tons of fun).
As far as the CEA-hosted events, we had a dinner our first week here and Thomas scheduled some cultural activities throughout the semester. We’ve gone to the local theatre and to a GAA Football match. The GAA game was actually my favorite cultural activity even though I am not a huge sports fan. It was interesting to be surrounded by the Irish as they cheered for (and even sometimes booed) their team. The Irish have such a strong sense of community and they are extremely proud of where they come from. So seeing them root for their local team was very cool.
|GAA Football Match; Go Galway!|
From a literature student viewpoint, I also loved the play. With the art of storytelling being so important to the Irish culture, it was wonderful to see it in this form as opposed to the books in my lit classes. We saw John Keane’s The Matchmaker which is a comedy about a matchmaker in a small Irish town. There were only two actors who played about three or four characters each, they were very talented.
Throughout all of the excursions and events, I really got to know my fellow CEA students. We are all housed in different locations and we’ve all got different classes so I never run into them unless it’s for a split second in town or if we prearrange it. It’s nice hanging with them and learning about and enjoying all aspects of the Irish culture. We all came to this country to see and discover as much as possible and it’s an amazing thing to experience together.
|Inis Mor, Aran Islands|
Morgan McKenna is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Galway, Ireland. She is currently a junior at Stockton University.
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