| The Irish Flag waving proudly in the wind along
side the European Union Flag
|The Quadrangle of Campus (our castle)|
|On the roads of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way|
|A typically view, on a daily walk around Galway|
Galway, Ireland: My home away from home. On January 7, 2015, my life was changed forever. I touched down in the Emerald Island after a 9-hour plane ride from O'hare to London to Paris, then finally I was here! Here's a recap on a semester that flew by:
The first weekend, instead of running around lost as can be, we decided to plan a trip to Kilkenny and see Ireland, our second big move as independent adults. We had a great time and we saw how easy travel would be throughout the country. CEA also had 4 planned excursions for us: Kerry, Dublin, Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands. Kerry was my favorite trip, not only because of the breathtaking nature, but also because all 8 of us girls became so close on that trip. The accommodations provided were excellent and we were all so happy.
While traveling throughout Ireland was fantastic with CEA, when my other friends and my parents visited, there was nothing like traveling around Europe and the United Kingdom. I would love to talk about each trip, but I would never be able to stop.
Trips in Ireland included: Kilkenny, Carlow, Bunratty, Kerry, Dublin, Wild Atlantic Way (Connomera, Kylemore Abbey, Clifden and more). If you are traveling you have to do the Wild Atlantic Way drive! I went to Dublin every weekend using the bus company City Link (three-hour bus ride) because that is where all of my planes flew out from.
Trips in EU and UK: London, Amsterdam, Scotland, Barcelona, Poland, Rome, and Paris. In Paris, I did Disney Paris, which for me is a huge deal because I LOVE Mickey Mouse.
|The Coribb River|
What I'll Miss:
Overall, I have never been so happy before. I have never met more independent, ambitious and go-with-the-flow people. I love all of the friends that I have made and I am so fortunate that my parents were able to meet most of them. Nothing makes parents happier than to see their daughter as happy as I am with my friends. I will forever have these memories. I am making a cork board of all of my postcards from all of my traveling.
When people ask me what I will miss most, the first thing I will say is the view, every part of Ireland, especially beautiful Galway. I will definitely miss the food, and I have absolutely fallen in love with the variety of accents in Ireland. Different counties have different accents. For example, my roommate was from Monahan, which is the North and his accent took me about a week to even understand a word of what he was saying. However, I have a friend from Limerick, which is the West, and her accent was easy to understand.
I love all of their slang, too, such as: queue (a line), brilliant/grand/cheers/thanks a million, craic (fun), shift (make out), car park, lift (to get a ride somewhere), all of this will come naturally once you are here. The culture makes this country what it is, so embrace it!
I came here with 7 strangers from CEA and left with 7 best friends, plus my rugby team and the friends I met along the way! The key to success while studying abroad is not to be afraid to come out of your comfort zone and meet new people and try new things!
Stephanie Norman is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO Photographer in Galway, Ireland. She is currently a Sophomore at Northern Illinois University.
Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.