We have officially been in Ireland for a week! It has been a crazy, fun-filled week with a lot of adjustments.
After 24 hours of travel, we were exhausted by the time we got here. We arrived at our accommodations (apartment) and were ready to get settled. When we walked into our apartment, we were greeted with a large spiral staircase and several closed doors. We were surprised by how closed off the apartment was, but we soon figured out why that might be. Heating is incredibly expensive here and we think there are so many doors to keep the heat in.
The first night here was overwhelming and I felt like a freshman again because I had no idea where anything was. It was dark and raining and while that isn’t all that different from home, I could feel the distance between Oregon and Galway.
While there are many similarities to the Pacific Northwest, there are some differences:
- Cashiers at grocery stores sit down when they are checking you out. I’m not sure why I find this so interesting, but I do.
- Almost all signs are in both English and Gaelic. I love that even though I am studying abroad in an English speaking country, there is still another language very prevalent in the culture.
- The paper is longer. This threw me off at first, but it is actually pretty handy when taking notes in class.
These may seem like small things, but they definitely stand out!
Our first day in Galway consisted of orientation and a tour of the University. As soon as orientation started, I began to feel like Galway could feel like home for the next five months. While I had heard that the people of Galway were of the nicest you’ll meet, they are also incredibly funny.
After orientation, we went back to the apartment and napped before our tour of the school. The tour was nice and we met some other international students on it. NUI Galway is a beautiful campus with the original building looking like a castle.
After the tour, we decided to explore town and went to our first pub. It was a little weird getting carded for the first time even though I’m not 21 yet. After enjoying some Irish coffees and eating some delicious pasta, we were ready to head to bed.
After another day of orientation, we decided to go out. The nightlife in Galway is crazy fun and every time you go out is an adventure. The streets are lit up with string lights and there is music coming out of all the pubs. It’s unlike anything i’ve seen in Oregon, especially in McMinnville.
We took a tour of the city on Sunday, which consisted of our tour guide telling us all about the death that has plagued the city for hundreds of years all with a smile on his face and a spring in his step.
It was awesome to hear about the history behind the cobblestone streets we were walking and the buildings we were passing by. Galway is a city with so much history, I’m hoping to take in as much as possible.
The next couple of days were spent trying out classes, which are not too exciting. It is strange being in large lecture halls and having professors with accents, but I am getting used to it.
There is still so much more to see of Ireland and I can’t wait to travel for the next five months!