I was able to study abroad by going through a program called, CIS abroad. In Ireland, they have two schools which they send students to: University of Limerick, and Dublin City University. The two universities are about two and a half hours away from each other so there isn’t a lot of interaction between us. However, as part of our program there are four excursions planned through out the year. The students from both universities in CIS Abroad attend the excursions together. It’s a great way to meet new students from other areas.
This last weekend we had our first excursion to Galway, which is about an hour and a half away from Limerick where I’m currently living. There are only three other students on my campus that are in the CIS program with me, however, there are fourteen students in Dublin. It was so great being introduced to a larger group of people. coincidently enough, there were two students from Western Oregon University, where I attend school in the states, studying in Dublin through CIS. It was so nice connecting with people from the my home state and school. Who would have thought that we would actually miss our small school in good ol’ Monmouth, Oregon, but enough about that-back to Galway.
Galway is a beautiful city. It was hard coming back to Limerick today because well.. Galway is SO much nicer than Limerick. Everything is within walking distance, the streets, the people, the shops etc was exactly the picture I saw in my head of what Ireland would look like.
The group stayed two nights in Galway in a hostel right downtown. This was my first experience staying in a hostel and it wasn’t terrible. We were lucky in that all the people in our room were from our program. Though I could see how it would be a little more awkward sharing a 12 bed room with 12 other people you don’t know. The room was crammed; here were 6 bunk beds and one bathroom with two showers and toilets. It was fun to experience staying in a hostel, as I’ve heard so much about them, however, I think from now on…I’ll stay with hotels.
While being in Galway we had the chance to visit the Aran Island, and the cliffs of moher. We took a ferry ride out to one of the three islands where we were able to see the cliffs of moher in passing. The island that we visited was the smaller of the three. It has a population of around 200 people and is about 2.5 miles in size. There were two schools on the island: a primary and secondary, a landing strip for planes to come and go, and 3 cafés / restaurants. It was an adorable island. You could rent bikes to get around and there were a few horse and buggies too. Though I can’t imagine ever living there. Any time you’d have to go to the store you would have to either fly or take a ferry which is about a 30 min ride. What is enjoyable about that? LOL. Though it was certainly fun to experience.
Along with visiting the islands, we also stopped to hike along the cliffs of moher. I’ve spent months looking at pictures of cliffs-captivated by the beauty of them. Yet as I stood along them, it still didn’t feel real. I couldn’t fathom that I was standing along one of the most beautiful attractions in the world. When people think of Ireland, if they often think of these cliffs, and here I was experiencing them. It was a very surreal experience for me.
Galway was an incredible trip and by far one of the highlights since I’ve arrived in Ireland.