The Study Abroad Experience: Dublin, Ireland

Dia dhuit, hello from Ireland! We have been in Ireland for one month at this point so it seems like a great time to look back and think about our experience thus far.

Leading up to the trip, our nerves were all over the place. After much preparation and countless trips to study abroad advisor Megan Bell’s office asking her many questions (if you’re planning to study abroad, or even just considering it, use her; she is a great resource!), we knew it would be a big risk and test to our independence being away from home, and especially our dogs, for a semester. When we both arrived at Newark Airport, studying abroad was finally becoming a reality.

Luckily, most of our BCA Study Abroad group took the same flight, so we could meet them at the terminal. (Shoutout to the bright yellow luggage tags we received through BCA making it easy to find each other.)

After a five-hour flight, we met up with the assistant program director, and soon made our way to Maynooth.

Maynooth is a small town west of Dublin, just a little larger than Elizabethtown, so it wasn’t a hard transition. The town is filled with restaurants and pubs, all within walking distance.

Maynooth University has a very interesting past. St. Patrick’s College, which is now part of Maynooth University, dates back to the 1700s, but the university only dates back to 1997.

The history of the school provides the opportunity for a lot of culture. The old campus is full of buildings that look straight out of the set of “Harry Potter,” with a castle just off campus…

We expected the classes to be much larger than we are used to at Etown, but the biggest class we each have is around 80 students. We are taking a course about old Irish fables, during which we get to take a trip to Emain Macha, an ancient fort in Northern Ireland.

Coming through BCA, we also have a course that follows the conflict, or as it is called here, The Troubles, between Ireland and Northern Ireland and ways to deal with conflict in different situations. Included in this course are a couple trips on which we get to go, including Glendalough, Ireland and Belfast, U.K.

One of the best parts about being in Ireland is how easy it is to travel within the country. We are able to hop on a train and in under three hours be on the west coast.

Being about a 35-minute train ride from Dublin means we have been able to see a lot of the city, including historical and cultural sites like Dublin Castle or other sections of the city like St. Stephen’s Green and Grafton Street. In just about two and a half hours, we can make it to Cork, or as we like to call it, “the City of Hills,” the home of Blarney Castle and Blarney Stone. Sligo, just under three hours away, is a town where we can walk along the beach and hike throughout the town. As we write this, we are headed to Galway for the weekend where we will also go to the Aran Island of Inismore. Due to studying abroad in Europe, we can quickly fly to other countries like Spain, Germany and Italy.

Overall, it has been an amazing experience.

Please note: Students Danielle Bellai ’19 and Rebecca Wortmann ’20 (pictured) originally wrote this article for The Etownian‘s weekly ‘Study Abroad Experience’ article. It was originally published on March 1, 2018. The Etownian is Elizabethtown College’s student newspaper. Click here to view the original article.

About the Authors – Danielle Bellai ’19 and Rebecca Wortmann ’20

Danielle is an accounting major and psychology minor. Rebecca is an education major. They studied abroad together in spring 2018 semester. They attended BCA Study Abroad’s Dublin, Ireland program.

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