It has been a long time since I’ve been this eager about a new adventure. Going to Ireland has always been a dream of mine, especially with my fiery red hair and Irish ancestry. I’ve had the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture with seemingly endless possibilities. Upon arriving in Ireland, I was greeted with open arms. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with and learn from some of the most remarkable individuals and have had such an incredible experience so far.
I’ve taken advantage of not just UCD’s excellent academics, but also the numerous additional extracurricular opportunities that UCD has to offer. UCD has roughly 60 sports clubs, spanning from team sports like soccer to adventure sports like surfing and scuba diving. Volleyball is one of my all-time favourite sports, and I’ve had the unique chance to join the club and play! My home institution does not have a men’s volleyball team, so having the opportunity to participate in one here has been incredible. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I joined The UCD LGBTQ+ Society. UCD makes an exceptional effort to provide a varied range of activities, services, and initiatives to all members of the society. Joining this group has allowed me to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and to help others around me. Extracurricular activities at UCD have been tremendously fulfilling to me. It has allowed me to interact with other students and citizens of Dublin who have allowed me to appreciate and embrace their diversity and culture.
I’ve also taken advantage of what Ireland has to offer, immersing myself in as many possibilities for cultural exposure as possible. This past week I was able to go on a field trip and see three tourist attractions. My “Discovering Ireland” class takes two external field trips throughout the semester, and we went to Castledermot, Brownhill, and Ferns, where we saw stunning attractions ranging from cathedrals to castles and tombstones. They were all fascinating. The architecture and history of Ireland is so intriguing, and I couldn’t imagine a better place for me to be. Aside from how engaging and interesting the classes have been, the professors and academic staff have all been extremely kind and welcoming. I also went to Cork, Ireland’s second-largest city after Dublin, which was also so much fun! My friends and I decided to spend a few nights there and visit some of the other tourist attractions Ireland has to offer. We visited the Blarney Castle and Gardens and also had the opportunity to spend the day in Cobh, where we dined at several delicious restaurants and saw some stunning sights.
This past weekend, I flew to Scotland and got the opportunity to immerse myself in another new culture. I only stayed for three nights, so I didn’t have much time, but I was able to see all of the major tourist attractions. My boyfriend is currently visiting me, so he was able to join me on this amazing adventure. We toured Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral, and the National Museum of Scotland. They were all fascinating and lovely to see and learn about. We even had some spare time to have some foolish fun, such as visiting the House of Illusions! Every second I spent there was a great experience. My boyfriend leaves on March 1st, but we have plans to visit Belgium and the Netherlands this upcoming weekend! I’m thrilled to see what the rest of this semester has in store for me, and I can’t wait to share every minute of it with all of you.