This past week has been absolutely crazy! I had a pretty simple week with my lectures and tutorials but the weekend sure made up for it.
My three classes are all very different. The first one, World Politics: War and Peace, is a typical fresher’s course. There are roughly 150 people in the class and it is in a pretty big lecture hall. The lecturer is either American or Canadian, because her accent seems pretty normal to me. I would probably consider her Canadian because when she was describing the course, she kept saying things like “we will discuss why America thinks they are so great” and “who thinks American involvement in Syria is completely inappropriate?” Regardless of how I feel about those two statements, her tone was quite derogatory and she was downplaying America a lot. The course should not be too bad though; there is a pretty light work load and not much independent reading.
My second class, International Relations, is probably going to be my favourite of the three. The lecturer is pretty easy going and throws in a few jokes here and there. He also decided to be the tutor for my tutorial group so that will be good for getting to know him a bit better. This is one of my modules that I can have transfer back to WSU which will count towards my political science degree. There is more reading than I would like but luckily it is a topic I enjoy learning about.
My final class, Northern Ireland: A Case Study, is going to be the most difficult. It is a third year course so most of the students in there are older and have loads of knowledge about the subject already. The lecturer also has a strong accent so he is a wee bit hard to understand. Luckily, another American student from my program is in the class so we can study or work together.
Last weekend, all the American students with IFSA-Butler around Northern Ireland and the Republic went to the Killary Adventure Company in Co. Galway. At first I was a bit hesitant because I did not really want to spend a whole weekend with a hundred other Americans but it was not all that bad. We met people from Stranmillis and Derry before we left Belfast. We left Belfast around half twelve on Friday but did not make it to our hotel until almost nine o’clock at night. Our driver did not seem on top of his game at all. Traffic was not on our side either. Towards to end of the ride, we all wanted to throw up because we were on an extremely windy road and the bus was very warm.
Saturday was our big adventure day. There were so many different activities to sign up for from rock climbing and zip lining to inner tubing and skeet shooting. I signed up for the rock climbing, giant swing, and abseiling (all three activities were included in the one session) and the zip lining and high ropes course. The rock climbing was fairly easy because I watched other people go up before I attempted the wall. The giant swing was the most fun because it was completely unexpected. You pair up and sit in a cradle type swing and this machine pulls you three stories up into the air. Then, once the word is given, you are allowed to pull a release string and you drop a ways before the rope finally catches you and you go into a steady swinging motion. It was such an exhilarating experience. The zip lining was pretty fun too. The line was not all that long but it was pretty steep so you got some good speed. At the end of the line, instead of there being a landing platform, there was a tire. So once you reached the end, your rope hit the tire and your body got whipped back, and your momentum sent you about a third the way back up the line. Then we had to drop a rope from about 50 feet up so the people below us could grab on and help send us down. It was very different from any zip lining I had ever done, but a lot more intense.
The ride home was not nearly as bad as the ride there. We took a much more scenic route so I was able to capture some great shots from the bus. We passed through so many mountains and small towns. We were also very exhausted from the day before so we all slept for a few hours as well. We all exchanged Facebook information so we could meet up in the future. I did not know until that day that Stranmillis was only five or ten minutes from Elms Village where we live. So I am sure we will all be hanging out a bunch in the future.
The Irish students are still trying to convince me to move here full time. They realise that it is my life and completely up to me but they just want me to stay. From my perspective, I could picture myself living in Belfast for a few years before I could see myself in Pullman at WSU. I love Washington State University and I will always be a Coug, but Queen’s could very well be my new home. These next couple months are going to be stressful; I am going to eventually have to make a decision. And one thing is certain, it will not be easy an easy one.
Lastly, my other blog entries are difficult to find so I will provide to links for the other ones.