Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

My First Week in Dublin ♥

I believe that there are few things that are as chaotic as your first week in a foreign country. Everyone around you is scrambling to get kitchen supplies, food, mobiles, travel cards, friends—the full gamut of human panicking upon realization that ‘I’m going to spend a semester in this place.’

You’re thrown more information than you know what to deal with: orientations about upcoming classes, how to register for immigration, what tasks you have to do in order to get credit from your home institution, what to expect in your classes etc. etc.
There are sometimes events that you couldn’t have possibly predicted like a bus strike. (Not that you really understood how to use the buses yet. I’ve gotten lost at least three times now trying to find a bus stop back to UCD campus but I always make it back in the end.)

I undeniably have felt overwhelmed during those orientation-filled days, attempting to take a breath and taking things one step at a time.
That all being said, with the chaos comes a lot of fun.

Cultural Performance

(one of the many events offered on campus this week for international students!)
I’ve been to clubs and pubs as a mean to meet people in different societies, reunited with a familiar face from the airport at an Irish dancing event, ended up going on a late night milkshake run with my suitemates. I’ve been taught some Irish slang directly or by proxy that I’ve been attempting to interweave into my vocabulary. (craic is definitely my favorite!) I’ve appreciated the fact that the Irish are very upfront about what things cost. (2 Euro pasta actually costs two Euros!)
Considering costs, with all the different international and freshers events offered, it’s really easy to spend money when you don’t have a set schedule, so if I had to offer any advice, it would be to remain vigilant about exactly how much you’re spending on nights out and nights in—keeping a cautious eye on international surcharges that accumulate if you use a card. At the same time, don’t be afraid to spend more than you expected during the first week, because you’re providing a baseline for the rest of your study abroad stay. There’s no shame in spending money now to make things easier down the road.

It’s a strange thought for me that classes begin tomorrow and with that comes a new host of responsibilities—getting back into the swing of studying at the library, getting all the necessary forms filled out for my home institution, looking up syllabi and deciding what to add-drop, having to settle into a schedule and cobbling together a weekly budget. I’ve already dealt with cultural differences already, but I’m curious how many of them will extend to the classroom. Outside of academia, I’ve already attempted to start narrowing down the societies I want to join during my time here, with a careful eye, given that every society you have incurs a financial fee. After all, I hear Fresher’s Week can be a lot, especially on a campus with 5x the amount of students as back home. Here’s to more adventure and slowly but surely figuring things out!

Till next time,
Rachel ♣

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