The weekend before classes really started everyone in the Buenos Aires program was swept away for a short vacation in Uruguay. The first few weeks had been intense, with us trying to get a grip on a new country, getting used to living 24/7 in Spanish, and working with a completely different university system. Uruguay was a chance for a break before we had to buckle down.
Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler
The following are pictures from my first few weeks in Dublin! We started off by exploring the city through a scavenger hunt and doing other touristy things. We visited Croke park with our Understanding Ireland Class. Croke park is where the famous Irish sports of Gaelic Football and Handball take place. It was a huge stadium that can hold up to 82,000 people and was also the site of Bloody Sunday in 1920 where many were killed during the Irish War of Independence.
Then a few of us went to the Leinster Rugby game on Friday, as well as the BC vs Georgia Tech game on Saturday (we tried to balance our cultural activities with the more American ones). Needless to say, I saw a lot of sports stadiums in the past three days. One interesting thing about sports in Ireland is that all of the players are considered amateurs, so they all have day jobs on top of being incredible athletes, which is very different from how we treat our professional athletes in the states. Read More »
This weekend, IFSA Butler took all of us to Northern Ireland, which (confusingly) is actually a region of Great Britain. Our first day, we got up early and made our way to the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge which connected a small island to the mainland. We were able to walk across and get some beautiful views on the island (and look at how blue the water is! I promise I didn’t do anything to enhance it!)
After this we drive to Giant’s Causeway, which is the most visited attraction in Northern Ireland. It is most famous for it’s ‘hexagonal’ (read: pentagonal, hexagonal, and many other variations of sides) pillars that make up the shoreline. Lucky for us, it was an absolutely gorgeous day outside, so the pictures below show the real beauty of the area.
The next day, we took a Black Taxi Tour of Belfast, where we learned about the violence that’s taken place there in the last 50 years over whether Northern Ireland belongs to the UK or Ireland. We saw murals honoring those who fought for their beliefs, and also the Peace Wall that separates the two factions. We each got to sign the wall and I got some great shots of my friends writing.
After this we had the afternoon to ourselves, so my friends and I walked to the Titanic museum (the Titanic was built in Belfast). Unfortunately it was closed by the time we got there, but you can see below how beautiful the building is.
This was definitely the most educational trip I’ve taken during my time abroad, and I’m really glad that IFSA brought us here together, because I don’t think I would have taken the time to explore this part of Belfast otherwise.
from top to bottom: expect this when you order grilled cheese/in San Telmo (“no tocar, por favor,” oops)/the Pink House/ one of the tombs in Recoleta/jumping to our first adventure in Buenos Aires!/Buenos Aires!
I’ve only been in Argentina for four days yet SO MUCH has happened. It’s obviously hard to write everything, so I’ll narrow it down a bit.
My first impression of Argentina was definitely influenced by the welcoming weather, gorgeous skies, palm trees, and amazing architecture. After an intense eight hour flight (four hour delay), we were all relieved to finally arrive at our destination. Orientation got me very excited for the next five months ahead! While we were roaming around Palermo, Recoleta Cemetery (very intricate tombs!), San Telmo, Rio de Plato, and Casa Rosa, I immediately fell in love. Buenos Aires is such an alive and beautiful city!
The Friday before we left for Mendoza, we had dinner at Mala Cara, a restaurant not too far from the hotel. Looking for something easy and familiar to eat, three of us ordered grilled cheese, expecting two slices of bread enveloping a slice of cheese. After several minutes however, the waiter brought out a large piece of tomato with a hunk of cheese on top of it. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish our cheese (very salty!) and were disappointed yet amused all at once.
The next day, we flew to Mendoza and finally met our host families. My heart was racing as I was getting in line to pass the sliding doors to face the crowd, but my anxiety slightly dissipated when I saw a friendly looking woman carrying a sign with my name on it. She greeted me warmly and told me not to be nervous. Unfortunately, I was actually very nervous and found it extremely difficult to participate in conversation. My brain was working 50mph trying to register, decipher, and create a response.
My host mom was very understanding and patiently let me work out the sentences slowly as she guided me around her home. My room is very clean and cozy with excellent wifi….I was worried I wouldn’t have internet access! After a delicious dinner of home baked pizza and dessert (with dulce de leche, of course), I immediately returned to my room to recover. I have to get used to the Argentine way of living! Although as a sleep lover, I’m not too sure how I’ll manage at the moment. Lots of coffee, I guess 😀 It’s finally sinking in that I’m at Argentina at last!
* I apologize for the pictures and format, for some reason I had great difficulty trying to upload bigger pictures and getting it to the right format.