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

“Macri Eat #@%!”

Time August 2nd, 2016 in 2016 Fall, Argentina, LGBTQ Correspondents | No Comments by

It was a typical lunch break during the first week. Myself and another guy in the program were out for lunch when we began to hear a growing drumbeat. Outside the restaurant window we could see traffic come to standstill, before the cars and busses started making U-turns. Once outside, we saw what was holding up traffic: a massive crowd holding blue and white flags, banging drums, and chanting slogans. A minute later, half a dozen policemen arrived on motorcycles. We were only ten feet away so we could hear arguing on both sides when suddenly we jumped at the sound of a gun going off- one of the officers had fired his pistol in the air. We both scrambled away down a side street, also now crowded with traffic trying to escape the turmoil. When we got back to Avenida 9 de Julio, we were stunned at the sight of thousands of protesters holding large blue and white banners in the center of the avenue. This wasn’t just a small scuffle; this was a full-on protest. Later I confirmed with one of the IFSA directors that they were indeed supporters of the previous president Christina Fernandez Kirchner. This wasn’t the first large-scale manifestacion since the current president Mauricio Marci took power in December, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Read More »

Share

Settling in on the First Week of Classes

Time January 28th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | 1 Comment by

Well the first week of classes is quickly come to a close.  I am really starting to find my way and settle in nicely.  I never thought I would actually say this, but I truly find all of my classes intriguing.  I am excited for what lies ahead academically.  In particular, I am excited for an Irish history class that I am taking which focuses on the Irish struggle for independence from Great Britain.  I have always been fascinated by my Irish culture and I couldn’t think of a better class to take while here in Limerick than that one.  In addition to this, I am very happy to be included as a Kemmy Business School student.  Kemmy Business School is one of the best in the country and it is an honor to have the opportunity to take classes and learn from some of the best professors.

On another note, I played my first competitive soccer match in a few years last night with Shannon Town A.F.C.; it was a blast.  I was so happy to be out on the pitch playing the game I love.  While I am here in Limerick, I will certainly be looking to fulfill some of my leisure time with this team.  It’s composed of men all ages, which is something new to me.  In fact, I happen to be on the younger side of the spectrum!  Nevertheless, I look forward to making the most of this opportunity!

-CJR

Share

IFSA Butler Weekend — Northern Ireland!

Time November 11th, 2015 in 2015 Fall, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

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.

Share

Lemons, Dedos, and Water: My Adventures in Uruguay

Time May 2nd, 2014 in College Study Abroad | No Comments by

Hey world, and thanks for tuning in.  I hope things are going well for you, wherever you may be :)  I’m sure you’ve all been quivering with anticipation since my first post where I mentioned Uruguay, and so now, after long last, I shall finally write about it.  

HOWEVER, my one disclaimer is that the pictures that you will be shown are not mine, and they have been shamelessly stolen from sites on the Internet.  I took some lovely photos while I was in Uruguay, but managed to lose my phone on one of our many bus rides, so all of my photos were tragically lost. That said, though, I’m going to try and include photos of all of the places that I went, so you can get an idea of my visual journey.  But anyway, on to Uruguay!  Dale aventuras!

Uruguay is a gorgeous (albeit a tad bit more expensive than Argentina), peaceful, and fun country, and it is only a quick jaunt over the Rio Plata from Buenos Aires, making it a popular destination for many Argentinians with the means to travel there.  IFSA had set everything up for us (and very generously too, I might add), and as this excursion was one of the three times that the entire program group got together (the other two times being orientation and our closing ceremony), it was pretty fun to see everyone in the program who I hadn’t seen in a while.  We had all come a long way from our overwhelmed selves during orientation, and I enjoyed hearing of everyone’s unique scene in Buenos Aires.

Our boat silvia-ana745x cruised across the river, fueled by caffeine and the excitement of 80+ American students, and we were in Uruguay in no time!  From the dock we hopped on a couple of big buses to our first stop: Colonia!  Our host and program director, Mario Cantarini, had generously offered his house for us to stay and frolic, and that afternoon was probably one of my fondest memories of my trip so far.  Mario’s “house” is a boutique hotel/lemon farm/place so beautiful I could see myself getting married there, and it was only a few blocks away from a beautiful beach on the Rio Plata ima1 Heaven.  We feasted on emapanadas, choripán, fresh fruit, pie, artensanal bread, and some of the most delicious meat I had ever eaten.  We splashed around in the pool, played soccer on the hotel’s front lawn, and then cooled off by sprinting down to the beach and jumping into the river.  At the end of the day, we bussed into the center of town (Mario’s place is on the outskirts) to check into our hotels for that night.  

Colonia has a ton of history and is a World Heritage Site, and we took a tour to check out some of the old (they’ve been around since the 1600’s) buildings. colonia-uruguay The town was super safe, quiet, and peaceful.  Stray dogs (who are neutered by the city so that overpopulation doesn’t run rampant.  Fun fact) run around, barking at cars, and the air buzzed with the sound of birds and insects.  Some good friends and I feasted on paella and jazz music, and then went down to the river bank for stargazing, fireflies and good conversations.  After the breakneck pace of Buenos Aires, the peace and quiet of Colonia was cool water to my parched and chapped nerve-endings.  

The next day, we were up early again to scamper off to Punta del Este, which is one of the biggest resort towns in the area, and was much more built up and touristy than Colonia.  modopuntadeleste Argentine author Rodolfo Rabanal describes it thusly: “Los turistas se marañan sus calles peninsulares durante el verano. Pero en invierno, edificios telar vacío, como si en los talones de una alerta atómica, mientras que barrido gaviotas y cormoranes negros que anidan en las grietas de mejillones rellenos de caminar por las calles” (“Vacationers snarl its peninsular streets during the summertime.  But in Winter, buildings loom vacant as if on the heels of an atomic alert, while scavenging seagulls and black cormorants that nest in mussel-filled crannies walk the streets.”)  As we were there in the fall, the streets were mostly free of the snarling vacationers, and it was a pretty odd experience to wander the hotel-laden streets that seemed to offer everything except people.  

We certainly, made the most out of Punta del Este, though.  IFSA (praise be unto Them) put us up in some sweet digs that were equidistant from three different beaches, and they also paid for some spectacular restaurant meals of fresh calamari, fish, and carne de vaca (the former two are some delicacies that are uncommon in Buenos Aires, and they were happily welcomed by my palate).  Punta del Este has some gorgeous beaches, the Dedos de Punta del Este, and some very fun beachfront nightclubs.  la_mano_de_punta_del_este_toma5_big Shenanigans, surfing, and silliness ensued for the next few days, among which included: Bodysurfing in torrential rain, meeting a professional-level breakdancer and dancing with him and a club, and spending a lot of time in the complimentary hotel bathrobes. Before I knew it we were back on the waterbus to home sweet Buenos Aires.  It had been an amazing adventure in a gorgeous country, and despite the comparably terrible exchange rate, I can’t wait to get back to Uruguay.  But, until then, there is always LOLLAPALOOZA (see my next post 😛 )

I hope you enjoyed this blast from the past, and I assure you that one day I’ll catch up to what I’m doing currently.  Classes have been excellent so far, though.  I’ve watched a truckload of excellent peliculas, spent many an hour toodling around on REAPER (a free sound-editing program) building “sonic stories”, and have met a bunch of fascinating and diverse South American students.

Besos,

Dylan  

Share