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

Irish Everyone Would Visit Ireland

Time April 20th, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

When choosing a place to study abroad, I didn’t look in depth. I looked for English speaking and in Europe, and when London and Ireland were my top two, I chose Ireland because of family history. Little did I know the experience I would get from being in Ireland.

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland combined are about the size of Indiana!!! Shocked? I was too. But little did I know I could travel all around Ireland and love every city more than the next. Impartial, Galway is my favorite, but here are some of the great cities I visited this semester, whether for a day or weekend, each adventure was amazing. Read More »

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Outside the Classroom

Time February 23rd, 2017 in 2017 Spring, Ireland | No Comments by

“There is only so much you can learn in a classroom.”

This is one of the quotes I had heard throughout school, but didn’t understand until this weekend. This weekend, IFSA-Butler took the Ireland group to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is ruled under The Crown, part of the United Kingdom, but there is no immigration to get from The Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland (yet). With the students through IFSA in Ireland adding to almost 100 (Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and Cork all combined) I figured we wouldn’t get to do much. Little was I was wrong, and little did I know how much I could learn about Belfast in the two full days we had there. Read More »

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Reflecting on the Last Four Months

Time May 23rd, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

They say all good things come to an end.  Unfortunately for me, my time in Limerick, Ireland is over.  I returned home five days ago and I am still having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that it will be a while before I return back to Ireland.  It was the best and fastest four months of my life and I am so incredibly happy I was able to do something like this.  Since I was young I always wanted to spend time in Ireland.  As I explained in my first blog post, Limerick is the home of both of my grandparents who emigrated from Ireland to the United States in search of a better life; the American Dream.  Ever since I can remember, pride for my Irish heritage was instilled in me and that is something that I hopefully can engrain in my children’s lives.

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From Limerick to Galway Back to Limerick and Off to Scotland!

Time May 4th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

I decided to take a break from studying for my Irish history final exam (I can not believe I just said final exam… what?!) and catch up on what is going on with me these past few weeks. I feel as though each time I sit down to write, I’ve done something new and unique which I feel has epitomised my study abroad experience… I’m definitely not complaining! Read More »

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Where Has The Time Gone?

Time April 18th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

With only a month to go and final exams looming, things are starting to become more and more bittersweet.  I am happy though because I don’t feel as though I have taken these days for granted.  I truly believe I have grown as a person and learned a ton from this experience… Hey, but let’s not get too melancholy yet.  There is still loads of time! Read More »

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Time April 13th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

It’s crazy to think I that it’s already week 11 here at the University of Limerick, I have less than five weeks in Ireland :( . The last few weeks have been filled with fun and excitement, though.  Recently I’ve done a lot of touring throughout Ireland, took a trip to Amsterdam, Netherlands and made some other great memories in and around Limerick. Read More »

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What a Trip So Far!

Time March 10th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

Saint Patrick’s Day is a week away and it’s been a while since I last wrote, so I thought I would take a moment to fill you guys in on what’s happening here in Limerick.

In my last post, I explained that I was playing for a soccer team in Tipperary, Cloughjordan F.C.. It’s been a lot of fun training with the other guys and getting to know some of them.  It’s about a thirty minute trip to where we train so I catch a ride with one of my teammates, Simon.  Simon actually went to the University of Limerick and studied Mechanical Engineering.  Luckily for me, he lives nearby in Annacotty, Limerick so he drives me to and from practices and games.  Other than being a genuinely good guy, he’s a great soccer player… Probably the best on our team!  He has kind of taken me under his wing at practices because I am one of the younger guys on the team.  It’s cool to think that not only soccer, but sports in general, enables people like myself to forge relationships with those whom they otherwise wouldn’t.  Being able to play soccer in Ireland has certainly made my study abroad experience that much more authentic. I’m glad I made this decision.

My time spent in Belfast, Northern Ireland was great. The Antrim Coast Tour was the most aesthetically satisfying sightseeing I have ever done.  Views from the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway were stunning, to say the least.  Some of the places I had the pleasure of seeing have been filmed in the popular series, Game of Thrones. However, the best part of the trip was the Black Taxi Tour.  In traditional style, Black Cab drivers brought us throughout the Shankhill Road and Falls Road communities, which to this day, are divided by a 40+ foot wall with gates that are locked at 7 p.m. every night.  “The Peace Wall”  as it is known, divides the Roman Catholic (Separatist) and Protestant (Loyalist) communities.  This wall was constructed to try and keep the two sides from waging war on the other during a period of time coined, “The Troubles”.  This is the common name for the ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland, which started in the late 1960’s and was said to have ended with the signing of the Good Friday Act in 1998… Although violence between the two occur sporadically to this day.  I had the pleasure of signing my name alongside thousands of other names on the Peace Wall. Underneath my name I wrote the phrase 26+6=1, which stands for the 26 counties in the Republic of Ireland and the 6 counties in Northern Ireland to form one Ireland. That was one of the most profound experiences in my life, it really resonated with me.

Last week was Raise and Give (Charity) Week at the University of Limerick.  It is a great cause which raises money for four separate charities.  The weeklong event is comprised of not only charity, but fun activities and a bit (a lot) of partying!  I had a great time with some of my new Irish friends as they showed me how to “do” RAG Week the right way.  The highlight of my week was probably going to see the DJ’s Dzeko & Torres.  They are big back home in the States so I thought I’d go just to say I saw them.  I’m glad I did because I had an awesome time.  It would be great if I could try and implement something similar at Franklin & Marshall College; I’ll have to think about that.

Another great experience I had was visiting the historic Thousand Park which is the home to Munster Rugby. Munster is known for being a powerhouse in world club rugby.  Although this season they’re middle of the road in the Guinness Pro-12 Rugby League, it was cool to see a live match.  Munster faced the Newport Gwen Dragons and won with a squad which was comprised of reserves due to the ongoing Six Nations tournament in which Ireland is in.  Many of the Irish National Team’s players also play for Munster at the club level… But international duties always comes first.

Like I said earlier, it’s about a week until Saint Patrick’s Day.  I think I am going to stay here in Limerick and enjoy myself.  I’m looking forward to seeing my best friend, Matt and potentially two other close friends, Greg and Conor.  Matt is currently studying in Copenhagen, Denmark while Greg and Conor are studying in Glasgow, Scotland.  It will be great to see them. Other than that, I look forward to spending some time with my family over Easter break and seeing more of what Ireland has to offer.  Other than that, I am pretty busy with school work which will be taking up some of my time before I head to Amsterdam with Matt at the beginning of April.  I am so excited for that trip!

Talk to you guys soon!

-CJR

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One Month… Already?

Time February 17th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | 1 Comment by

Well lads, it’s been exactly a month since I have arrived here in Ireland.  One month… already? How could that be? People I spoke to who have studied abroad warned me of how quick the time would go, but damn, I did not think it would go this fast.  Regardless, I am having an absolute blast and truly enjoying my time here in Limerick.  I’ve been able to become very comfortable in UL and like I said in my last post, classes are going smoothly thus far.  It’s been great to stay with my Aunt Antoinette and cousins Gemma, Jodie and Mark on the weekends when most of the Irish students go home themselves. They live not more than 5 minutes down the road and have treated me like gold since I have been in Limerick.  Mind you, I only met them upon arriving here.  Their hospitality and good nature has been something I will never forget.  The majority of students who study abroad don’t have this luxury so for that, I thank them.

Tonight I look forward to playing some soccer with Cloughjordan F.C. located in Tipperary.  It is a bit of drive so the manager has arranged a ride for me.  I am still trying to get involved with a local club here so tonight should be a good chance to show what I’ve got.  The manager told me that they are current North Tipperary Premier Shield champs, number 2 in the Premier League at the moment and Tipperary Cup finalists the last two years… I will let you know how I fair!

I have a tripped planned to Belfast, Northern Ireland this weekend which I am looking forward to.  I am very excited to see the differences between what I have seen in the Republic versus the British influence in the North. I will definitely be taking photos and posting to Facebook and Instagram, so keep a look out for those.  This trip includes a full day excursion of the North Antrim Coast. We will stop at the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, Dunluce Castle and the Giant’s Causeway, three of the country’s most spectacular sights. The next day I am especially excited for.  We will be taking a “Black Taxi Tour” to get a feel for what life life was like during “The Troubles”.  On the tour, the local taxi drivers will bring me to both Catholic and Protestant parts of the city to explain what life was like during the conflict.

Crazy to think that a quarter of my experience is already over, but I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time has in store for me.  Definitely looking to make a few trips elsewhere, but I will keep you posted about that!

Until next time.

-CJR

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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

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Dublin to Limerick!

Time January 21st, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | No Comments by

I still can’t conceptualize that I am here.  Dublin was pretty sick and I had a great time for the first few days I was there.  I was so lucky to get the chance to spend the night with my best friend from home, Pat.  He had spent the previous week in London with a couple buddies from home and had a layover in Dublin the first night I got in.  Naturally, we went out on the town.  Our first stop was in Temple Bar at a local pub that had a band playing sing-along hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s.  After a few drinks and some good conversation we decided to go over to the band and listen.  As the acoustic duo started to tell pub-goers their set would be ending soon, they got the crowd riled up by playing (insert song name here), a classic way to end.

 

We then decided to see what Dublin nightlife was all about.  We exited the pub and quickly found a carriage cyclist.  I asked him where the best spot was and he mentioned Dicey’s Nightclub… I now know why my trip advisor purposely left it off the list she had prepared for me earlier in the day.  Needless to say, we had a fantastic time together.  Not to mention it was easy on my wallet with drinks for only two Euro!

 

Oh yeah, jet lag is definitely a real thing.  I was a disaster the next day.  Surprisingly my head was clear as could be, but damn, I was so fatigued.  After some pre-orientation stuff over at University College Dublin (UCD), I had to head back and get some rest.  This put me right back on track and when I woke up in the morning, the jet lag was gone.

 

Now, off to Limerick. I can’t wait to meet some of my friends and family.  Apparently they have stuff already planned for me.  We shall see…

 

Talk soon.

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Pre-Departure Thoughts

Time January 8th, 2016 in 2016 Spring, College Study Abroad, Ireland | 1 Comment by

What’s up? My name is Connor and this semester I will be studying at The University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland.

I’ll start this thing off by giving you a little bio on myself.  I’m a junior and an Economics major at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Originally, I’m from Middletown, New Jersey (shout out the 732) which is a big town located a few miles in land of the northern Jersey Shore.

I’m very excited for what the next four months has in store for me.  Returning to the country that my grandparents emigrated from to study in the city in which they were born is a dream come true.  I have always taken great pride in my Irish heritage; that is something that has been instilled in me since I was as a child.  Therefore, it has always been a goal of mine to return “back home” as my grandparents, Rita (Siobhan) and George Ryan, say.

I’m unsure of how to feel before I leave. I don’t know what to expect therefore I haven’t really conjured many expectations, which I think may be a good thing.  However, I do know that I am excited and anxious to submerse myself in the Irish culture.  I look forward to meeting with family and friends throughout my stay in the Emerald Isle.  In addition, I plan to visit some of the very same landmarks/locations that my grandparents grew up around, which I will display throughout my blog as I make my way.  On top of all that, I’d love to make a few trips to other European countries and see what they have to offer.

As this is the first time I will truly be on my own (other than being two and a half hours away from home when at F&M),  I hope to learn and grow both intellectually and culturally.  This should be one hell of a ride… Stay tuned!

‘Til next time,

Connor

 

 

 

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