Episode 5: Let the Semester Begin

Sunday, January 8

Well, I’ve been in Galway for 3 days now. I’ve set up my apartment, attended orientations, bonded with roommates, explored the city, sipped lattes in downtown coffee shops and grabbed Jameson and Ginger’s at local pubs (I’m still working on acquiring the taste for Guinness, slowly but surly…I’ll get there), along with orienting myself to life in Ireland as a student, a tourist and a citizen. And yes, I’ve only been here 3 days. It sounds like a lot. But tomorrow…that is when the fun truly begins.

While I’ve already had an incredible experience here in my short 3 days, I’m excited for this trip to finally feel like more than a vacation. Galway is an amazing city with remarkably rich culture. It is filled with history, charm and beauty that pretty much slaps you in the face the moment you drive into it (they don’t call it the cultural capitol of Europe for nothing).  I’ve definitely taken advantage of my role as a tourist thus far, and although that will continue until the day I leave, I am ready to switch gears and embrace life as a student at NUI-Galway. Because of the timing, arriving during holiday vacation, the city has been pretty quiet these past couple of days. Galway is a college town, something I am used to and very much enjoy being part of. But most local students have not yet returned from Christmas break. The only Irish people on campus so far have been administrative staff, running orientations and information sessions. Other than that the majority of people I’ve met have been other international students (most of whom are also from the states). Don’t get me wrong; I have really enjoyed hanging out and exploring with my roommates so far. I can already tell a few of them will be lifelong friends, and it’s nice to know people who are in the same boat as you, going through the same emotions and adjustments. But I didn’t come to Ireland to only meet people from the United States. I came to assimilate into the Irish society, immerse myself in a totally different lifestyle. The beginning of the semester means the city will once again fill up with a younger crowd, one that can really make me feel like part of the Irish culture. So I cannot wait for classes to begin tomorrow. I cannot wait to meet more locals my age, and begin to familiarize myself with a whole other side of Galway…of course learning lots, and being studious, in the meantime 😉

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