New School, New Challenges

Here I am, the start of a new schoolyear… and a new school. Finding your way in a new place can be riveting if not a little terrifying. The first week in Galway, I found my footing in my new house and my new life. I love the challenge of finding the best grocery store, settling into a new home, and discovering my favorite cafes and restaurants.

I love school, so I was excited when the first days of orientation were here. It is a bit long, but they really want students to feel confident in the classes they choose. Because the system is different than the system in the US, it is a little more challenging for visiting students to create a schedule. I spent the first few days choosing classes and then hunting for timetables, then changing things according to time conflicts. In the end, I got a schedule that I was excited about and I was ready to start the new year.

The day before the first day of classes, was a big event in Galway: the GAA Hurling Finals. Galway was playing, and the city was buzzing with excitement. If you are ever in Ireland for any GAA game, I recommend stopping by a pub, ordering food, and enjoying the atmosphere. The place is alive with enthusiasm and you’ll watch a game that you’ve probably never seen before. Galway ended up winning the game and the city celebrated throughout the next few days.

Even with the city in a celebratory stupor, classes began, and a semester of work had begun. I spent the next few days becoming hopelessly lost finding classes. Even though the campus is not as big as UW, it can be about as confusing to navigate the different buildings. I do really enjoy my classes though. Many people tell you that the course load is easier over here than it is in the US, which might be true in the amount of busywork. However, you are expected to learn the material, so it requires more independent study. I love the challenge of keeping my own schedule and being responsible for my own learning, so I am excited for what the next year will bring.