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A Semester Abroad

a travel blog by lesieur_h

I'll be studying in Limerick, Ireland during the spring of 2009.
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General Info

San Antonio, United States

Hello all! I'm setting up this travel blog to keep my friends and family updated on what I'm doing while I'm abroad next semester. I won't be leaving for another month and a half, but I wanted to get this site set up so that I could send the information out in our family newsletter.

I'll be leaving on the 17th of January. Check back then for more!

Till then, Toodles!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on November 29, 2008 from San Antonio, United States
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
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Dublin, Ireland

First things first...I AM IN IRELAND!!! EEEE!!!! :) haha, ok...got that over with..so moving on!
So I know that some of you have been anxiously awaiting to hear from me, but I was waiting till arrived in Limerick to sit down and load my patheticly small amount of photos and post a blog entry. That being said, I am technically in Limerick now...though the post may say it's in Dublin (shh, don't tell anyone I'm cheating), but this post will be filled with all the wonderful details (and a few pictures) of how I spent 3 days in Dublin for the beginning of my orientation here in Ireland.

Day 1 in Dublin- Sunday, 18th of January
My trip over was uneventful. All my planes departed/arrived on time or early. Despite this...my journey did hit an unexpected bump. When I arrived at the Abbey Court Hostel, where we (the students in Arcadia's University of Limerick and Ulster University programs) were staying in Dublin (it's near O'Connell street, which is the main street in Dublin), I discovered that one of my checked bags had been pilfered....yeah...someone had stolen my toiletries (including my jewelry) and some clothes. Needless to say, it wasn't the best way to start my trip, but everything can be replaced and I am (with the massive help of Arcadia) getting all the reports and insurance claims filed. After that morning, the afternoon was pretty relaxed, we had free time after lunch and we just walked around and explored the city a bit. I got a Vodafone (an international mobile phone). For dinner we all (the 10 Limerick students and 4 Ulster students) went to a small Irish restaurant. After dinner I called it a night and headed back to the hostel.

Day 2 in Dublin- Monday, 19th of January
The morning was filled with Arcadia orientation sessions about being in Ireland, our accomedations, our homestays etc. In the afternoon we went on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Dublin.

We first stopped at Dublin Castle

You can get tours of the inside...but we were trying to conserve our money, we'd only been here a day and I felt that I'd already spent too much! So we walked down to the next sight, the Christ Church Cathedral.

We got back on the bus and headed toward the Guinness Storehouse.

The place itself was really neat. The first floor was dedicated to the main ingredients of Guinness...Barley, Hops, Yeast, and Water.

Then they had a little section about Arthur Guinness...the inventor of Guinness.

There was a tasting room, where you could taste some freshly brewed Guinness (it was ok...a bit bitter for me), museum-y sections with memorabilia and such...

And the Guinness Harp [Stephanie this is totally for you]

On the 6th Floor, you can pull your own Guinness and on the 7th Floor there is the Gravity Bar, which is completely encased in glass and has a perfect view of the city...it's taller then any of the buildings near it...so you can see clear to the mountains on the outside of the city, it was beautiful. In the bar you can also receive your complimentary drink (either a pint of Guinness or a soft drink)

After the Storehouse, we hopped back on the bus to stop 21, which was right in front of our hostel conveniently enough!

We got a cheap quick dinner and I called it a night.

Day 3 Dublin- Tuesday, 20th of January
The morning was spent discussing the Irish school system and what to expect from our classes. We had lunch, then a Q&A session...which was quite informative. We talked about the nuances of the Irish language...differences in Irish and American vocab, and were highly encouraged to look into joining a club or society on campus...according to the Arcadia staff it is the BEST way to meet people and reach a deeper understanding of the culture. So...I think I might join the Drama Socitey...haha...yeah I can't stay away...and maybe a sport? Gaelic football seems interesting...it's a mix of soccer, football, and basketball...yeah it's kinda odd, but apparently it's one of the oldest games in the world, so...there ya go! After watching the Presidental Inaguration in the hostel lounge, I got a quick dinner, then Arcadia treated us to a night at the theatre! We went to the Abbey Theatre and saw a wonderful production of The Playboy of the Western World, a new version of a classic play. I thorughly enjoyed it...some of the other people in the group fell asleep...but I was rivited! ;) It was a wonderful comedy and the pub set was incredible. Anyway, before I ramble on more...after the play we headed to The Porter House, a pub near the hostel. We sat and talked for a while before leaving. I got back to the hostel and backed up a bit, preparing to leave the next day for Limerick!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on January 21, 2009 from Dublin, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Hostel, Dublin, Pub and Guinness

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Limerick - Moving In

Limerick, Ireland

Today was a pretty low-key day. We left Dublin at 10ish and drove to Limerick, via bus. In about 2 1/2 hrs we arrived at our village, Cappavilla. We checked in and moved in! After we got our stuff to our rooms, Maria (our Limerick Arcadia contact) gave us a brief tour of the campus. It's a nice campus, much bigger then I am used to! We stopped at the school shop to get some basic food-stuffs (i.e. bread, cheese, milk). We then were free to unpack and do what we wished! After unpacking I realized how little I have...so Saturday all of us are going to meet Maria in the city center and shop for anything and everything we need.

At the moment, I don't have a ton of pictures of campus or my village...but I do have a few pictures of my flat and room! I live in a flat with 5 other girls, 2 of them are from the Arcadia program (so I've known them since Sunday) and the other 3 are Irish natives. We each have our own rooms and bathrooms! Woo!! We also have a nice double bed in our rooms, a nice sized common area and kitchen. Overall these accommodations are better then anything I'd see back at Southwestern! :)

The weather here has been mainly wet and cold. It's taking some getting used to...that's for sure! :) That's all for now...I'll update you more later.

permalink written by  lesieur_h on January 21, 2009 from Limerick, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Limerick, MyFlat and MyRoom

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University of Limerick

Limerick, Ireland

Hello all! I just started classes today...and so far they are ok. I just had two classes today, I'll have a better idea of how this semester will be at the end of this week. Mostly this entry is to post pictures of the University of Limerick (or UL) campus! I don't have pictures of everything yet (like the outside of my appt. building or the sports pitches) but at least this is a start!

I took these pictures Saturday morning when we were headed to the bus stop to catch the bus into the city centre. I'm a the back of the group taking pictures during the walk (you'll see the backs of my fellow Arcadia students). We are on the North Campus (we're on the North side of the river) and it's a good 10 min walk from our apartments to the middle of campus. When we first leave Cappavilla we encounter the Health Sciences Building...and the construction site of something...then we cross the Living Bridge, over the Shannon River, to the main campus.

I'm not quite sure why it's called the Living Bridge...but it does move when you walk on it...not a lot...but enough to disturb you...

As you cross the bridge you get a really nice view of the main campus and of the Plassey House, which is where the president of the college lives...they sometimes call it the White House...cause it's white.

Slush on the bridge!!

We're near the end of the bridge and are approaching the engineering buildings...one of the buildings has a cafe that faces the river...I haven't been there yet but it looks nice.

I have my Ireland: Revolution and Independence class in the Engineering Building...in room EB001 (Engineering Bldg, Lower Ground Level (they don't call it a basement), Room 01).

Now we are approaching the main complex of buildings.

The Ski Slopes are a part of the Main Building. The Main Building has 5 blocks, labeled A-E. The building is a giant U shape...and each block is part of the U...it's very confusing....

Here is the Foundation Building and University Concert Hall. I have European Cinema in FB028 (Foundation Bldg, Lower Ground Level, Room 28).

Here is the Library. I'll get a better picture, minus the crane, at some point.

We continue walking by the library and the giant vine-y torch thingy...

Past more of the Main Building...

To the Student Centre!

We first encounter The Stables, which is a pub on campus. It's a nice place, that's pretty lively every night.

Through an archway...to the bookstore.

Through another archway, to the main student centre area, where the Spar (a small grocery store), the Student Union, and Ulster Bank/ATMs are located.

We go toward the Spar...turn right...and are out of the Student Centre. We turn left to go toward the bus stop and can see the Arena (UL's grand sports complex, with the first Olympic size pool in Ireland).

So that's the campus...or at least what I see most of the time. Later on I'll take more pictures, probably during the afternoon, so there isn't the glaring morning sun. But before I Ieave, I'll post a map of campus...and try to explain where everything is.

# 32 is Cappavilla, where I live (it's the orange circle at the top)
# 12 is the Engineering Bldgs
# 13 is the Main Bldg, where the ski slopes are
# 14 is Plassey House
# 11 is the Foundation Bldg
# 10 is the Library
# 16 is the Student Centre
# 22 is the Arena
Outside of Bldg # 20 is where the bus stop is

permalink written by  lesieur_h on January 26, 2009 from Limerick, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Map, UL and Campus

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Limerick, Ireland

IT"S SNOWING!!! EEE!!! :) haha...so eventually I'll post more about my home stay weekend, but for now I'm just going to talk about my first Folklore tutorial that I had yesterday and...the snow!

The 1st of February is considered St. Brigit's day and it's also the first day of Spring. It is a custom that on the eve of St. Brigit's day you were to pull rushes and make a St. Brigit's cross. After the cross was made it was to be hung above doorways or window to offer protection and blessing. The figure of St. Brigit is a combination of the Christian saint and a Pagan goddess. So, in celebration of the 1st of February, yesterday in my Irish Folklore tutorial we made St. Brigit crosses, using rushes that our lecturer had cut from on campus.

So when I was walking back from a very boring lecture (Issues in Contemporary Irish Society...all we talked about was economics and taxes, ick!) it began to snow! We've had some small flurries and stuck...but when I was crossing the bridge these fat, cotton ball flakes started swirling around. It was beautiful! ...till I realized I was headed into the wind...and could not look where I was going, unless I wanted to get a face full of pelted snow! By the time I got back to my room I was frozen, wet, but smiling! Haha! The snow didn't really stick to the ground or anything...so all around me was green fields and trees...with fluffy white-ness falling all around...it really looked a bit surreal and fake.

That's all for now! I'll write more later!

permalink written by  lesieur_h on February 3, 2009 from Limerick, Ireland
from the travel blog: A Semester Abroad
tagged Snow

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