Wednesday, July 20, 2011

why the motherland

It's interesting how I came to decide on Ireland as my Study Abroad destination. Going back to when I originally looked at Study Abroad programs freshman year, I was severely interested in Germany and England. I wanted to go to the countries I was familiar with, in either popular culture or actual culture.

As I kept searching, I landed on programs in India and Japan I really liked. I also found programs in Wales and Scotland that I liked. Part of me wanted to branch out of the UK, so the India and Japan programs seemed to be great ideas. That was sophomore year.

Yet, when I was looking up programs at my grandparents' house last August, I found the University of Iowa's Regents Semester in Ireland program in Cork, Ireland at the University College Cork. Notice how before I had zero interest in Ireland. It never fell on my radar. The UK was part of the plan. The Regents Semester in Ireland, however, was perfect. The campus looked beautiful, they have tons of programs I'm interested in, and all my credits will transfer. The program was what I was looking for and it didn't have any weird start or end dates. It would be as if I were at Iowa for the semester and never coming home. Perfect!

For those who don't know, Cork, Ireland is located in Southern Ireland. It's the second largest city in Ireland, another reason I chose it. I wanted to be in a big city, but as I've learned in Los Angeles and Chicago, with big cities comes big prices. Dublin is rather expensive, whereas Cork is definitely the lesser of the two. It's population is about the size of my hometown of Naperville, IL.

My housing in Cork is already set in stone. I'll be staying at a place that sits right along one of the rivers running through Cork. I'm so excited to be living there. I'm down the street from the University's theatre and only a stone's throw from the city center and the school itself. I've got an ensuite bathroom that is the best part of the whole deal, let me tell you. :D

Even though I'm so close to everything, I'm hoping to find a cheap bike I can use while I'm over there. As I've learned in Iowa, it's a lot faster to have a mode of transportation rather than walking everywhere.

I have an idea of the classes I would like to take while I'm there, but alas, we don't register until we get there for Orientation. Some of them are Intro to Modern Irish, Intro to Irish History for Visiting Students, and Family Policy. Maybe even Tin Whistle.

I leave for Ireland on August 16th. Less than a month! I'm hoping to update this at least once or twice before my departure. But I thought you should have some background to my travels!