I will never forget how
beautiful Ireland truly was. Beautiful lands, skies, cliffs and castles – all
surrounded by beautiful people who lived simple lives and appreciated the small
beautiful things day in and day out. This charm was infectious and made my
3-week summer program at the University of Limerick an invaluable experience.
Although this study abroad
program was only three weeks in length, I had more than enough opportunities to
explore multiple regions of Ireland, experiencing the ideal amount of Irish
culture and gaining a wealth of knowledge on Irish society. The program allowed
me to choose from five different courses, of which I chose a course in
Sociology. The course was unique in that I had a different lecturer teaching
the class each day, which meant that we focused on a different aspect of Irish
society each day. For example, some of the topics we explored through the
course included sociological perspectives of Irish families, religions, social
class, education, gender roles, and more. On days that we did not have class
scheduled, the program had organized field trips where all of the summer school
students came together and ventured out to places like Bunratty Castle and
Limerick City, historical sections of Dublin, and West of Ireland. These
excursions were extremely well-organized and were meant to be a lot of fun,
which they were! Each excursion also allowed us to have free time, which meant
independent exploring, shopping, eating, and sightseeing.
My absolute favorite moment
during my time in Ireland was when I finally made it to the beautiful Cliffs of
Moher. To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of prior knowledge on Ireland before
studying abroad in Limerick, which meant there wasn’t a lot that I had dreamt
of doing or seeing before I arrived. However, the one and only thing that I
knew I absolutely had to do was visit the Cliffs of Moher. Years ago, I knew
that if I ever made it to Ireland, it was the one thing I had to do. Back then,
I never expected that I would actually have the opportunity to accomplish that
goal. Once I made the decision to study abroad in Limerick, I knew that it was
going to be a possibility.
Looking over the Cliffs out
at the Atlantic Ocean was easily one of the best moments of my life. I had
never seen anything like it before. The pictures don’t do it justice. It was
the most incredible experience and the most gorgeous view – I was speechless.
It was truly a moment of realization in which I discovered how much I love to
travel and how much I appreciated the beautiful Ireland.
Another aspect of Ireland
that I loved was having the opportunity to see castles everywhere. Just all
over – we saw large castles that were historical and meant for visitors, but in
addition, we also saw castle ruins all over the area. It was normal to be
driving or walking down a street and seeing broken pieces of castles all
throughout the luscious green lands. It really paints a picture of how old and
historical Ireland is – much older than the U.S., and that was incredible to
realize. An Irish student who was my age was interning for the summer program
and she was very surprised that I had never seen a castle prior to coming to
Ireland. I remember laughing as she said, “You mean you don’t have them all
over in the States?!”
Studying abroad at the
University of Limerick’s summer program was a very positive experience that I
would recommend to anyone looking for a wonderful short-term experience in Ireland.
I cannot say enough positive things about
the University of Limerick and how generous, helpful, supportive and kind
everyone was to me. It was an absolutely beautiful country, incredible
experience, and definitely something that I won’t soon forget!