The University of Iowa

Ireland, Study Abroad Blog Post

October 10th, 2016

By John Davis*

Dingle Harbour

Hello everyone! Greetings from mystical Ireland—a land steeped in tradition and natural wonders, with Subway restaurants around every corner.

School is now in its second week (ok…third now) at University College Cork, and that means that module timeslots have finally stopped flying around randomly as if riding on a fairy wind. Registration here is done over the span of a few days, with individual departments giving the final say as to who gets into a course. No waiting up into the wee hours of the night for your registration to become available, or watching classes fill up in real time. However, this can lead to some very full classes as module timetables get finalized and moved around during the first week. One of my professors even had to ask students who were not officially registered to leave the classroom so we could meet fire code. In my human computer interaction class, we had five of us show up the first week and about thirty the second week! 

Fun fact: A scene from Star Wars was filmed right there on that peninsula. If you look closely, you can still see Luke Skywalker angstily staring off into space ;)

Not being touristy...

In the midst of those minor shenanigans, many clubs and societies have also been getting things going as well. Clubs feature a variety of sports from hurling to darts and the student-run societies span many different advocacy organizations and academic interests. Some just exist because they’re cool, like, for example, the Harry Potter Society. Nothing compares to the expression on your friend’s face as they are sorted into Hufflepuff. (Luckily, I got Ravenclaw which is at least…definitely a little bit cooler than Hufflepuff.)

Prior to the start of regular classes, I was in a group of American students doing an early start program in Folklore and Ethnology. I would highly recommend the early start programs, as they allow an excellent opportunity to make friends and get adjusted to your surroundings before regular classes start. My program touched on many topics relating to fairies, Celtic festivals, traditional music and sports. My favorite part was our overnight class trip to the beautiful town of Dingle.

A charming little town on the westerly peninsula of county Kerry, Dingle has been host to several famous musicians as well a distressed Julia Roberts trying to avoid the media. It was also the hometown of our instructor, Aoife Granville, who was able to share with us a local’s perspective of the place. On an interesting side note, we also figured out during the course of the trip (after stumbling upon a record shop) that Aoife is kind of a big deal in the world of Irish traditional music. If you care for a listen, she mentioned that she is available on Spotify!

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings, as already Ireland has been an amazing experience and I feel very grateful to be here. 

*John Davis is studying psychology with a minor in Spanish at the University of Iowa. The Knoxville, IA, native is spending his semester at the University College Cork on the Iowa Regents Semester in Ireland Program. He's most interested in learning how the difference in culture influences the college's approach to psychology.

Student blog entries posted to this International Accents page may not reflect the opinions and recommendations of UI Study Abroad and International Programs.  The blog is intended to give students a forum for free expression of thoughts and experiences abroad in a respectful space.