I know this is a long overdue update, and for that I apologize. I have been pretty busy with the first week of classes, meeting new people and trying to keep up with the ‘Irish culture and lifestyle’.
Monday: First day of modules! Today was a bit uneventful, but successful nonetheless. I had my first module (or class, as they call it in the States), and it was titled ‘Talk, Interaction, and Social Organization’. I had spoken to the professor last week about the module a bit, and it seems like the material will be challenging, but nothing I can’t handle. We have one presentation and one exam that makes up our entire grade, so talk about pressure! It is most definitely a change from the States, but a challenge that I am ready to take on. My module is from 9:15-11:15 AM, and after that I am free the rest of the day.
Tuesday: Second day of modules! Again, today was a bit uneventful. I would normally have a seminar from 12:15-1:15 PM on Tuesday afternoons, but we don’t have seminars the first week. So I waited until 3:15 PM for my Interpersonal Communication theory module to begin. This module is a first year skills module and the lecture is probably about 300 people strong. This module involves a lot of hands on activities. There will be a lot of recording of ourselves, then analyzing how we said what we said and our body language, all associated with how we communicate with others. This module will be something that I have yet to experience and for that I am excited.
Wednesday: Third day of modules! Today, I had only one lecture, but I will have a seminar in the morning starting next week. This was my Modern Irish Society class. I was very intimidated at first from this class, because even though I took a European History class my senior year of high school, I regret to say that almost NOTHING stuck in my head. The professor kept saying ‘in last years set of modules’ or ‘you should know’, and I didn’t. I am quite nervous about the class, but excited nonetheless. I think it will help me be informed about Irish Society more completely in order to make the most of my trip.
Thursday: (Would have been the) Fourth day of modules! Today, I would normally have a practical session for my Interpersonal Communications class at 9:15, but again, no practicals or seminars the first week of class. So instead, I slept in. I had a meeting with my advisor at 12:30 PM to finalize my modules for this semester. After a huge runaround (going to 4 different places to get stamps and whatnot) and 45 minutes, I finally got registered and am an OFFICIAL STUDENT AT UUJ! I have my student ID to prove it!
After registering, myself and a few others stopped in the Chaplaincy to introduce ourselves to Cheryl (Presbyterian Chaplain) and Arlene (Church of Ireland Assistant Chaplain). We talked for about different things going on on campus. They told us about iCafe, which is a way for international students to come together and meet each other and Irish students. They also told us about the Christian Union. The Christian Union is a lot like Campus Crusades for Christ. It was amazing being able to speak to Arlene and Cheryl about the different opportunities to get involved with and able to meet Irish students (which we’ve all had a difficult time with so far). I also met some other students, two of which are in one of my modules, so that will be nice to see a couple of familiar faces. The Chaplaincy also works closely with Habitat for Humanity. It’s an organization that I’ve always wanted to get involved with at school, but haven’t had the time, so I hope to be able to work with Habitat while I’m here.
Kelsey, Amanda (from Texas), and I all headed over to the Christian Union (CU) that evening. We met some really great people, and I also decided to go out on a limb and join a small group (bible study). It’s my first time doing anything like this, but I figured it’s a great way to meet local students, and students that don’t necessarily want to party 24/7. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go out, but I don’t think I can go out 3 or 4 nights in a row. I don’t have the budget for that! The small group that us girls joined is on Tuesday nights on campus, so we don’t have to get a ride or walk anywhere, so it’s very convenient. Although it’s my first bible study that I’ve ever been apart of, I am excited to see what it holds for me. I was hesitant at first, but I figured I needed to put everything I have into this trip, and this is one other way to do so!
Friday: That brings us to today. I don’t have any class today!!! It is currently 12:30 in the afternoon, and I am leaving for my home stay in a few hours. I have been looking forward to this since I got here. I think that it will give me a great insight to how Irish people live and it will be interesting to see the differences between how they and we as Americans live.
And just to leave you with some insight to how I am doing personally–The first few days of this trip has been pretty frustrating. Our program hasn’t really given us any guidance to anything so far, and I’ve been struggling, but I’ve realized that I can’t do that anymore. I have to put everything I have into this once in a lifetime opportunity, and after giving up all of my frustrations and allowing a plan to unfold before me, I have been 150% better. I am so blessed for everything I have, and I can’t spend my time worrying. I’m going to start this really foreign thing to me called ‘going with the flow’. Weird, I know, but I think that’s really the only way I’m going to be able to get everything out of this trip that I want!