Thursday, May 26, 2011

Study Abroad: Why Ireland

Studying abroad is something that was constantly asked of me as I began my college adventure. It was as if my parent’s words were a leering shadow that was creeping closer from behind in a dark alley. This is not to say that I dreaded the idea, it was that I feared my ability to adapt and enjoy. Yet, the more pictures I viewed, stories I heard, and time I spent in a new city the more my ideas shifted. It became a goal for my freshmen year of college and a desire I wished to obtain as soon as possible. Ireland in particular was one of my four options to choose from. The reasons behind my choice are due to many factors, some of which include my own prior knowledge of the country. Though achieving the opportunity to travel to Ireland was an objective in itself I believe that it will also expand to my future career plans and beyond.

The idea of studying abroad became something that I craved after my assimilation to Chicago. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, I knew very little about large cities, public transportation, and deciphering a newer, faster paced lifestyle. Ultimately, nothing changed in my life. Yes, the noises were different and the buildings were different, but I felt like I had been put just a couple blocks down the street of my hometown. After this short epiphany on relativity to my hometown I made the decision to apply to a First Year Study Abroad. I wanted to be lost in the unknown and truly feel a culture shock. I had traveled abroad before to Mexico, Canada, and the Dominican Republic, but these trips were service based and I never really was placed in the heart of the lifestyle. This is what I hope to gain out of my study abroad in Ireland.

Ireland was my first choice in the first year study abroad programs. The reasons behind this are due to my own familiarity with Jordan, Ireland, Germany, and Mexico; or lack there of. I had already been to Mexico and the scientific aspect featured in Germany did not fit my interests. I was left with Jordan and Ireland. As I thought more into my options I was lucky enough to spend a weekend with an Uncle who lives in Ireland for approximately half of the year. His pictures were both phenomenal and enlightening. I had fallen in love with the expanse of countryside and third world village style culture. I applied that following week and made every effort possible to ensure my enrollment. It will not only be a great experience to travel there, but for my growth beyond college.

In Ireland, I wish to un-Americanize myself as much as possible. If this means that I need to wear green, become a temporary catholic, and add some radical foods to my pallet that is exactly what will occur. I want to accomplish something that I have never been able to on trip both abroad and in the states. I wish to leave Ireland without regret. This simply means that I want to attempt anything and everything at my disposal, obviously within reason. The worst feeling in the world would be to wake up in Columbus, Ohio a day after returning from Ireland, wondering about the what ifs. That idea is something I want to avoid and therefore accomplish this June.

As a Finance and Marketing major it is difficult to see a correlation between Irish Travel Literature and Business. Business is travel. Travel is business. Tourism rests in each countries economy and at times a large source of its income. In the business world I wish to have global insight. It is important to think outside the box and that is something that traveling abroad to Ireland allows for me. I can view America from the outside while also experiencing something new and unique. Ireland will help assist me in my insight for the world and career goals.

- Will Allen

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

20 Fun Facts about Ireland

Here are some fun, semi-useful facts about Ireland:

1. Ireland has a mild maritime climate. While the snowfall is relatively rare for a country so far north, Ireland does recieve over 100 inches of rain per year in some areas. Plan for rain wherever you go.

2. Less than 5% of the Irish are fluent in Irish Gaelic.

3. Ireland's train system has gaps, so it is usually better (cheaper) to buy train and bus tickets one at a time, rather than a railpass.

4. One-third of Ireland's population lives in Dublin (approx. 1.5 million people)

5. The River Liffey runs through the center of Dublin.

6. Many of the long streets in Dublin change names every few blocks.

7. Pickpocketing is common in Dublin, so wear a money belt.

8. The two most popular sports in Ireland are hurling and Gaelic football.

9. Doolin is a town known as the mecca for Irish musicians.

10. "Sinn Fein" means "ourselves" and is the name of a political party that lobbied for Irish independence.

11. There are a lot of Polish immigrants to Ireland, as well as from other eastern European countries.

12. June 12-16 is Bloomsday in Dublin. Bloomsday is a festival celebrating the life and works of writer James Joyce.

13. In Ireland (as well as most of Europe), commas are decimal points and vice versa. EXAMPLE: a dollar + fifty cents = 1,50.....there are 5.280 feet in a mile.

14. When pointing, you're for some reason supposed to use use your whole hand, palm down. But try not to look like a Nazi.

15. What Americans call the 2nd floor of a building is called the 1st floor in Europe.

16. The Dublin Spire is also known as "The Stiffy by the Liffey", and nothing in the city can by built higher than it.

17. Dublin becomes moer expensive as you get closer to the touristy Temple Bar area.

18. Internet cafes are common in Dublin.

19. Trinity College has long been Ireland's most prestigious college.

20. And now for some Irish-Gaelic Words and Phrases!
A. Failte (FAHLT-shuh)=Welcome
B. Conas ta tu? (CONN-us A-thaw too)= How are you?
C. Go raibh maith agat (guh riv muh AG-ut)= Thank You
D. Slan (slawn) = Bye
E. Taim sugach! (taw im SOO-gakh) = I'm tipsy!
F. Slainte (SLAWN-chuh/SLAWN-tuh)= Cheers
G. Gall (gaul) = foreigner

H. Cill (kill) = church

I. Caislean(CASH-loin) = castle
J. Garda (gard-uh) = police
K. Leithras (LEH-hrass)= toilets
L. Teach (chockh) = house

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saint Vincent DePaul Service Day

The FY@Ireland class participated in Saint Vincent DePaul Service Day on May 7, 2011! Vincentian Service Day is a day when the DePaul community (students, faculty, staff,and alumni)  volunteers around the Chicagoland area in various capacities. Our group served at the Irish American Heritage Center. 

Take a look at the pictures below to see how we served the community around us.

Our group.

At Saint Vincent Church preparing to leave.

Taking the CTA to our volunteer site.

Moving furniture.

Moving more furniture.

Greeting visitors.

Serving lunch to senior citizens!

Come Eat!

The IAHC library.

Taking the bus back to DePaul.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ireland Ireland Ireland

Welcome to our blog for FY@Ireland. We are a group of people from DePaul University traveling to Ireland this summer as part of our travel literature class. We welcome you to partake in this experience with us as we document our various discoveries on our Blog.