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What It's Like to Study Abroad in Northern Ireland

October 12, 2016

“Green” - that was my first thought as I flew above the country that would house me for the next nine months. The pastures with tiny dots of fluffy wool spread out under me, like something out of a fairy tale.

To quote Rey from Star Wars Episode VII, “I didn’t know there was this much green in the whole galaxy.”

I was a proverbial mess when I landed in Belfast. Honestly, I was still in shock that I was actually in Ireland that my thoughts sounded a bit like this: Ican’tbelieveI’minIrelandisthisreallifeaaaaaahhhhhh - or at least something along those lines.

I’ve now lived here for about three weeks, and I’ve learned a lot about my new home and the people who live here. Here are a few highlights for you:

  • I didn’t know towns could be as cute as Coleraine. But I was proven seriously wrong. It has a little town hall and an old church and everything. It’s adorable.
  • Driving on the (wrong) other side of the road is still a bit weird, but it’s starting to get bearable. As is having the driver’s side being on the other side of the car.
  • Towns are very spread out here. I’m so used to them being squished together like puzzle pieces, but here, they’re separated by pasture after pasture.
  • At first, the accents were difficult to understand. They still are, but it’s getting more and more normal. I love listening to people talk here.
  • My Irish friends often ask me, “Have you tried [blank]?”, “Have you heard of [blank]?” or “Do you have [blank] in the U.S.?” I love seeing their shocked faces when I say no, and their responses of “WE NEED TO SHOW HER!”
  • The chocolate and baked goods are so much better here. Therefore, I feel the need to try every single chocolate that we don’t have in America. Call it science …

I’m still learning things about this beautiful place that I’m lucky enough to call my home. I’ll be keeping a record of slang that I come across so that you can get a feel for the kind of words that are used around here.

That being said:

Craic (pronounced like “crack”): enjoyable social activity; a good time

This year is gonna be some good craic.

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