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A Semester in Ireland

Something on a lot of college students bucket lists, especially at AQ, is to study abroad for a semester at some point in their college career.  Having the opportunity to experience another country and culture while earning credit for school is the best of both worlds.

I was lucky enough to be able to seize this opportunity beginning my sophomore year at AQ.  I had applied for the Ireland semester in the Spring of 2015, and a year later, here I am writing this post in the beautiful country.

I’ve been here for about two weeks, but it has felt longer (in a good way).  Aquinas has sent 22 students and two professors to Ireland for this semester.  We live in the village of Tully Cross on the Renvyle Peninsula in the county of Galway, which is on the western coast.  We live in thatched roof cottages that have up to three bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, bathroom shower, and a backyard full of views of mountains, the ocean, and cows.

The way our classes are set up is that we meet around two to three times a week.  For example, this past week we had our Irish Literature class on Monday from 6 to 9pm and Irish History on Tuesday from 6 to 9pm.  We also had a hike on Wednesday afternoon for our hiking class.  The classes are held in the study cottage, which is a cottage reserved for all of our academic supplies and for our lecture space.  It’s a little small, but it’s cozy and personal.  We also have the opportunity to do an internship while we are here.  Our intership schedules vary, but for the most part, we go to our internships on Tuesday and Thursday mornings until 1pm.  The internships range from working in the local schools or at the colleges or even helping out at animal shelters.  I am interning at the local radio station and learning how to create and edit my own radio broadcast.

In our free time we go on hikes, talk to the locals, play pool and dance in the pubs, and explore what has become our new home.  It’s hard to express how much fun we have had and how much we have learned in such a short amount of time.  It’s also hard for us to actually grasp that we’re all here and going to be here for many more weeks.  But, it’s wonderful knowing that we were all given this opportunity and that Tully Cross and Aquinas have such a great bond and history.

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