Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Yup...THIS is my school this term. Or part of it, as the campus is actually quite large. When I first walked through the tall arch and came into the courtyard, I thought it looked too good to be true. I felt like I was in a medieval movie or something. However, this is not the building where I'll have class though, I will be in the Faculty of Business and Law. So what are my takes on my new school? Well, it's definitely world class and the fact that it's in Ireland makes it even better! I can't get enough of the awesome buildings and cold, grey stone overhung with lots and lots of vines. I love that the Lee River runs alongside campus. The coffee and food stations on campus are wonderful. The people are so very friendly and helpful, especial my program's international representative. The other day I had point when I felt like going into tears over thinking about what to sign up for and take care of, and the lovely Irish lady in the international office was so cheery and helpful that I left my unfallen tears way behind me. There are also several other international students from many different countries of the world, so I'm not alone at all. This is what I love, to hear so many languages and to be surrounded by lots of different nationalities. Today I had a total blast with some students from Lithuania, who were awesome people! They asked me if I knew where their country is, and I said, "actually, I do!"This past week has been Fresher's Orientation as well as international's orientation, so there will be many more Irish students coming back next week. I'm looking forward to this as well. This week has been a little tough in getting my feel for the school too though. There are many adjustments, and even though I expected this before coming here, it's still something that takes time. For one, although I've met lots of really fun and great people, I haven't met people whom I call 'bosom friends' yet. Hopefully soon though, and I am trying to reach out. Though there are certain connections I have with other American students, I don't wish to just stick with them. Especially since it seems like all they want to do here is drink, get wasted, and drink some more. Every night of the week too, which costs quite a bit. True, if you're a drinker you'll most like have a great time here at the pubs and "bares"(as the Irish pronounce them,lol). But if you're not into that or choose against it, there are definitely other things to enjoy. Thankfully, I've met a couple girls who aren't much into this and it makes me relieved I'm not the only one. If I'm the only one, it's hard. The pubs can be a lot of fun, but I know now to never go alone, and always go with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. This is because when you're in a big city in another country, anything could happen. So you need to find someone who's got your back. I't's easy to do something we regret when we're out of our own environment and vulnerable. Now, back to school talk. Ireland's school system in general is different than the States. I have to "play" classes for at least a week before formal registration, and I don't think classes can be changed once decided upon. What I'll pretty much be doing is studying all semester toward my final projects and exams. At, least, that's what it sounds like so far. Oh, one very cool thing is that school brand clothes don't all cost as much as in the States; I can get a cool rain jacket with my school logo for only 25 euro. Which is something I may be needing soon! Irish style really isn't much different than American style, so I'm glad I brought quite a few of my own warm things.
I've made some good friends! One of them is my housemate Christina, who loves to cook as much or more than I do even, and is very sweet. A couple others are friends she introduced me to when we went out one night; all responsible, intelligent women. Another, named Christina too, is a post-grad from Italy. Two other new friends are Irish girls I met at church on Sunday: Eimear, Sarah, and her sister, who has an Irish name I can't pronounce.
By now I've had a few classes, and they are quite good. I'm hoping to stick with the ones I've tried so far, but we'll see. I'd basically be doing all management classes, which may get a little dry at times, but I do love what I study. My favorite class so far is one Called "Contemporary Issues of HRM", of course, about human resource management. The teacher was very professional and the slides were great, and I was sitting among UCC senior and master level students. Ones of the ones I went to yesterday was Strategic Management, another fourth level course, also very good. The professor was hilarious, however, only because he is the perfect stereotypical professor to be planted in your memory. He's only a fill-in for the first couple weeks actually, but is from the London Business School and is very British. Not only does he have the accent, but has the perfect whisped, grey hair of an aged professor. He's also very serious about what he's presenting, and therefore helps me be more serious too. So I assume this class will be good for me, though possibly a bit challenging as well. Classes are interesting, in that it seems each one I'm attending is only a two-hour, once-a-week deal. I'm like, "sure, I can take that!" But I also see that it's helpful because my classes have been nowhere near each other either, and the overall campus is huge. So far I've been able to find them, so I hope to find the rest just as well. It's definitely a good idea to go early, to give plenty of time to find the class. Then once I find it, I sit down nearby and read my nook or whatever till class starts. Oh, you know what the most awesome thing about college in Ireland is? That I don't really have to buy textbooks! Yup, the school has every needed book and journal article in the library, so we can just use those resources. I was so happy when I got here and heard about this big money-saver. Today I tried it out: finding a resource book in UCC's huge library. The librarian was a huge help and once she gave me the floor and shelf numbers, I was actually able to find the book quite easily! There is a return deadline of course, but I can renew online if I create a library pin for myself; how cool is that? Every little thing counts, if it makes my life easier here. One big question I had about school here was of course what the workload is like. Well, the European school system seems to be all about the finals. This includes a project, and/or big writing assignment, and exam. Might sound simple, but I don't think so. If I slack off too much on the build-up of lectures and class notes, it will show up in the finals. They're a big deal. Am I ready? I don't know; I just gotta be adaptable and perseverent. So...I know I have a long ways to go in school experiences, but these are just a few of my first vibes.