Dublin, Ireland: Not so rainy after all (by Fjona and Sarah)

For our last Dublin blog entry we decided to each write a post individually. We hope we could share a bit of our experience with you and give you some insight on what it was like to be students at Griffith College. So without further ado, our final thoughts on Ireland and our semester abroad resumes:

Fjona 

I’ve been back in Germany for three weeks now. I spent 5 month in Dublin itself and travelled to Scotland and England afterwards. I got lucky and booked my flights on black Friday and spend less than 15€ for my flight to Glasgow and only 20€ for my flight back to Germany.

Looking back at my stay in Dublin some things I experienced just as I expected but Dublin surprised me in many ways as well.

Before I went abroad everyone told me that Dublin will be very rainy, so I got myself Hunters and a new rain jacket. Those purchases however weren’t very lucrative because I was probably wearing those less that 15 times. Don’t get me wrong, it still rained a lot but just not as often as I expected. As a native told me, this year we had a dry year so we were able to enjoy a lot of sunny days for Irish circumstances. However it doesn’t usually get much warmer that 20 degrees.

As mentioned before in our older blog posts the exams take place in end of January. Here the exams have similarities to an essay and you are asked to write as much as possible, but at least 3 pages per question. I found that to be very difficult because in Germany you are drilled to write rather brief answers.

Being back in Germany it makes me realise again how open hearted Irish people are. I found them to be very considerate people. You can become friends with strangers and they made my stay so memorable there.

In conclusion, I can say that Ireland stole a little piece of my heart and I’d have loved to stay a few months longer. Fortunately, Dublin isn’t too far away and flights aren’t too expensive so I’m positive that my next visit will be soon.

Sarah 

Looking back, I truly had no idea about what I was getting myself into ten months ago when I agreed to spend my semester abroad in Dublin. I’ve been back to Stuttgart for a good six weeks now and it’s time for me to recap on three months as a student on the emerald isle. What I can first and foremost tell you is that everything about the stereotypical idea I had stuck in my mind about what Ireland would be like has turned out to be somewhat true. But I can also tell you about the countless memories and wonderful experiences which had me understand what the country truly is all about.

To be quite honest with you I can barely believe I am writing these words because I, unlike many others of my fellow students, never wanted to go to Ireland in the first place. I’ve had a ton of doubts about ever being able to make something good out of me spending several months there but as time went on I now get why it was important for me to live life the Irish way for a bit. I am actually grateful for this experience as it’s been an enriching one and it gave me some new perspective on life I am not sure I could’ve been offered anywhere else in the same way.

Obviously not everything has always only been great. Public transport is a challenge if you are used to buses and trains being available every few minutes, a peek at the receipt from your weekly grocery shopping has you gasp and the weather is a character of itself. None of this though will ever be on top of the list when I think about Ireland and being a student there. The emerald isle is home to an astonishing degree of tolerance, willingness to help and inspiring joy of life in a way that can hardly be found in Germany. Aside from the wonderful social idiosyncrasies I will truly miss Dublin’s cultural landscape which is shaped heavily by its long tradition with film, theater and music. Strolling through cobblestone alleys around St. Stephen’s Green has been a favorite thing of mine to do.

Dublin allows for young people to embrace their own way, so does the experience of living abroad on you own. I can therefore only advise you to choose your living arrangements wisely should you too decide to spend a semester abroad. I believe to have gotten exceptionally lucky with the host family I stayed with since they have been the most caring and supportive people who, together with our five other house mates from Spain, Canada and France allowed for me to experience a truly authentically international but also very Irish semester abroad.

Another thing that made a very positive lasting impression is Griffith College and its staff. Although the old building looks like a spooky castle everyone working in the administrative department has been absolutely helpful throughout the entire semester, checked in when they knew something might be difficult to handle and our lecturers sure made an effort to make microeconomics and writing essays seem fun. Looking at my final grades I can definitely tell that the support you receive as an international student at Griffith College is excellent.

The geographical distance between Dublin and Germany might not be the most impressive to some people, it is enough of a cultural difference though to travel from one world to another. I can absolutely recommend considering Ireland – as the city to spend a semester abroad at or as the destination for your next trip. I am convinced that every character will be able to discover Ireland as a unique place in the world in one or another way and I can’t wait to bring friends and family around who haven’t been to the emerald isle yet.

Dublin will forever be a special chapter in my life that I, looking back, would not miss for the world.