Posted by g00dhart on September 29, 2011
Greetings Robert Emmet Society Members and Friends!
I have officially been in Ireland for three weeks and I am settling in nicely. I am living in an apartment complex called Gleann na Ri in the neighborhood of Renmore, just outside of Galway and very close to GMIT. I have one flat mate named Fruzsina – she is from Hungary, but she lived and worked in Ohio this summer, so she is quite acquainted with American culture. Both at my school and in the city, I have made friends from all over Europe! They are from Bulgaria, Spain, France, Romania, Austria, Sweden, Hungary, and of course, Ireland. It is so interesting to learn about these countries – we are so much the same and so very different at the same time. We all share the common language of English, although I feel slightly like an “ignorant American” because I have never learned any other languages. However, as a native speaker, it is so entertaining to help my friends try to find the right words – like “straw,” “burner,” and “lettuce.” It is like charades, all the time.
I have acquired a bicycle for €70 from On Yer Bike, which is near the city centre in Galway. As cycling is my main method of transportation in Michigan, this has revolutionized my experience here. It rains nearly every day, so I am glad that this bike came equipped with mud guards, as well as lights and a rear rack. Also, they said that they will buy it back from me at the end of the semester. Sometimes cycling is scary here, but it feels so amazing to pedal through the fresh sea air!
I have just begun my second week of classes, and they are all quite interesting. In Natural History, we have already spent a day in the field – we went to the beach to discuss the ecosystems there. I am also taking Early Irish Literature and Archaeology. My other class, Urban Field Studies, includes a three-day intensive seminar where we will travel to Sligo and report our findings/experiences – I can’t wait to find out more about this.
A “club fair” was last week, so I discovered what a variety of clubs GMIT has to offer! From Surfing to Karate. I signed up for a few clubs, but I may not find time to attend them all. I am on the list for Kayaking, Yoga, Archery, Film, Tae Kwon Do, and Theatre. So interesting!
There are two GMIT campuses in Galway – the other is Cluain Mhuair for Art & Design. I have spent some time exploring this old monastery as I spent most of my time in the art department at NCMC. They have an amazing library! It is four stories of any kind of art book that you can imagine, and was designed by an award-winning architect – built completely without nails or screw, only pegs and slots. I was going to try to pick up some classes from the textiles program, but classes over here are organized by modules and there isn’t much cross-over between programs.
So far, I have taken many day trips to various sites throughout the County Galway area. I visited Kinvara and Dunguaire Castle the first weekend. Then, Fruzsina and I took a bus to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. This weekend my mom and her boyfriend Mark came to Galway to visit me – we spent a lot of time exploring the pubs, and took a trip through the Connemara countryside to Clifden. I will meet them in Dublin this Thursday – and I am taking the train! This will be my first time riding a train, so I’m pumped. The Irish landscape is breath-taking and magical; even today it seems like it is straight out of a fairy tale!
Things here are fabulous and exciting and I am so happy to be here! Although I really REALLY miss my doggie Goronomo and all of my friends back home. But this time in Ireland is like nothing I have ever experienced before in my life! Thank s so much to the Robert Emmet Society for this wonderful opportunity. Have fun on the stateside this fall!
Jasmine Lace Petrie