After traveling all the way from California to Louisville and then to Dublin, I was ready for our trip to begin; however I was not expecting it to happen until after we arrived in Cork (or Corcaigh in its traditional form). We hopped on the train for Cork and I was pleasantly surprised to be sitting near two local Dubliners named Jerry (Jer) and John. Over the next two hours we exchanged similarities and differences of our respective countries and shared opinions on a variety of other topics. It was a friendly and welcoming conversation which allowed for quick immersion into the Irish culture and language (Jer was very hard to understand, so John had to translate Irish-English to English a few times). We then parted ways, travelled to our accommodations at University College Cork, and begun our day of visiting the city.
Over the next several hours, we would visit the city-center of Cork and familiarize ourselves with the city. We got to know the bus routes and schedules, receive great historical information from the taxi cab drivers, and most importantly, got to know one another on a personal level. The six of us relative strangers would bond in less than one day, and set the fantastic tone for the rest of the week. It was amazing to get to know each one of the other people on this trip!
Today, was our second day in Cork and even more exciting than the first! We were able to see (and kiss) the legendary Blarney Stone. Afterwards, we walked the gardens and caves and took many pictures of the group to document every part of the experience.
Being in the Distance Education portion of the College of Education and Human Development doesn't always lend itself to integrating myself with other students. Two days changed that and I feel like a campus-based University of Louisville student. I have been able to learn about our own institution, bond with other students, and enjoy even more pride that the university instills. Tomorrow class begins and I cannot wait to learn about the higher education system in this country to consider other similarities and differences between Ireland and the United States.