Yes, CAPA global cities are bursting with people from around the globe and are inevitably full of social and networking opportunities. They're also home to some pretty amazing quieter places though, and are host to tons of activities that give the introverts among us a chance to recharge and perhaps discover another, more peaceful, side of a bustling metropolis. Here are 10 of our favorites in Dublin:
1. RELAX IN THE CAFES. Café culture is alive and kicking in Dublin! There are plenty of cafés where you can chill out with a good book and have have wifi too so you can check your emails or do a bit of research. Don’t let the crowds outside drain you; find a nice corner to enjoy a coffee and some ‘you’ time! We love Noshingtons near Griffith College, The Fumbally and 3Fe, for starters.
Photo: Cafe in Dublin by Stephanie Sadler
2. SEE A MOVIE. With cinemas all over Dublin, showing films at all hours of the day, the only decision is whether you would like take a friend or go alone! Try Lighthouse cinema for comfy seating, excellent popcorn and independent films, the Irish Film Institute for something different or Cineworld for the blockbusters. (PS - check out our list of 10 Dublin movies to watch before you study abroad.)
Photo: Lighthouse Cinema, Dublin by William Murphy
3. JOIN (OR WATCH) A CHOIR. “There’s something particularly reflective about visiting a grand and empty church in winter, and music is a constant element of services at St. Patrick’s Cathedral," says Anto Howard in his book Slow Dublin. We couldn’t agree more! In Dublin, you can find numerous choir groups seeking new members. All you need is a love for singing – and they do say singing soothes the soul!
Photo: St. Patrick's Cathedral by José Manuel Armengod
4. HAVE A NIGHT IN WITH FLATMATES. Get to know your flatmates; these people will likely become your friends and will be the ones who you will be spending the most time with. Once in a while, make time to have a quiet and relaxing night in, order some pizza or cook together, put on a DVD or just have a chat about Ireland and enjoy each other’s company.
Photo: Pizza night by Tom Hilton
5. VISIT IVEAGH GARDENS. There are plenty of fantastic parks around Dublin, but many of these can attract large crowds of people, especially when the weather is inviting. The great news is that Dublin also has some hidden gems such as the Iveagh Gardens. This wonderful green space is located in the heart of the city, but ‘off the beaten track’. It is a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy the calm, peaceful surroundings. Bring a picnic lunch and while away the afternoon.
6. MEET LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE. Meetup.com is a website where you can meet like-minded people. If you are in introvert who would like to get out of your comfort zone and try to meet more people while you are in Dublin, you are sure to find plenty of groups on meetup.com to join. If you don’t feel quite like getting out of your comfort zone, you can also find groups with other introverted people – who knows, you might make some great friends! Check out Dublin's Introverts Social Club.
7. EXPLORE THE MUSEUMS. Not only are many museums in Dublin free to enter, but they are also a fantastic place to visit if you want to explore the city and learn a bit more about the history of Dublin and Ireland generally. Museums can become busy at particular times of the day, so if you would like to avoid the crowds, try visiting at off-peak times. Try The Little Museum of Dublin, the Dublin Writers Museum and the National Museum of Ireland.
Photo: Little Museum of Dublin by Stephanie Sadler
8. USE YOUR RESOURCES. Make the most of what resources are on offer to you. If you are studying with CAPA Dublin (or in any CAPA city, for that matter!), the staff are always more than happy to talk to you and recommend places to visit or things to do around the city. Living and studying in another country can be overwhelming at times, so if you want to speak to a counselor or just a friendly place, there is always support available for you.
Photo: CAPA Dublin Resident Director Susanne Bach
9. SPEND A DAY AT THE SEASIDE. A short trip on the bus or train will whisk you away from the city and out into the open, with nothing but fresh air and plenty of sea water to admire. With public transport in Dublin, it is very easy and inexpensive to explore the beautiful Dublin Bay or head further afield. Look out on the horizon, listen to the splash of the waves against the shore and take some time to reflect.
Photo: Seaside on Bray to Greystones cliffwalk by CAPA Dublin blogger Sydney Smith
10. WIND DOWN WITH YOGA. From yin to bikram, whatever type of yoga you are interested in or would like to try, you have it right on your doorstep in Dublin. Yoga can be a great way to relax, de-stress, and recharge your batteries. Check out Yoga Hub, Yoga Dublin Studios and The Yoga Room for a few options.
Photo: Yogi by Quinn Dombrowski
BONUS 11. DE-BRIEF WITH A BLOG OR JOURNAL. You could also start a blog or a diary about your study abroad adventures. Try jotting down the interesting things you do, stories of people you meet, food you enjoy and places you see. No doubt, it will be fun to read back on your entries when you return home and makes it easier to reminisce as well as re-call stories that might come in handy for future job interviews!