Cole Taylor is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing their story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism and media writing major at Lasell College, they are studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this post, Cole tells us about arriving in Ireland and the unique qualities they noticed while exploring their new home!
I could not help but stare at the little screen in front of me on flight 138 Aer Lingus. There was a map with a dotted line and an icon of a small plane to show where we were over the Atlantic. Finally, we were over Ireland. Thoughts rushed through my mind, and they only raced faster knowing I could not see what was beneath me (it was 7:00am). As we got closer, I was ready to get off the plane and see the unexpected.
I walked through the hallways of the airport until I got to customs where I showed customs my passport and important documents. From there, I saw 2 belts running with luggage from my flight. I located my bags and suddenly felt the reality sink in of being in Dublin. I was so relieved when I found my fellow CAPA students waiting in the lobby next to an older gentleman holding a ‘Griffith College’ sign. We all got acquainted very quickly and talked about our travels. As we approached the van, I looked around. "This is it," I thought. "I am here."
We loaded up the van with excessively heavy luggage and piled in. I approached the ‘shot gun’ seat and suddenly realized that I was on the driver's side; welcome to Europe. The ride was about an hour long and the whole time (even though my eyes burned for sleep) I was fascinated by this new place. The city streets were inundated with vehicles while locals and tourists raced along the sidewalks. We arrived at Griffith College, and finally, we were ready for check in. The process was short and sweet as they wanted us to move in and prepare for our first walking tour.
The apartments were nothing like I expected—in a good way, of course. The common area was quite spacious for the 4 of us. The rooms were homey and perfect for 2 people. The bathrooms, however, will be something to get used to: the shower floor is the whole bathroom floor and you may bump into the toilet while bathing.
The first walking tour was well anticipated as well as dreaded because we were all so exhausted, but once we were out, the thought of sleep dissipated. The city was unreal; there was so much to see. It seemed incredibly huge and confusing at first, but we actually got the hang of it pretty quick and even found our way back to the college on our own (with ease)!
The second walking tour was a historic one. We saw several old castles and churches as well as newer structures. Our tour guide did an impeccable job covering so much about Ireland in less than 2 hours. I wanted to hear more! Also, while on the walking tours, I noticed that I have a slight obsession with the doors here. Ever since I saw a bright red door, I started taking pictures of different doors.
Dublin is more than I could ever expect. The people are beyond considerate and humble, the amount of cafes and small pubs is extraordinary, the stores are easily accessible, and the food (so far) is actually tasty. I noticed the various sounds while walking in the city as well. Occasionally I hear the wail of a piercing siren coming from a neon yellow ambulance. There are hundreds and hundreds of people talking while walking, the busses and cars honk from all directions, and sometimes you hear nothing but incredible howling winds. The weather is unpredictable and dressing for it can be a challenge.
I have been here for just over thirty five hours and I have already fallen in love with Dublin. I am incredibly anxious to see the outskirts of this beautiful city and other countries as well. I feel somewhat adapted already even though it has only been one day. There is a ton of information that gets crammed into your head through orientation but what I realized is that if you ask questions, the CAPA team is thoroughly willing to help! They have made this transition much easier.
If I could give you advice for your first 48 hours abroad I would tell you this: remember, this experience is what you make of it. When I adjusted my thinking that way, I realized how fun this experience will be even if the shower is a little funky. We often take for granted what we have in the Unitied States and that is what makes this journey so incredible—learning to adapt and live off the basics.
Dublin is amazing. Bye. Bye. Bye. (You will understand this upon arrival).
‘Food’ for thought: If you like burgers, try Bunsen’s on Wexford Street.
Cole's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.