In and out of the Class
As has already been mentioned, there are quite a few differences during the Ireland study abroad experience from studying at home, but often these are good and important. The classroom culture, I suppose, is much like that of large schools in America during lectures. The main difference, however, would probably be that participation during tutorials is much harder to come by in Ireland. I have found on occasion that I have to ‘force’ myself to participate just to end the awkward silence after a question is asked and no one is answering. So here, there are obvious positives and negatives.
As far as how things are outside the classroom, getting around town is easy enough. A bus goes right from the campus into the city centre, and from there, it is easy enough to either walk, find a cab, take another bus, or for particularly long destinations, taking the trains, all of which I have found to be very well kept and operated. Once you get to where you need to go, pubs obviously aren’t hard to find, and the food, especially fish and chips, is wonderful.
Finally, it is important to go over holidays. During the fall semester, there is really only the October 31st Bank Holiday, which also happens to be Halloween. During this four day weekend, I took a train from Dublin to Sligo to stay with some family for a while, and had a great time experiencing the beautiful sights and ‘true’ Irish culture outside of the big city.