The students are having a wonderful time touring Ireland and exploring Dublin but they are also working very hard to keep up with their academic work. Playing hard. Working hard. Today they attended an interdisciplinary conference on elder care in Ireland. It was very informative and they represented UConn well. During breaks in the presentations, they had time to visit the vendors and educational booths.
The students also had their first quiz today. I booked a room in the Health Sciences building, but the weather was just too good to stay indoors. So, we had our quiz at the duck pond. 70 degrees. We enjoyed pizza as a group and I brought a variety of authentic Irish cheeses and fresh baked bread. The left over bread went to the ducks. I think this is how all quizzes should be administered! Pizza, gourmet cheeses, fresh baked artisan breads, fresh Irish air, and a beautiful duck pond.
On Monday during an hour break, instead of walking to the dorms, I sat by UCD’s reflecting pond. The reflecting pond is a large rectangle that has a few waterspouts in the middle as fountains and a little island in the back corner. On the pond, there were various types of birds, mostly different ducks. I had part of a biscuit with me so I started to break that into little crumbs to feed the ducks and a few ducklings that were close by. After a few minutes another family of birds came over from their little island. First there was a huge swan, then its partner popped off the island followed by six of the fluffiest little babies I have ever seen. The family of eight swans has to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever been so close to.
Now when I say close to, I mean right next to. The pond itself is set down lower then where you stand next to it. From the lip of the platform to the water is maybe three feet. I was standing right next to the lip of the pond. At one point, I was apparently not throwing crumbs in fast enough and the bigger swan of the pair stuck its head over the lip and pulled at my jeans. This really scared me for a second. So basically the largest bird I have ever seen went after my pants because it probably got grumpy with me.
The swans were definitely the highlight of my day. In addition to this experience with the birds, I have to tell you the campus is beautiful. I have never seen greener grass in my life and it is just everywhere. The trees around campus are lovely, and the buildings that I have been in look like they were built the day before. It is just beautiful here.
We were treated to the first glimpse of Ireland from the airplane windows. With blurry, sleepy eyes, we saw the green farmland of the Emerald Isle. The morning was bright and beautiful – our first welcome to Ireland.
The students spent the weekend exploring Dublin and having some fun. I spent the first weekend resting – sad, but true. The weather was perfect for long walks and a bit of shopping.
UCD hosted a wonderful breakfast for us on Monday morning, our first day of class….SCONES THE SIZE OF YOUR HEAD! Classes were informative. The students represented UConn well (GO HUSKIES!). After a long day of classes, UCD chartered a bus to take everyone to dinner. We were surprised to see that they took us to the rooftop bar/garden at Fade, a famous restaurant owned by Dylan McGrath (of Masterchef fame).
Our trip is definitely off to a wonderful start. I look forward to sharing the rest of this adventure with all 15 of the students.
Hello everyone! I’m excited to be the first blog post representing the UConn SON Ireland trip for Summer 2014! I’m pleased to inform you that we arrived safely in Dublin early on Saturday morning and have been trying to soak up every bit of Irish culture since we arrived (and before classes officially began today).
I am sure that I speak for many when I say that it was hard to leave behind loved ones for a month, but the excitement for what this trip has in store for everyone surely kept us upbeat and eager to arrive in Ireland! The flight over was generally smooth and as comfortable as an overnight flight across the Atlantic could be. It was on the flight that I met my first official Irish natives and they certainly lived up to their “friendliest people in the world” reputation. I was lucky enough to spend my ~6.5 hour flight next to Linda and James, a couple that recently got engaged and spent a “holiday” (aka vacation) in NYC shopping and exploring. Linda knew I was not keen on flying and kept me entertained during take off, my least favorite part of the flight. She and James even bought me a glass of wine not long after that to ease my nerves (don’t worry- I’m 21 and legal in the states and in Dublin).
As I mentioned earlier, we arrived here around 8:30am in Dublin on Saturday morning. It was a very long day for many of us seeing as we didn’t sleep well on the plane ride over, but we still persevered and made the best of our first day. We were able to navigate our way to UCD and to our dorm rooms, unpack, and subsequently back into the center of Dublin to explore. Many of us attempted to do a hop-on, hop-off tour that night, but there was some confusion with that and we ended up just eating out at River Bar, which was a restaurant next to the River Liffey. It definitely hit the spot. We then continued to explore Dublin and it’s nightlife. We found a few pubs that were playing live music and stopped to immerse ourselves into the new atmosphere. It really was a great first evening in Dublin, regardless of the fact that we hadn’t slept in who knows how long!
Sunday was also a fun day for many of us; we were able to finally do the hop-on hop-off bus tour. The first major stop that many people got off at on the tour was at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. I, myself, did not go see it (although I plan to over the next month), and instead got lunch at a local café with a few others from the group. The next stop we got off at was at Guinness and did we the tour there. I can officially say that I can pour the perfect pint of Guinness; it’s quite the resume booster if I do say so myself! By the time we ended at Guinness, it was close to dinner time. We wandered back to the dorms where we made dinner for ourselves (grilled cheese) then got ready to go back into Dublin for the night. We met a few locals while out and they gave us an insightful look into the history of Ireland. It was quite the experience.
Finally, today we had our first day of classes. I would be lying if I said that I enjoyed today as much as I enjoyed our first two free days in Ireland, however, class really was not all that bad. All of the professors and staff at UCD seem very friendly and approachable, which seems like a great start to what should be a great month here in Ireland!
Overall, I am excited for this whole trip to unravel. I am lucky to be travelling with a fantastic group of individuals that are always willing to take pictures with me “for the blog!” Below are some snap shots of our journey so far. Enjoy!
For the second summer in a row, UConn will be participating in the University College Dublin (UCD) Summer School at the School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Systems. This year, I’ll be traveling with 15 students (11 nursing students, 1 biochemistry student, 1 allied health student, 1 biology student, and 1 pathobiology student).
Please check this blog site regularly so you can read/see what the students are doing.