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Getting to know Galway City – From university to top pubs and live Irish music

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Live traditional music on the streets of Galway

We got to Galway on Wednesday night and it was super rainy and windy. Elevators (or lifts as they call them) are not as common here as in the States. I had to lug my luggage up two flights of stairs to get to my apartment.

My apartment is awesome. There are five of us and I share a room with Lannon. We even have our own bathroom. We have our own kitchen too which is cool except none of us really know how to cook. I managed to burn a frozen pizza tonight...epic fail. I’m blaming it on the oven. The pizza was still good though so it all worked out.

Galway is a great city. We walk everywhere It only takes 15 minutes to get to downtown Galway and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) campus. I’m going to be walking everywhere this semester. I’m going to be in great shape when I get back to the States.

Downtown Galway looks like what I’ve always imagined Ireland looking like - tons of cute old buildings and pubs.

My friends and I went to the pubs over the weekend and it was so fun. Many of the pubs played a lot of American music which I wasn’t expecting but we finally managed to find a few that were playing live traditional Irish music.

My favorite pub is probably The King’s Head because it’s really big and cool looking on the inside. The other night the live band played “Galway Girl” and it was so exciting. The Front Door is also an entertaining pub because it’s a mix between a pub and a bar.

Galway is a really lively city and there’s always people, mostly students, out at the pubs until 2am.
Since I am studying abroad maybe I should mention school? We had orientation at NUIG over the past few days. That was nice because they explained the academic system as well as all the extracurricular activities international students could join.

I was surprised by the amount of international students at NUIG, there was a lot, mostly from The States but there was also a fair amount from other European countries. Classes are very different here and don’t last as long as they do in the States.

All my classes end by the end of March and then I have a two-week Spring Break followed by exams. Although, since I’m taking all English classes my exams will be essays which may be turned in before classes even end. Sweet deal!

I’m really excited about a service class I’m taking called “Literacy and Learning in the Community”. It’s a small class taught by an English professor and as a part of the class I get to volunteer at a local homework club in Galway and help elementary students with their reading. I think it’s a really unique opportunity to get involved in the community and volunteer with kids so I’m wicked excited.

One of my friends, Tiffany, is also in the class so we’ll be able to walk to the homework club together. We both have a tendency to get lost easily so we’ll see how well that works out.

Since it’s such a small class it was very competitive to get into, and was filled on a first come first served basis. In order to get into the class the form had to be dropped at the professor’s office so me and some of my fellow study abroad friends ran around frantically during the break at orientation to attempt to find the professor’s office and turn the form in. It was a little difficult seeing as we had no idea where the office was located and my shoe fell off as we were running up the stairs (don’t ask how it happened..it just did) But I kept running with my shoe half on, made it to the office on time and got into the class. I’d call that a success.

NUIG is a really pretty campus, much bigger than Assumption (my home school). I’m excited to go to a bigger school for a semester; it’ll be a whole new experience.

My classes are all lectures which means there could be anywhere from 50-100 students in the class. I’ve never been in a class that big before so I’m really excited to see how it differs from the smaller classes I’ve been taking at Assumption.

Classes officially start tomorrow but I don’t register for another two weeks. At NUIG they do a two-week trial period where you go to whatever classes you want, see if you like them and then decide whether or not to register for them. I’m having a great time in Galway and I’ll keep you all posted on my adventures.
Until then, Cheers! (that’s what they say in Ireland for goodbye )

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