After flying over the Atlantic and feverishly sprinting through a foreign airport to make a connecting flight, I arrived in Dublin, Ireland.
I will be spending the next five months studying at Maynooth University in Kildare County, 30 minutes outside the country’s capital.
The first thing I noticed about the small island was the weather – a topic that many locals love to discuss.
I compare this weather to a New England fall, which is my favorite season. This is rumored to be the coldest month of the year and to me, it’s nothing compared to the snow. So far it’s been cloudy twenty-four seven, but people have told me you can experience all four seasons in one day. I always bring an umbrella with me.
Surprisingly, as in the United States, Ireland cannot stop talking about President Donald Trump. The newspapers are plastered with Trump’s face. The moment someone hears my accent, they ask for my opinion on his win.
I have always politely declined to comment.
Another common reaction expressed to me about my accent is how quiet I am compared to the Americans they see in the media.
According to a few Dutch people I’ve met, Americans are loud, obnoxiously patriotic and just a little too much.
I spent my first week exploring Dublin and other parts of Ireland’s coast.
Dublin has a mix of old and new architecture. You turn left and you see a historic cathedral, and on your right, there’s a Starbucks.
A post office with century-old bullet holes neighbors a massive shopping district and a KFC.
The architecture reminds me of Boston, since both cities have such historic backgrounds.
I also took a day trip to Dún Laoghaire – pronounced Don Leary – which is a picturesque seaside town. Other international students and I spent the day exploring museums and thrift shops, and eating homemade ice cream by the sea.
Once school started, I began to meet people from cities I couldn’t pronounce, but who had an equal motivation for finding the best pizza in Maynooth.
Maynooth University has over 200 international students this semester. People of different origins came together for the sole purpose of experiencing a new learning environment.
Like Dublin, Maynooth University has a mixture of old and new architecture.
The South Campus holds St. Patrick College, which is the first Catholic seminary in Ireland. The campus looks as if it could be a part of Hogwarts.
The North Campus houses the majority of academic buildings and student accommodations. It also has the most popular spot on campus – Subway – and I find it amusing that this is the most common hangout spot for the European students.
I’ve only been here for about 10 days, but the transition has been easy.
In Ireland you can feel like you’re at home – you feel a sense of belonging.
Editor’s note: This column is a bi-weekly column written by a staff member studying abroad.
Check Allison out on the Study Abroad Snapchat @fsuabroad in the future, or follow her now @awharton15