First Week!

Themes: Green, green, green everywhere; walking for 15,000 steps each day; Apologizing for the quality of pictures (but y’all get the gist) – next time, I will try to bring my camera; beautiful, beautiful places; birds everywhere; bagpipe; radical weather changes (I am used to carrying my winter hat, scarf, gloves, and an umbrella to wherever I go now).

Ireland is even “greener” than I imagined it would be, and we spent around this past week getting acquainted to the campus and to the city. The campus is rather huge compared to Holy Cross, but it is compacted in a way that I could get to everywhere in around 20 minutes. In a way, I could get my step counts every day when walking back and forth to my computer science and piano practices!

I was one of the lucky ones to get on-campus housing this semester instead of commuting from the city centre to UCD every day. Our room happened to be very international and fun – one of my roommates is from St. Louis in the US, one is from Cologne, Germany, and one is from Sydney, Australia. The rooms are kind of like what you get with Figge and Williams – four students share a common area (of couches and stuff) and a kitchen, two bathrooms, and each of us got our own bedroom. It is located on one side of campus, which means that if I need to go to the sports centre on the other side of campus I would need to walk for around 20 minutes (which is quite a workout itself in the wind and the rain). It is very nice that we do have “centra”, which is a mini grocery store, right next to Merville, and the bus terminal for the bus going into the city centre is very close to Merville as well.

Merville Residences, where I will be callling “home” for the next four months!

Another thing that Ireland struck me is that there are a lot of birds around this area! There are seagulls, pigeons, ducks and swans inhabiting the three lakes in UCD (yes, there are three lakes on this campus).

The Upper Lake in UCD
A swan in the Upper Lake of UCD (or is it a goose? I can’t tell)

In terms of visiting Dublin city, UCD Orientation has organized a little walking tour for us. It was rainy and windy (typical), but two of the highlights were visiting “The Little Museum of Dublin”, which collection is funded by public donation, and the National History Museum. I was practically given a crash course of 20th century Dublin history during the tour in the Little Museum of Dublin (which, was quite sad, but also fascinating!). Besides from artifacts from the more historic side of Dublin City, they also had a little collection of U2, and a current collection of fashion radicals of Dublin, etc. It was free to visit the National History Museum, and there were a great exhibition of different animal specimens (which was quite interesting to me as I have taken biology for a year), but it was a shame that I was not allowed to take pictures over there.

U2 exhibition in Little Museum of Dublin
Wall of fame
Around the Temple Bar area at 6PM on a Sunday
Walking tour with fellow UCD students

Classes just started today as well, and it has been a little bit crazy to witness the big “theater” lecture halls here. I have not taken a class that has more than 50 people (and that’s Intro Biology that I was talking about) in Holy Cross, but I am definitely adjusting strategies with bigger lectures, and trying to actively engage with professors despite that I am in a huge lecture hall.

Lecture in UCD; I am positioned in the back 1/3 of the lecture hall

That is probably enough said about the week! I definitely feel that it is weird that I am not at Holy Cross, and there has been a lot of differences between HC and UCD (good differences!), but it is definitely so worth it! Now, I will get to cooking dinner (we did not come with a meal plan, so I am hoping that I don’t live off from sandwiches and my cooking will get to improve!), and more about UCD soon!

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