Live, learn and discover Ireland – The Global Gator

I’ve been in Dublin for almost two months already and loved it so much. After getting into the nitty gritty, I finally got into a routine while living in the city, even though I forget when and where my classes are still – but that’s what the Trinity Live app is for. Reflecting on this month, I was able to understand and reflect on how I have been able to live, learn and discover Ireland so far.

Living.

Living in Dublin has been so incredibly different. Navigating through the city has become second nature to me, although sometimes walking up to 8km a day on busy streets where everyone “has somewhere to go” hurt my feet, so if you come to Dublin, be sure to bring comfortable shoes. I will also say that I run through my four most common pairs of shoes, so when packing to study abroad I would try to limit the number of pairs you bring. Walking the streets is especially amazing in the morning on weekends when the city goes dark and you can enjoy the light calm of the morning sun (or rain depending on the weather). These times are also the best for shopping like grocery shopping at places like Lidl which in my opinion is the best grocery store in Dublin.

Taking public transport has also been integral to the success of life in Dublin. The Luas is my ride or die for everyday travel, but for day trips to places just outside of town, the Dart is nice. The bus system is also extensive and useful as it operates from early morning until late evening.

Below are some scenes I captured while walking around Dublin.

Learning.

The main reason I’m here is to go to school, so learning has definitely been a mainstay of my time here so far. We’re already entering week 5, which is so crazy to me, both in the sense that time flies so fast, but also in the sense that UF is so much further along in the semester. Understanding the class structure at Trinity was also a bit of a learning curve. Because research is so important at Trinity, many of my lectures have focused on old or ongoing projects in the lecturer’s lab. There was also more emphasis on self-study through understanding and reading literature than practical problems, as well as less weekly engineering homework and more emphasis on long-term projects. For example, I just submitted a group literature review, am starting a research project proposal, and preparing to do a biomaterials and bone biomechanics lab for a group lab report. Lab work is also so important here, so I had the chance to participate in my very first dissection lab (unfortunately not photographed as photography was not allowed out of respect for the rats who sacrificed their lives this week -the) !

Study spaces are also EVERYWHERE on campus here. The libraries are great, but definitely less social than at UF. The first floor is comparable to Marston’s fourth or even fifth floor. The commercial building and JCR are much more social to work in and also have more collaborative study rooms. They both remind me of Marston’s basement or even a smaller version of Newell. The only downside to studying on campus, however, is that the libraries and spaces close around 10 p.m. and there is only one floor of a 24-hour library.

Below are some photos of my experience of studying, speaking and participating in labs.

Experiment.

I was so lucky to be able to start living my student experience in Dublin to the full. There are SO many clubs available to participate in Trinity, especially sports clubs. The two that I have joined and frequent regularly are the rock climbing club and the swimming club. The climbing club is always extremely busy, but that also means it creates an encouraging atmosphere. The swim club is really fun and the team dynamic is very similar to FCST at UF.

Outside of school-sponsored experiences, I’ve had the chance to see Clairo and AJR in concert and take a few day trips when I’m not working on my homework. The concerts are amazing here as most of the venues are small so it’s a more intimate experience with the artists. Also, the Irish know how to have a good time listening to music. There are so many options for day trips here in Dublin, as trains depart from Connolly station not far from the city center and DARTs, which remind me of the underground underground, often depart from the city. Since my last post I took the DART to Howth a popular seaside town and swam in the Irish Sea I took the DART to Dalkey and Killiney with other UF students (Julia, Andrea and Marina) where we hiked up the Killiney and the Dalkey Hills, and took the train to Mullingar with Julia (1D fans KNOW why).

Below are some of my favorite photos I’ve taken while ‘experiencing’ Dublin, from sports clubs to thunderstorms and concerts.

I have also made it my mission to take photos of the landscape so that you reading this can see how beautiful the country of Ireland is, these photos are below and from the Dalkey/Killiney and Mullingar trips.

I hope you were able to learn a bit more about the student experience here in Dublin as a student abroad, and I look forward to sharing more experiences with you.

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