My very first experience in an Irish classroom was a huge success. My professor was wonderful. She was so helpful and understanding. The first day of class she made us very aware that we can go to her for anything, even if it is just to ask where to buy a birthday card for our grandmother. She really favored the four lads in our class though over the ladies, which was always entertaining. The class itself was very interesting. We learned about Irish folklore and ethnology. The Irish way of life years ago was very different! I’m not sure what was more exciting about class – my teacher’s accent, the content she was trying to deliver, or our coffee breaks! Every class we had a half hour coffee break, some days it was needed! We even had field trips for the class! After the four weeks were up, we had to get ready for our normal semester. I was a little nervous because I didn’t really know what to expect. So far it’s been completely different that St. Norbert. I have never missed a class at St. Norbert, but here I have missed a few for traveling. My professors don’t care one bit, one of them asked me about my trip and was genuinely excited for me! I attend about six hours of class per week for five courses. I have so much free time here that sometimes I’m not sure what to do with it! I am trying to enjoy every last minute of it because I do remember how busy my schedule is once I get back to St. Norbert! It is so eye-opening to see how different college can be. Irish students make it very clear that we are “in college”, school is for grade school. They also attend class very rarely as well, which is so odd to me. A great majority of classes are held after 10 am so they don’t even have to get up early for class! School – or college – itself is such a new experience. Previous students who studied abroad warned me about this, but I guess I had to see it for myself to believe it!
Jenny Cheke is studying abroad at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.