Study Abroad in Ireland Article

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An article I wrote for The Eagle's Eye, a UMC student newsletter.

Submitted: May 05, 2010

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Submitted: May 05, 2010

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When you think of Ireland, the first thing you think of is likely not horses. However when you ask Gretchen Lucken, a junior majoring in Equine Science, about Ireland she is likely to think of horses. This is because last semester Gretchen studied Equine Science at the University of Limerick in Ireland; the perfect way to combine her major with her interest in Ireland. For Gretchen, the decision to study abroad was a relatively easy one and she’s very pleased with her decision.
While at the University of Limerick, Gretchen took mostly equine science classes that transferred well. She noted that the equine classes in Ireland were more science based and less hands-on. They also didn’t have the variety of disciplines that UMC has. In Ireland it was focused solely on jumping. Gretchen also took classes in Irish language and Irish culture & geography. The classes themselves were a bit different from UMC’s classes. “There was not the same push to go to class. Your grades were based tests like your mid-terms and finals. If you were a good test-taker you’d be fine”, Gretchen commented on the classes in Ireland.
The University of Limerick had many other differences from UMC as well. The campus was easily 2 to 3 times the size of UMC and it was a mile walk from classes to the housing that Gretchen stayed in. There were no dorms and the housing, which consisted of apartments or houses, was set up in “villages”. The main difference was that the University of Limerick was not a dry campus like UMC. When mentioning the fact that UMC was a dry campus Gretchen said that she “shocked guys who couldn’t believe how someone could go through university without drinking”. The campus in Ireland had a more relaxed attitude about drinking and it was legal for university students as they would be 18. There were even pubs on campus. Gretchen was involved in the fencing club on campus and noted that were numerous clubs. The people were very involved on campus and there were many things to do on campus.
Ireland itself had a few differences from the United States, though none that were huge. Gretchen noted that the Irish were very politically aware and were “deeply aware of what is going on in the U.S.”. The Irish seemed to follow U.S. politics adamantly. One large difference was the size of Ireland. Gretchen was able to decide to go to Dublin the night before she left. She got from Limerick to Dublin – nearly across the entire country - in just 6 hours. That’s not much longer than it takes to get from Crookston to the Twin Cities. Public transportation was also readily available in Ireland, including buses, making transportation easy. One slight difference Gretchen noticed was that the food seemed to have fewer preservatives and didn’t last as long.
Making friends wasn’t hard for Gretchen as all the study abroad studies at the university from the U.S. had orientation and got to know each other beforehand. When asked about studying abroad, she said that some may want to go with a friend, but that you are “forced to go out of your comfort zone otherwise”, which may be a good thing. Gretchen also said she learned a lot about herself from the trip and enjoyed the chance to try new things. 


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