Before studying abroad, I did my research to see what I needed to know before I came to Ireland. My pinterest board exploded with travel guides and bloggers who shared their experiences of traveling. However, as much research as I did, I was unprepared for this 4 month experience. Here are 4 things I wish I’d known before I arrived in Galway:
#1- I wish I had known more about the weather. Yes, I knew that it was going to rain, but I didn’t know that it rains sideways here! With the harsh wind due to being so close to the coast, the rain can be devious. On top of that, umbrellas are not your best friend. Invest in a good, heavy rain jacket and a pair of ducky boots. Trust me, this is a must-have. However, I learned that you need to bear the rain in order to have a great time. One of my favorite memories is from a crazy, rainy day where my friends and I ventured out for pizza during a rain storm. We ended up at the pizzeria completely soaked. But at the end of the day, we had a great time. Don’t let the rain scare you, just be prepared for it when you come.
#2- I wish I knew that student living had a set limit on electricity. Not realizing it, my housemates and I left our heaters on, only to run out of electricity after the first month! Big mistake on our part. Little things I’ve learned after that consist of turning off the lights when not occupying a room, turn the outlet switches off when not using them, and set the water tank heater to heat the water over night. Not only is that better for the environment, but it will also be better for your bank account.
#3- I didn’t realize how much the Irish language was used here. English is the primary language spoken, but the Irish language is making a come-back. I did not know any sort of Irish when I came and, to be frank, that didn’t matter. But it became difficult to pronounce the names of cafes and pubs or roads when I was out. If you have the opportunity to learn a few key phrases before you come, I highly recommend doing so.
#4- There’s so much history here, I wish I had studied more of it before arriving. By doing so, classes and traveling would be much easier. If you decide to study while here, I encourage you to take a history class and an arts class just to witness the culture changes here. In the classes, students are expected to know of famous Irish people and events. Yet for those like me, it could get a little confusing. So make sure you do your research and learn about the key events and people in Irish history.
Everybody’s experience is different when traveling abroad. Do the research you can, but also don’t be afraid to adapt and learn as you go.
The world awaits…discover it.