By UL International student ambassador Bianca Smith
So I love to dance. A lot. And I also happen to love Ireland. A lot. That’s what brought me back here in the first place. And when I decided to go back to school, UL was the only place I applied because I wanted to have my two favorite things together. So here’s me, an out-there-oh-my-god-you’re-so-funny (or so I’ve been told by my Irish friends) American, living in Dublin and praying to be sent off to Limerick, the city where the accents are more difficult to understand than a foreign language! But it was my one and only choice and now I’m here. I still can’t believe I’m here.
Where is here you ask? Okay so if Ireland was shaped like a hand, that’s how I describe it anyway… I am now living at the southwest edge of the palm on the pinky finger side. The place is called Limerick, well just outside of Limerick city, on the beautiful green-grassed, blue-skied campus of UL. Here’s a fun fact: UL’s campus actually crosses the county lines of Limerick and Clare. Andddd my building, the Irish World Academy, is on the Clare side. So riding home on my bike is practically a cross-county road trip everyday.
I’ve been here now for about a month and a half and I finally feel like I am getting to know my way around- from my house to campus and back that is!
I’ve still got a long way to go to understand the city and just how much culture is here but I believe what people say. Limerick is truly a cultural hub for the arts here in Ireland and the World Academy is an absolute treasure chest of resources and talent. I feel lucky.
This university already feels homey to me, even though it’s quite large. It puts a smile on my face to ride past the flagpoles and up the bike path that is covered by tall sloping trees and falling colored leaves. And then every morning before I start my day I cross the ‘living bridge’ where the sun is there to greet me before I walk through the doors. Even when it’s raining it’s nice. And it doesn’t rain as much as I thought.
It rains more.
My Irish friends always say to me though- you can’t beat Ireland with a bit of sun. And they are right! I’d like to share one of my favorite memories so far:
So it was a Tuesday a couple of weeks ago and Tuesday’s are the best day of the week for me in a way because the market is on in the stables square. During my lunch I decided to visit the market and I found some of the most delicious and healthy food there, plus a bit of chocolate of course (don’t judge me- when in Rome as they say). As I was walking back, the sun decided to come out and so I decided to have a seat outside of the Academy and bask in the sun while I ate my quinoa salad and dark chocolate fudge. Well it was pure bliss. I was surrounded by the freshest air, bluest sky, greenest grass and the sun. It really is true what they say, you really can’t beat Ireland with a bit of sun.
I’m looking forward to many more of these kind of memories over the next year that I am here. It’s like being in my own little slice of paradise here in my favorite place on Earth.