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6 posts from July 2014


Meredith visits London on her ICE weekend

  • June 12, 2014

Wake Up Call

Our tour of the Little Museum of Dublin was post-poned today so we had to think of something fun to do (because we shouldn’t lock ourselves up with technology). We decided to go grocery shopping instead…that’s exciting right? Maybe more essential. Back home I seem to have a weekly schedule of doing all my errands but here I kind of just do it whenever. My time here in Dublin has definitely made me more “go-with-the-flow”. I’m interested to see if the lifestyle I’ve learned here will carry over back home. We have to be at our taxi tomorrow morning at 5:55 AM in order to make our flight to London. I’m so nervous to be split from the group. More like I’m nervous to meet new people…I mean I just got used to this group (and I really like them). But if there’s anything I’ve learned while being here is that sometimes venturing out of your comfort zone is a GOOD thing. It’s funny how that works, you get so nervous about something, it happens, and you wonder why you were ever nervous in the first place.

Tip of the Day: Don’t take a nap when you know you have to wake up early because you won’t be able to sleep at night.

I went to the grocery store and took a nap…sorry


  • June 13, 2014


My sense of time is completely thrown off. Waking up at 4:56 AM seems to warp your sense of time and location. Once we got to London we had to wait in the airport, and then wait some more, and…wait a little bit longer. Waiting was all that bad, we made a new friend! His name is Niklas and he’s from Austria. He was in London for the week. He was so worried about his English, but he actually spoke really well. He also told us we were really friendly and nice for talking to him. It was a nice change to hear because I just feel like everyone else in the city just kind of glares at us…like “oh, there’s the Americans”. It made me feel better that not everyone thinks we’re loud and obnoxious, and now I have a new friend! The more people that arrived the more anxious I got about the weekend. Every group seems to have the select few extroverts that have no boundaries. A girl came up to me and asked what my favorite vegetable is (hi, nice to meet you too) and I think I forgot every vegetable. One thing they didn’t tell me about ICE weekend is that I needed to bring shoes you don’t mind spending hours in. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was beautiful, but 30 minutes in I looked around the audience and almost everyone in the group had left (their feet may not hurt, but I’ve gained more experience). It’s also funny how much closer our group has bonded since we got here. We must not all like big groups because even when we’re separated we tend to float back to each other. It’s like a sense of home.

Tip of the Day: Bring your walking shoes to London, seriously.



  • June 14, 2014

These Boots Were NOT Made For Walking

An early start was in order for the day. We met our tour guide, Nathan, in Russel Square. Oddly enough…he wasn’t actually from London (is that the intercultural part of ICE weekend?). Like Dublin, London is a walking town and my feet were not ready for that, and people in London actually walk faster than those in Dublin. I think the most intercultural part of this weekend was eating Indian food at Tayaabs. That was the first time I’d ever had that type of food. Back home I would never think to even try Indian food (if it’s not chicken fried steak why bother?). I was really worried about the food, but it turned out to be amazing! All the courses were great! I can’t wait to go back to Houston and try and find a good Indian food place to take mom. Well, since we’re in London we’re allowed to be tourists so naturally I went to Platform 9 3/4 and got my picture taken…that’s DEFINITELY intercultural (and an experience). I’m not sure what we’re supposed to learn from each other, but I do find myself appreciating Dublin even more after talking to a few students.

Tip of the Day: Don’t try and see everything in London in one day…also, visit Platform 9 3/4 at night, there’s less people.


  • June 15, 2014


Walking, walking, and more walking in London today…what’s new? I feel so touristy in London, going to Buckingham, Kensington, and St. James’s Garden. I’ve realized in Dublin I don’t feel like a tourist anymore, I feel like I belong in the city (even when I’m doing touristy things). It was really great to see London although I didn’t exactly get to experience the city. I think this trip made me love Dublin even more. As we waited to get on our plane everyone was saying they wanted to be home. Not HOME home, Dublin home and I think that’s an incredible feeling. I finally feel at home in a place that’s far from my actual home. This weekend may not have brought me closer to other people from other groups and I may not fully understand London, but I do have a greater respect for Dublin and basically everything in and about the city.

Tip of the Day: Waiting in Luton airport (or any airport)? Bring a book to read or something to do, the wait can be dull.


More from Dublin life through Meredith's eyes

  • June 8, 2014

Boys In Blue

I took a lot of medicine this morning to ward off whatever sickness I’ve come down with. It’s important to not let a head cold get in the way of my experiences here. Today was our “cultural” experience of a Gaelic football game. The Dublin crowd was so rowdy it reminded me so much of Kyle Field on game days! If you ever want to see an Irish man in his natural state I suggest you stand on the Hill at Croke Park. The game was pretty interesting and I caught on pretty fast (well, at least I think I understood the game). I feel like even though sports are different back home the concept is still the same. Sports, like music, seem to be a universal concept. Everyone comes together and forget the troubles of the week, or that fight you had 2 days ago, and everyone just cheers for the home team and enjoys the atmosphere. It was a great experience and I think I’ll consider it cultural. I don’t know if I would want to be around when Dublin loses an important match, but I’d definitely go again!

Tip of the Day: ALWAYS expect rain in Dublin (When you don’t pack your rain jacket is the day it will rain, trust me)


  • June 9, 2014

study ABROAD

I realize I haven’t been talking much about class lately. That’s partially because I like to focus on the travel aspects of this experience. It’s funny how easy it is to forget the “study” in “study abroad”. Most of the time you just think of ABROAD…but there’s definitely some work behind that abroad experience. Besides writing my essay I kind of sat back and thought about the trip so far. Time is going by so fast with only 2 weeks left, but I’m starting to really miss home. I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t really got to talk to my family, but it’s a great thing that I’ve been busy. I know that once my time in Dublin is over I’ll regret ever spending time wishing I was back home.

Tip of the Day: Just do your essay. Don’t put it off.

I worked on my essay all day…and no one wants a picture of that


  • June 10, 2014

Normal Day

As I sat down and started to think about what I did today I realized my days are getting more and more normal in respect to what I would do at home. Does that mean I’m more of a local now? I hope so! I’ve found simple pleasures of just going out, being around town, and just absorbing everything that’s going on. We have a big weekend coming up so right now I’m just kind of laying low and working on that “study” part that I mentioned earlier. Sometimes I think that class is so long, but then I realized that I’m getting full credit for this class in a short amount of time. Plus I really feel like I’m learning a lot about Ireland’s past, present, and future. The amount of information I didn’t know and still have yet to learn is incredible. There’s so much complexity to this country and I can’t help but find it all interesting.

Tip of the Day: Ask questions. Even if you think they’re silly, ask them! Take the opportunity to learn new things!

I just went shopping today…I bought a new purse.


  • June 11, 2014

Wild Adventures

After class we went to the Dublin Zoo. It was pretty WILD…mainly because we had to take 2 buses to get there. It wasn’t very crowded because most of the school groups were leaving for the day; this was a nice change from the city centre crowds I’ve grown accustomed to. I couldn’t help but compare the zoo here to the zoos I’ve been to back home. What I’ve concluded is that the US has the money or access to more animals. Apparently if you go to Dublin Zoo at 11:30 AM on weekdays you can catch all the animals being fed (or so I’ve been told). Dublin has started to remind me more and more of home which makes me miss Houston less. There’s finally a sense of belonging here. In fact, today at the bus stop a LOCAL asked US which bus she should take to get to Clery’s (the 13 will definitely get you pretty close). Even though she did call us “yanks” (which is offensive as an American AND a Texan) we still thought it was cool that we looked like we knew what we were doing! It’s crazy how fast my time is dwindling here. I need to soak up every single second! I’m sure the next few days will be full of fun because London is right around the corner…and I seriously cannot wait!

Tip of the Day: ALWAYS have your student ID because a lot of places in Dublin offer student discounts.


Meredith keeps us in the loop with her Dublin adventure

  • June 3, 2014

Moving Day

My new residency is House 10 here at DCU. I was SO excited about moving today…the hotel just wasn’t a fun experience (especially not for 8 days). After unpacking everything I finally feel like I’m living in Dublin! Even though I got to unpack I have to repack for our field trip to the West tomorrow. I was so excited when my room key said I was on the 2nd floor, but then I remembered that ground floor is actually the first floor…so 2nd is actually the 3rd floor (even more like my time in Aston Hall, ha, funny how that works out). We finally found the Omni Center to buy “real” food. I say “real” food because I’m a college student, not a chef. So our masterpiece dinner was spaghetti. It was so nice to have a family style dinner; sitting down at the table together made me feel like I was with my family…almost like a placebo pill to cure a slight case of homesickness. I think it’s crazy how the right people can make you feel like you’re at home!

Tip of the Day: Bring reusable grocery bags to Ireland because 1) it’s easier to carry and  2)they charge you for plastic bags.

Today was busy and I forgot to take pictures


  • June 4, 2014

How Are Things On The West Coast?

Today I woke up at 4:30 AM and could NOT go back to sleep. Maybe I was just took excited to be in my apartment (or maybe it’s because I ate that chocolate before bed). No matter my amount of sleep we boarded the bus at 9 AM and headed West! Our first stop was at Strokestown House. I really didn’t know anything about the famine in Ireland and I especially didn’t know how the rich lived during that time. The house was incredible and I can’t believe it’s in such good condition. I found myself wondering about everything that had happened in the rooms, the conversations people had, and the fun stuff that went on. Our second stop was at Hennigan’s Heritage where we met Tom, a 6th generation family member that lived in a 1 room house. That house made my dorm room look like a mansion. From what I can see the West is MUCH different than Dublin. Life seems to be much quieter, slower, and more local (everyone seems to know everyone kind of thing).

Tip of the Day: Make sure you learn about the famine in Ireland; it’s not advertised but it’s extremely important to Irish history


  • June 5, 2014

More West Coast

Croagh Patrick can be seen from the entire drive in Westport, but being up close was incredible. We were told that people climb the mountain in their bare feet. I think I made it a meter before I had to turn around and put my shoes. Basically, I don’t think I could have made that my religious experience especially when every other step I  took came with a muttered “Oh My God”. Our trip to Achil Island. This was another experience in Ireland that made me fall in love with Ireland even more. It was much more quiet and peaceful than Dublin. The views were what you picture when you think of Ireland: GREEN (and sheep) EVERYWHERE! It was absolutely beautiful. I wondered how I came to Ireland last summer and never made it to the West coast. The sea and the sense of isolation had somewhat of a calming aspect. It was the perfect opportunity of realization of what I was doing with my life at this moment in time.

Tip of the Day: Step away from the city every now and then. Ireland has so many hidden gems.


  • June 6, 2014


Our trip out of Westport was a little delayed when we learned that someone had thrown a rock through our window. It was a realization that bad things happen even in seemingly perfect places. I was interested in the way the situation went. Noel and Ray never quite seemed to be stressed about it. I could only picture my mom freaking out on the other end when I told her. I’ve learned to really enjoy the laid back lifestyle of the people in Ireland; most people seem to go with the flow, what happens, happens. Everyone back home is so GO-GO-GO, so Ireland is a nice change (I almost hope that quality rubs off on me here). On the bus ride home we learned so much about Ireland’s history…we passed a significant battlefield that wasn’t even marked. There seems to be a lot of history that people simply don’t want to remember here.

Tip of the Day: Time seems to go by quicker here. Enjoy every second of it.

I had a picture of the bus window, but I accidentally deleted it


  • June 7, 2014

Local Coastal

Sleeping in is always good, especially when you don’t get to do it often. A quick trip on the DART put me in Howth today. The coast was so beautiful and a the weather was equally beautiful. One thing I did notice about Howth is that there was absolutely NO signage for anything…and if there was it wasn’t exactly accurate. I complained and complained but then I learned that it’s a local area and they don’t exactly want tourists flocking to the area. Then of course I understood why I saw so many families playing in the park. Just like I learned earlier in the trip, the locals really do make everything better. I guess it was just a sense of community that I enjoy…it gave the city more of a “home-y” feel. Unfortunately I had a huge headache and sore throat today. There are few things worse than being sick and being away from mom who can magically make sickness go away in a matter of hours. I’ll look at this as a challenge to being an adult (after I Skype my mom and ask her what’s the best medicine to take).

Tip of the Day: The best fish and chips are in Howth…so fresh it was probably swimming earlier that morning.


Keeping up with Meredith on her second week in Dublin

  • May 30, 2014

Typical Tourist

The number one question upon arriving home from Dublin is: “Did you go to Guinness?” Okay, maybe it’s not…but it’s definitely a top question. So, yes, today I went to Guinness (am I certified Irish yet?). I also think when describing the Irish, Guinness is used.Now I’m not sure if every Irish person actually likes Guinness or if they were just born learning they should like it. It’s kind of like A&M for me, I grew up knowing that anything and everything A&M was deemed EXCELLENT…but I really shouldn’t compare beer to education (sorry mom). We met a man at the bus stop and he encompassed everything you picture an Irish man to be; he also gave us some pretty solid advice about the city. I’ve also noticed that anything food related is EXPENSIVE in Dublin. I had read that it was more expensive to eat out in Dublin, but it didn’t sink in until I had to start buying meals daily. But food is essential, and what better place to get Irish stew than in Ireland? I’ve learned the bus system (for the most part) but I can’t seem to learn how to properly walk on the bus when trying to leave…see tip of the day.

Tip of the Day: ALWAYS hold onto the railings on the bus (sorry to everyone I smacked with my back pack).


  • May 31, 2014

Dublin Skylines

I knew I loved Dublin from the moment I got to town LAST YEAR (that’s why I came back). Today solidified my feelings for the city entirely. I took the skyline tour at Croke Park and the view was breath taking, especially since the weather was beautiful. Sometimes the busy city life with thousands of people is overwhelming but the view today was quiet and I could see every bit of the city. For an hour it was as if the busy life beneath the stadium didn’t exist. It was also a good time to sit back and reflect on the time I’ve spent in Dublin so far. Of course everything about this experience involves learning so we did learn a good bit from our tour guide (mainly the best places to eat in City Centre). Dublin is also known for some good live music…including the Oasis tribute band, and even though they didn’t play Wonderwall I think the locals are what made it a fun night. That seems to be the trick to fun activities in Dublin; everything is bland until you get the locals involved.

Tip of the Day: Look at the city from different perspectives–whether it be from heights or a local perspective.


  • June 1, 2014

Music and Museums

Today was another good day in Dublin (of course, what’s new)! I ended up at the archaeology museum and wandered through the exhibits. I really appreciate Dublin’s museum system 1) Because it’s free and 2) There’s SO much history in Ireland. I’ll be sorely disappointed next time I go to the museums in Houston. All of our walking led us to a new restaurant called KC Peaches. That’s one thing I really like about Dublin: just keep walking and eventually you’ll find something good. Another thing I like about Dublin is how much live music there is…mainly the street performers. I stood and listened to a band called Compass for 15 minutes. Everyone in the crowd just seemed to be having a good time listening to music. I think music is something that is universal, it’s just an all around good feeling listening to music and even better listening to it in Dublin singing songs with the locals. I also seemed to gain a sense of bravery here because I went up to the bass player and asked for a picture. Hey, I bought your CD the least you could do is take a picture with me.

Tip of the Day: Step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s a small step…maybe listen to music you usually wouldn’t


  • June 2, 2014

Low Key Laundry

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not okay to sleep in until 11:30 sometimes (I can’t even remember the last time I slept that late). There was no class today because it’s a Bank Holiday here in Ireland. I’m not 100% sure what that means but from what I understand they just wanted a day off, which is okay with me. I wish we got these Bank Holidays back home…I still complain about not getting Columbus Day off. There’s no such thing as a lazy day in Dublin so today we walked nearly 4 miles in total to do laundry. I want to say there’s a lesson out of this, but there’s really not. Although I do appreciate Aston Hall now…thanks for not making me pay to do laundry, and thanks for being right down the hall. We also made the decision to get even more involved in the local “culture” and go to a Gaelic football game next weekend. That’s cultural right? Tomorrow is moving day so GOODBYE REGENCY, hello new chapter of my Dublin life!

Tip of the Day: Try sparkling pink lemonade, it’s delicious (sorry this isn’t inspirational, but really try the lemonade)

I also don’t have a picture because all I did was laundry;)



First thoughts of Dublin by Meredith

  • May 27, 2014

Get Your Bearings!

Dublin is a walking city, which is TOTALLY different than Houston. There’s NO way I’d ever walk around Houston (nor would I take the public transportation, but that’s a different story). Today, we finally found our new “home” at DCU. The campus is so small, and the students are still in session…it makes me appreciate A&M even more! A walking tour of the city was on our to-do list for the day. Some things I learned from the tour is that signage is nearly non-existent and the Irish walk extremely fast…or maybe I just walk really slow. A few of us went to Trinity to see the Book of Kells and the Library. I always forget how much more history Ireland encompasses. There’s so much deeper and richer history here, you just have to look for it. Class begins tomorrow so I have mixed feelings; on one hand there’s class tomorrow (and it’s summer) but on the other hand I’m in Ireland (which still hasn’t sunk in).

Tip of the Day: When there is sun in Ireland GO OUTSIDE and soak it up…maybe even at St. Stephen’s Green



  • May 28, 2014

First Day of School

Usually the first day of class is “syllabus day” but not here. We went right in to learning…back home I would hate THOSE types of professors but here it was GREAT. I learned that Irish kids in school have to have healthy meals and can’t actually play basketball at school because if they get hurt the parents make it a legal matter (see mom, buying Lunchables wasn’t so bad growing up now was it). I’ve always been a planner so of course I felt the need to plan our week out. Our group has already divided which is natural and probably for the best. I don’t feel a need to fit in with EVERYONE, because I know it’s not possible to mesh with the entire group…and that’s OKAY. We’ve been instructed not to lock ourselves away and stay on our phones so we’ve got a lot of things on our “Dublin-To-Do” list including a GAA game, Guinness, and the Zoo…we’re technically not tourists since we’re living here, but we’re allowed to do touristy things (basically going to Guinness is touristy, but drinking a Guinness is not). Also, I talked to my mom for the first time since I’ve been here…technology is simply amazing these days! Some how talking to mom always makes me feel at ease, even if she’s thousands of miles away.

Tip of the Day: Feeling homesick? Skype with mom makes everything better.


  • May 29, 2014

Vikings and Normans

It’s a typical day for Dublin weather: cold and rainy. It’s best that I not look at the Houston forecast of above 90 degrees. Of all the things I miss about home, weather is definitely top 5 (right behind my family, my dog, and sweet tea). Today we walked the west side of Dublin where I learned about the Vikings and Normans…and also that the west side hosts a little bit “different” people. But hey, every city has those areas so even more like home. Do you ever have those days where you just don’t feel like dealing with people? Well that’s kind of how I felt today. Sometimes I just want to learn and keep to myself, but I have to keep telling myself that’s OKAY. Dublin’s got so much going on it’s natural (and easy) to just sit back and admire everything.

Tip of the Day: You won’t always feel 100%, but make sure you don’t completely isolate yourself.


First Day in Ireland by Meredith


May 25-26, 2014

WELCOME to Ireland!! (or FAILTE as it’s said here)


After flying for over 14 hours it’s almost surreal to arrive in Dublin. What a better welcome than a rain shower? But of course, it’s IRELAND, what can you expect? Despite being overcome with a bad case of jet lag a few members of our group decided to brave the “storm” and head to Dublin’s City Centre. You can tell we were all extremely tired because we decided to eat at the Hard Rock…not sure if it should be noted as a bad decision or a learning experience. Nonetheless are stomach’s were full and we learned a bus route! Not too shabby for newbies to Dublin if you ask me! I felt much more at ease meeting all the people I’ve been anxiously waiting to meet and I can’t wait to see how this experience will go!