By Olívia Viana
(Olívia is from Brasil and spent four months in the UCC Language Centre before transferring to UCC academic classes in January 2014)
Almost five months have gone by since I arrived in Cork and my classes at the UCC Language Centre started. Although the term “saudade” – a Portuguese word that means something similar to the feeling of “missing somebody or something” or “wistful” comes to mind, the feeling of happiness when I am in this city and discovering different places and people is increasing.
The experience in the Language Centre last semester was amazing. I met special people and really nice and helpful teachers. I think the tips that we were given in class like suggestions about where we could find interesting things in English were really important. We spent some afternoons reading articles, books, and listening to “Ted Talks” for class, these were essential to improving my English. Classes on the Thursdays afternoons were something else that I appreciated a lot – we could learn a bit about Irish history, dancing and songs, and also interact with other international students.
When it comes to joining clubs and societies, last semester I preferred not to join many of them, but I joined the Trampoline Club and it was a really good experience. Besides learning a different sport I met nice people there. And I think this kind of activity is very helpful in developing language too.
Leisure time in Cork is something that I am still learning how to enjoy and as the time goes I find more and more things to do here. In the beginning we (some Brazilian friends and I) tried to know different pubs in Cork and this is still something that I like to do, mainly traditional pubs. Another activity that I thought would be difficult because of the rainy weather and now I know that it is really possible and I love to do, is spending my time in parks – cycling, taking pictures or just walking and appreciating the views. For me, the light in Cork is lovely – the colourful houses, the river and green areas in sunlight are wonderful.
If I think about these first five months they were not the easiest in my life, we had to get used to doing many things that we were not used to before coming to Ireland. But, on the other hand, they were months full of new experiences, new people and places and for me this is incredible and rewarding.