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“Irish Experience” – Nick Coffran, UCC US Student Ambassador

The concept of studying abroad did not always appeal to me.

I used to be the kid that thought anything you could ever want to see was here in the US.  We have beaches, mountains, parks like Yellow Stone, and amazing natural wonders like the Grand Canyon (not to mention cities like New York and Chicago).  Needless to say, I had never been out of the country before.  However, I was convinced by friends to take a leap of faith and study in Ireland. coffran-cliffs

I can honestly say that it was the best experience I have ever had thus far in my life.  Studying in Cork was incredible.  Getting off the plane in Shannon, I immediately noticed how kind everyone was.  It was nothing like the hustle and bustle of New York and Boston which I am accustomed to.  Upon our arrival to Cork, I was shocked to find what Ireland considered to be their second largest city to have nothing taller than a five story building.  However, the quaint atmosphere of Cork was very unique…coffran-blarney

Oliver Plunket Street was the heart of the city, holding all of the best pubs and miscellaneous night life.  However, my favorite part of the city had to be the English Market.  I had never been to a market like this before.  All of the different food venders selling fresh meats, fish, fruits, and veggies was truly a unique atmosphere which I did not find anywhere else in my travels.  We lived about a fifteen minute walk outside of the city center on Bandon Road which was much closer to UCC.  Only about a five minute walk from our apartment, UCC was a beautiful campus.  The quad-which seems to be the staple of the university-was incredible.  The lushes green grass surrounded by the gothic architecture cannot be found here in the US. coffran-ucc

Back on Bandon Road, we found a pub called Cissie Youngs which became our hangout spot.  We befriended the bartenders who were very welcoming to American outsiders.  The Irish are definitely some of the friendliest people in the world!  This pub had the stereotypical dark wood and low lighting with gentlemen all over the pub drinking their pints of Guinness.  Being from Quinnipiac, we got this pub to stream our hockey team for the semi-final game.  The pub stayed open extra late for us as sixty kids from Quinnipiac gathered in a small pub to watch their team. coffran-friendscoffran-brazen

Another staple from Cork would have to be St. Finbarr’s Cathedral, which was in between our apartment and the city center.  This massive cathedral overlooked the city, and was nothing short of breathtaking.  Its gothic nature is very intimidating but beautiful at the same time.  We often found ourselves staring at the cathedral randomly while walking to the city, just to admire its beauty.

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Now for a little bit about myself.  I am in my third year at Quinnipiac in the 3+1 program.  I am an accounting major, which posed some difficulty going abroad but it can be done!  I am from Marshfield, MA (a beach town south of Boston).  I traveled to a total of six countries while abroad including Ireland (France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the Czech Republic).  Overall, I had an incredible experience and recommend that everyone study abroad if given the opportunity!

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