One of my favorite parts of my abroad experience was the IFSA trips my advisor, Rachel planned and brought us on. During orientation, Rachel told us that we will be going on 3 mini trips before the semester ends, where we checked in with each other and enjoyed some impressive scenery or a nice meal. The first excursion we went on was to Blarney Castle, the famous castle in Southern Ireland with the Blarney Stone. I remember approaching the beautiful castle with lots of green grass and jaw-dropping scenery. We carefully read the history of the castle and learned that if you kiss the Blarney Stone, you’ll receive the “gift of the gab,” or great eloquence and skill. This was an unforgettable experience, and I returned to the castle another time before I departed back to the United States. The next mini excursion was the Cork City Jail (of Gaol), a former prison from the 19th century, just a 15-minute walk from my apartment. It was fascinating to read the history of this museum and see models of prisoners and guards inside the cells. It also had interactive activities we participated in so we could gain the whole experience! Our last mini get together was a dinner at the Oliver Plunkett in Cork City. This was one of my favorite restaurants, so I was thrilled I had the opportunity to go back there before I left for the U.S. My group and Rachel chatted and reflected on our study abroad experience and agreed that it would be something we would never forget. Throughout these excursions, it gave me a chance to visit certain places around County Cork that I may not have seen otherwise and gave me a moment to reflect and chat with Rachel and my IFSA group. I am so glad I was able to experience so much history, beautiful scenery, culture, and cuisine with IFSA.
Victoria Hanlon is a Health Policy and Management student at Providence College and studied abroad with IFSA at University College Cork in Fall 2021