Written by Alli Moore '20, a sport management major minoring in photography
A last minute decision, and trusting that everything happens for a reason. That’s what got me to Ireland. Not luck, not the Guinness, nor rainbows, but some hope and a ticket to Europe. From freshman year, the image I had in mind for a semester abroad consisted of long weekends spent camping and hiking in New Zealand. Instead, a week before applications were due, I decided to switch hemispheres and spend the second half of my junior year in Europe with two of my best friends and roommates in Ireland. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Europe, and to experience all that the Cork has to offer!
Old Head of Kinsale
On the hunt for some Irish craic, a handful of us took the bus to Kinsale to explore the Old Head of Kinsale at the start of the semester. In proper Irish fashion the weather was entirely unpredictable. Throughout the afternoon it was bright, sunny, warm, windy, freezing and rainy. Regardless of the weather, we were happy to finish off the day at a local pub with a few pints and some soda bread. This day trip was a great foreshadowing for the rest of our semester in Cork, full of beautiful scenery, unpredictable challenges, and experiencing true Irish culture.
One of our action-packed weekends brought us to Paris with friends who were studying abroad in Florence. We filled our weekend with museums, pastries, electric scooter rides, and sunsets beneath the Eiffel Tower. Meeting up with Endicott College friends in new cities quickly became a regular habit for us. The history and the food in Paris did not disappoint! One thing that made this trip unique was the history that was unfolding before us as we were there. Studying abroad in Europe means adjusting to European media, including advertisements and news. The social and political movements in Paris, France have shaped world history for years, and I feel lucky to say that I got to experience this generation’s turn first hand.
A visit to Spain quickly became my favorite weekend of the semester. I traveled to Madrid to meet a friend from home and our friend from Spain and her family. They were generous enough to show us around the beautiful countryside of western Spain and brought us to Salamanca. We spent the weekend eating and drinking only the best local favorites, and I had the pleasure of testing my high-school Spanish skills with her parents who spoke very little English. Driving through the beautiful country dotted with lakes, mountains, castles and farms, I practiced as much of the language as I could and tried as many new dishes as I could find!
Spring break began in Italy for myself and a handful of others studying in Cork. We spent the weekend on the Amalfi Coast and exploring the island of Capri. While the limoncello and the Italian dishes were hard to resist, we tried our hand at authentic Italian cooking one night. We waited for the rain to pass and made our own Italian dinner after picking up fresh pasta, tomatoes and mozzarella from the local market. The coast line and winding mountain roads took my breath away, and we were sad to say goodbye when it came time to catch our trains to Florence.
Making our way north through Tuscany, we met up with our friends in Florence and explored as much of the beautiful city as we could in just a couple of nights! After exploring as many museums as we could, they brought us to their favorite spots in town for pizza, coffee, music and most importantly, gelato.
Ready for some true adventure, we left the beaches and cities behind to explore the Italian Dolomites in Cortina. With the intention of taking an exciting and beautiful hike to a lake, we ended up a little over our heads into snow and long, steep trails. The views from the top were spectacular, but the hike down was a bit of a slippery slope, literally.
The second half of Spring Break was chalk-full of adventure in Interlaken. There is so much to do in this beautiful area and I can’t wait to go back. We were lucky enough to spend our days skiing, paragliding, and canyon swinging. Everyone had the opportunity to do some independent exploring as well, which made for even more exciting week before heading back to our house in Cork.
The River Lee divides Cork into a few distinct areas, but around every corner you will find a coffee shop and a pub. If you look closely, the statue in the center of town is crowned with a traffic cone… and well, that’s the craic, lads! A semester in Cork can best be summed up with the expression, learning to dance in the rain. Not only will you learn to live with a lot of new friends, cook for yourself (and don’t forget about Celsius, but everyone burns something to a crisp at some point in their life, right?), navigate public transportation everyday, and experience true Ireland, you’ll also learn to never forget your raincoat. The study abroad program in Cork jumped started our Ireland experience, bringing us first to Cobh and then to Kilkenny. At the end of the semester they brought us on a surprise boat tour of the historic Cork Harbour. Making the decision to explore Europe for a semester brought me even closer to two of my best friends, and introduced me to new life-long friends as well. Europe has endless opportunities for students to travel and explore all of their passions in throughout countless cultures. Studying in Cork and sharing a home with a group of Endicott students made for a unique and memorable study abroad experience that I will always be grateful for.
Interested in learning more about studying abroad through Endicott’s campuses abroad, direct partner programs, or affiliate programs? Visit endicott.edu.