Friday, November 20, 2015

Irish Life

I have now spent two successful weeks at Gaelscoil Na Cruaiche.  I have enjoyed every minute that I have spent at this school and now feel as if I am family.  The school itself is small with only 200 students, and one teacher per grade.  The class sizes range from 25-30 students who have all been together since they were in junior infants (our kindergarten).  During our walk through the Principal told us that parents start to put their child on a waiting list for this school at 4 months of age. 

Every Monday and Friday, the students come into the hall (our gym) in order to have announcements and awards.  There are many awards given on Monday such as "Best Irish Speaker,” "Kindness Award,” and Birthday Awards.  A student from each rang (class) is given these awards each week.  It works itself out to where most of the students get awards during the school year.  After this time is over the students will return to class where they will study English, Irish, Math, Reading, Choir, Violin, and even French.  This school is very focused on the arts and incorporates them into the daily schedule. 

Another difference between this school and schools in America is that the students here have two breaks during the day.  One of them in the morning for 20 minutes where they eat a snack brought from home, and can go out to play if the weather is permitting.  Then later on during the day the students have another break that lasts for 45- 1 hour for lunch and outside play.  The students again eat a lunch from home because there is no cafeteria inside the school to provide them with a lunch.  Having the two breaks allows the students to rest their brains and refuel for the rest of the day.

I began teaching on Tuesday about the Regions in America.  From here I learned that most of the students base their knowledge off of what their parents have told them, what they have seen in movies, and what they know from traveling over there.  My students were interested in learning about tornados and hurricanes.  They also wanted to know a lot about major cities in the US which unfortunately I had never been to, such as New York, and San Francisco. Next week I will continue to teach about American School and Kentucky.  The students are excited to see the difference between their school and schools in the United States.  I believe that they will be shocked to find the difference.

I am having a great time here and plan to travel to Galway this weekend to do some Christmas Shopping.  I am excited about Christmas Shopping because I am ready for the holiday season.  I believe that this will make me miss home a little less especially during the next week, because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Things You Need to Know Before Coming to Ireland!

When deciding to Study Abroad I thought Ireland would be the best fit for the environment that I wanted. I was not wrong because I love every minute that I have spent in Ireland. The people are so helpful, super friendly, and willing to help you out whenever you need. There were some things that I did not prepare myself for before coming to Ireland. Like rain, rain and oh yeah rain! Below is my list of items that you need to prepare yourself for before coming to Ireland.

1. Bring your best rain gear. When they tell you that is rains all the time, please believe them. Every day that I have been here it has rained at least once. Umbrellas can not withstand this wind that accompanies the rain. Many people around town carry umbrellas, but they never have them up. Also don't just believe that because your rain jacket keeps you dry in the good ole' USA it will keep you dry here. This is not true, and I can prove it because my rain jacket soaked through all my clothes while walking home.

2. If you let the rain control what you do, you will never get out of the house. This was one of the things that the Inspire Learning people told us before we came. This saying is so true. If we let the rain control our plans, we would never have gotten out of the house today, or even explored our new city! We would have never found a pizza delivery place, that we can get our tax back, or been able to find the post office to mail letters back home! So even if the weather is bad still get out because you are here to make memories.

3. You will soon become used to the sounds of rain. You would think that you would not grow used to the fact that is rains every day, but you do. There will come a time that you will not even care that it is raining. I can not say that it happens quickly, but it does happen.

4. Waterproof everything before you leave home. I mean everything from backpacks to shoes. When it rains every day, there is not enough time for you clothes to dry. So you will end up every day wearing wet clothing.

I believe that if you follow these simple rules then you will be able to stay dry in the wet country. I love Ireland so much, and I am learning to love their rain even more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Oh Sheep!


We have FINALLY made the long awaited journey. It felt like it took forever to get here but now that we are here it doesn't feel any different from home. 

Our flights were great! They went by quick and were utterly painless. Everyone at the airport was willing to help us Kentucky folk find their way around. Chicago airport blew our minds. Once we got off the plane the first quote that came to mind was "We are not in Kansas anymore". This quote was said many times throughout the trip because it was unreal how different things where in different places. 

On the way to Westport we traveled by train. This was a wonderful experience. As we traveled across the country we noticed how much it looked like home. Rolling hills, green grass, a lots of farms. 

One item that we noticed the most were the amount of sheep this country has. Every few minutes we would pass by another sheep farm. As we watched the sheep we noticed that some had different fur colors, some had different head colors, and some where spray painted different colors. We had many questions about the sheep as we traveled on to Westport. 

Once we arrived in Westport we were greeted by our host family. A cute little family that met us at the door and welcomed us in. When we arrived they had sweets and some groceries waiting for is which was nice seeing as we had lived on snacks, airplane food, and coffee. From here we got to tour the town which is small and sweet. Everyone seems so friendly and willing to help out (it reminded me a lot of Bowling Green). From here we went and got some other groceries and then got settled in. 

We are settling in and finding our way around but I think we are really going to like it here! Tomorrow we start our first placement. I can't wait to meet the students and see the difference in school systems. 

Love always,