Friday, October 8, 2010
Hello, family & friends!
It's been a while since I've written, I know. I've been settling into life here in Dublin (which is fabulous, by the way) and getting used to the strange nature of my master's course. For those of you who don't know, I am in class from 3pm to 9pm every weekday, and each class only lasts five days. For example, in our first week we took two days of Global Supply Chain Management and three days of International Marketing; we have the rest of these classes coming up in the end of October.
(left to right: Diederik, me, and Christiane)
What can I say about my courses? Well, they call graduate students "readers," and we are said to be "reading" an MSc in International Management. The postgraduate-only study and computer lab area is called the Reading Room. Any guesses on what I spend most of my time doing? You guessed it! I have foot-tall stacks of printed articles and book chapters around my room, and all just for the first three courses we're "reading." Good thing I love to read, right? Thank you, Poppop!
(left to right: me, Simon, Mael, and Jarrod)
On another note, part of this acclimation process has included quite a lot of language differences. Irish accents are beautiful and interesting....sometimes. Other times I feel like my non-English speaking classmates (whose first language may be German, French, Chinese, etc): smile and nod, but don't understand a thing! There are also plenty of words and phrases that mean very different things here. For example, were I to ask for a "ride" home from a friend, I'd be propositioning that person in a much different way than I'd intend! They also call a sports jersey a kit, a cabinet a press, a closet a cupboard, a sidewalk a footpath, a comforter a duvet, a stovetop a hob, a vacuum a hoover, an elevator a lift, a nightclub a disco, and so on.... It's certainly been interesting to get used to Irish English, and I fear I still have much to go in that respect!
(left to right: Mael, Richard, me, Sjors, and Stephen)
The amazing thing is that I'm experiencing all these language and culture differences alongside incredible new friends who are going through the exact same things. There are people in my program from all over the world: China, Greece, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Northern Ireland, the US, and (of course!) the Republic of Ireland. There are only 21 people in the course, so we've all become pretty close. A lot of us study, go out, and take trips together. We've already built a support network of sorts, despite the differences in nationality, background, and age that separate us.
(Me and Christiane in front of the 1937 Postgraduate Reading Room)
Isn't communication a wondrous thing? Here we are, 21 very different people thrown into the same situation, and we've found a way to simultaneously experience our new lives in a very personal and a very communal way. We've opened up to each other and created a safe environment within our course, something we managed in a scant couple of days. We're already a team, and we've only just started our journeys together! It's inspiring what a group of people can accomplish with a little passion, friendliness, understanding, and shared interest.
(me and Christiane on a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher outside of Galway)
The pictures I've included in this post are of my new coursemates and I on some of our fun nights out, etc. I'll post more very soon, I promise :]]
Until then, I'll teach you some Irish! To all of you, I say "Slainte!" It's a traditional Irish toast that means "to your health." :]]]
Hugs from Dublin!