Finding the right destination to study can be a long process but when Samantha Diaz Arcega, Student Ambassador from Mexico, found Cork she fell in love with it. She thinks she’s found the perfect place to live in Ireland – boasting diversity, architectural beauty, history and rich culture, Samantha tells us a little about the city she is proud to call her new home.
Living in Cork has been such a blast and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. In the beginning, I didn´t know much about the place, nor did I know anyone living here. But a friend I met years ago from Cork city, who now lives in Vancouver, gave me some advice; “pack your brolly and be ready cause it rains a lot”. This turned out to be very accurate so cheers Avril, you saved me on that one! I remember she also said; “you’ll love it, it’s such a beautiful city”. And she was right with that one too – Cork is beautiful.
What my friend completely forgot to say is how diverse this place is, full of people from all over the world. I can tell you, my close friends now are not Mexican like me, they’re from South Africa, India, Spain, the United States, Panama and of course, Ireland. This gives me the opportunity to expand my horizons and understand different points of view, new cultures, food and traditions. Being exposed to people from other nationalities also allows me to understand different accents and further improve my English.
Now, when it comes to food, there are plenty of options for you to try or if you miss home and want to try something to help ease the homesickness, you’ll find great options in town to make your heart and stomach happy.
When naming things do and sites to see in Cork, there’s a very long list so I will just mention the ones I’ve experienced myself and enjoyed the most. The Marina Market offers many options of food trucks – from sushi to cake and coffee, you’re certain to find something you like. Getting there is fairly easy, it’s about a 15 to 20-minute walk from the City Centre, you’ll see a huge garage beside the seaport – it’s hard to miss!
If you keep going a bit further (about an hour walk or 15 min drive from the Marina Market) you´ll get to the Blackrock observatory. Here you can find exhibitions on the role Cork played in the ancient trade industry.
A walk in the town centre is a must. You can see the colourful houses in the surrounding areas of the city, cross some of the several bridges, go for a pint in one of the many pubs or simply admire the architecture of some of the buildings like the City Hall or the beautiful Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral. If you are here for Christmas, you cannot miss the lights over the streets that are bound to make you feel all cosy and festive.
When talking about beautiful buildings, you cannot forget the Long Hall of University College Cork. This building dates from 1949 when the university started its operations, opening to the public with only 181 students. Visitors are allowed to admire the building and take photos. The architecture makes you feel like you are in a castle!
If you feel more adventurous and want to get out of the city, Blarney Castle is the perfect destination. A 20-minute drive will take you back in time while you stand in front of the old structure of a medieval castle built in 1446. If you don´t have a car, you can always catch a train from Kent Station.
From this Kent Station, you can also go to FOTA Wildlife park and be immersed in the animal world or jump to the past and visit Cobh. Cobh will leave you speechless with its colourful houses, uphill streets, St. Colman’s Cathedral and the buildings related to the Titanic (Cobh this was the last stop for the ship before its sinking).
As you can see, Cork has so much to offer and character that makes it the perfect place to live – just make sure you bring your waterproof jacket, an open mind and positive vibes to make the most of your experience.
Samantha is pursuing an MSc in Food Business and Innovation at University College Cork.