Giovani is a Government of Ireland scholar studying for his MA in Applied Linguistics at Mary Immaculate College. In this blog, he shares some of favourite things to see and do in Ireland – from embracing nature to its culture highlights…
Ok. I think the best way to start this off is by introducing myself and letting you guys know a bit of my experience as an international student in this magical land called Ireland. I use to say that I didn’t choose Ireland, but Ireland chose me. This is because I didn’t know a lot about the country when I decided to come here for the first time. To be honest, I hadn’t ever heard about it. Despite this fact, I took the risk and came to Ireland in 2012 for the first time to improve my English, get a proficiency certificate and explore Europe. And you know what? I couldn’t have made a better decision in my life. Ireland has changed my life forever. And definitely for better!
I did improve my English (modesty!), got my proficiency certificate and explored this old continent, but I also got to know a lot about Ireland, its history, myths, natural beauties, charming cities, towns and much more (check my Instagram account for more pics of Ireland and the world!). Right now, writing this post, I can safely say that my heart is half Brazilian and half Irish. Almost 100% green then!
“I couldn’t have made a better decision in my life. Ireland has changed my life forever. And definitely for better!”
Irish culture is just beautiful. People in here are so friendly and welcoming, and also extremely polite. It took me a bit of getting used to them saying “sorry” all the time. At the beginning I used to think “am I crazy or I missed something going on?”. But no, I was not missing anything happening, “sorry” in Irish English also means “excuse me” or even “please”. For example, “sorry, could you pass me the salt?”
I think the most pleasant thing I found when I got here was that Ireland is as chilled out as Minas Gerais, my state back home (a lot colder, though). And that the farming culture is also present in here. It is really common to see cows and horses (and sheep!) on the edges of the cities and towns (though the cows in here are more hairy and have a kinda cute ‘haircut’). No matter where you are in Ireland, the countryside is right there. If you like animals, get your camera ready for beautiful birds (especially the swans) and friendly dogs you’ll find on your daily basis.
“I feel just the luckiest person in the planet for having the opportunity to be back to the country my heart fell in love with and where education is taking seriously and has a high standard.”
There is so much to do and see here in Ireland. If you are into architecture, there is no shortage of castles (everywhere!), churches, cathedrals (Galway and Killarney are highlights), centuries-old walls and ruins, stone walled buildings, Georgian-style houses (Dublin and Limerick) and thatched roof cottages (the lovely village of Adare near Limerick is a must see). Not to mention tombs like Newgrange, which was built over 5000 years ago and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (I’ve never been there, but it on in my list, of course).
You don’t need to go far to enjoy all the nature and beautiful landscapes that Ireland offers. Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway (the largest cities) all have a beautiful river running in the urban centre. Going for a walk along the river banks, proms and parks are some of the many options to be in contact to the nature in here. Ireland has also one of the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises I have ever watched in my life. And if you’re looking for breathtaking unique landscapes, get on a bus, a train or hire a car and go exploring the country along the sea-side roads and fields. I can guarantee you an unforgettable experience. The Burren, in County Clare, and The Giant’s Causeway, in the Northern Ireland, are quite singular landscapes and worth a visit.
The list goes on and I could spend a whole day writing about Ireland, but I don’t want you guys to get tired of me, but, instead, give you a taste of what you’ll be able to experience by coming to study in Ireland. I’ve never thought I would be doing my MA here, but here I am again. I came back to Ireland to do an MA in Applied Linguistics at Mary Immaculate College after being granted a scholarship by the Government of Ireland Programme. I feel just the luckiest person in the planet for having the opportunity to be back to the country my heart fell in love with and where education is taking seriously and has a high standard. But this part of my experience, I’ll tell you later, on my next post.
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