Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Adventures Abroad! Semester at University College, Dublin

Hello, all!

I'm now about halfway through my semester at University College, Dublin--what an amazing experience! I am taking classes within UCD's College of Agriculture and Food Science, and am also taking time to travel around Ireland and Europe. Here are a few highlights from these past two and a half months!

Front of UCD Belfield campus

Contrary to popular belief, taking classes towards your major while abroad can be really interesting! I'm taking Root and Alternative Crop Production, Microbiology, and Plant Biotechnology and Entrepreneurship. Personally, I was very interested in exploring agriculture systems beyond the U.S., so I've learned about potato, wheat, barley, and canola production, which are all very important to Irish agriculture. My Plant Biotechnology and Entrepreneurship class is awesome (it's like someone designed it just to fit my interests!). We have a group project which involves choosing a science-based business idea and developing a business plan, which includes market research, financial projections, and product information. My group is developing a strategy-based board game based on the concepts of evolution and natural selection--because science is fun! It's called "Fit"(like survival of the fittest!) It's great fun, and a great way to meet some Irish students. Classes work differently here--grades are based heavily on essays and final exams. It can be good and bad, and it certainly requires a high level of discipline!

Dublin is a great city! There's plenty to see and do, but it's not overwhelming. The Guinness Storehouse is a great tour--I have a new found appreciation for Guinness after being in Dublin! (Plus, they say it tastes better the closer you are to the source...) St. Patrick's Day in the city was quite the experience... Thousands of people (many of them tourists) crowd every street of the city center on this Irish national holiday to see the parade and partake in the festivities. 

My first trip to the Guinness Storehouse,
where I learned all about the "black stuff"
Temple bar district on St. Patrick's Day!
(VERY crowded, but very festive :) )

I've also had the opportunity to travel to other countries in Europe and around Ireland with friends and family! It's quite easy and affordable, so why not take advantage of it! I went with a few friends to Liverpool in the U.K. for some Beatles appreciation--we went on a Magical Mystery Tour bus tour and went to several museum exhibits dedicated to the Fab Four and the British Invasion movement. I also took a trip this past weekend to Belgium and the Netherlands where we were able to see the Keukenhof Garden--a giant, seasonal tulip exhibit outside Amsterdam!
Belgian waffles with the works! 

Spending some quality time with my
favorite boy band--The Beatles!

Made some sheep friends in Holland!
Celebrating Dutch heritage with
wooden shoes and tulips!
Windmills along the river in the Dutch village of Weesp
Tulips blooming at Keukenhof Garden!

More photos to come! Up next will be a collection of my favorite moments from the various trips I've taken throughout the wonderful country of Ireland. 

Until next time,

Hailey Edmondson

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