Traveling has always been one of my biggest hobbies – thanks to my parents who insisted on annual family trips and raising my sister and I in a foreign country. I couldn’t be a bigger advocate of living abroad at some point in your life – it has undoubtedly been one of the greatest influences in my life to date.
Somewhere along the way, that hobby turned into a job and a travel blog. I now work at my school’s study abroad office as a peer advisor. For any travel lover; it’s a dream job. Work is basically talking about traveling and convincing students to get on a plane and explore! Fun, right?
Choosing where to study abroad is probably the hardest decision. So, before you resort to spinning a globe and randomly pointing your finger – let me tell you why you should study abroad in Cork, Ireland!
It’s a lot of craic.
If you didn’t understand what that phrase meant, don’t worry! Give yourself a day in Ireland, and it’ll be part of your daily lingo in no time! “Craic” is fun in Gaelic and gets thrown around in almost every Irish conversation.
So, while you won’t have to learn a whole new language before going there, you will leave with a new set of Irish slang in your vocabulary. Your old friends won’t have a clue to what you’re saying!
It’s home to one of Ireland’s leading institutions.
Where it all started – University College Cork.
UCC was named Irish university of the year for the fifth time, most recently in 2017. I was able to do architectural studio there and learn a different perspective on design! I also got to work on projects I’d never get to work on back in the States [e.g. having a site in Cobh] It also offers some super cool classes – Irish folklore and traditions, learning the Irish language, and an archeology class where you get to travel to some of Ireland’s famous historical sites, to name a few!
UCC has some pretty cool clubs.
I was part of a mountaineering club. Every Sunday, they organized a hike to one of the mountains in Ireland. Ireland isn’t known for it’s insanely high mountains – which worked to my advantage! Because that first hike was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but also the most rewarding! The feeling of reaching your first summit is pretty amazing.
It’s nothing short of stunning.
If you’ve seen photos of Ireland’s coastline or countryside, it was 99% taken on the West Coast. Some of that jaw-dropping scenery is less than an hour away from Cork. They don’t call it the Emerald Isle for nothing. The more famous sites [Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, etc] are just a few hours away, all doable in a day trip! [Blarney Castle is actually only 15 minutes from Cork!]
MORE: Road Trippin’ Ireland
Weekend adventures include…
It’s got that Irish charm.
Unlike Dublin, which is more of just a big city, Cork has a certain charm to it. Though the second biggest city in Ireland, it’s got the perfect mix of city and small town charm! A.K.A the Cork accent is basically another language on its own. I’ve never stared so intently at an elderly Cork man trying to understand what he was saying as I did in Cork.
There’s far less tourists here, meaning you get to experience the real Ireland. Not to mention, it’s a college town – so you will get the FULL IRISH COLLEGE EXPERIENCE. [It’s intense, to say the least]
Oh, the pubs.
If you’re thinking about studying abroad in Cork, I might as well tell you now – the big going out nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays, not the weekend like we do it here.
But on the weekends, where things are a little slower and classier, there’s some great local pubs to go to with live trad music and Irish dancing – truly a mesmerizing watch! Cork’s also got some pretty amazing breweries – Franciscan Well was my favorite – beer and pizza wise! [some of the best wood fired pizza I’ve ever had]
Life sort of revolves around pubs in Ireland.
Irish pubs aren’t really bars. They’re a gathering spot, for friends and family. To give you some perspective, I witnessed a baptism party in a local pub.
It’s the culinary capital of Ireland.
This should be enough to convince you. If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be in heaven. The FRESHEST salmon, oysters, mussels, everything! & so cheap! But there is also every cuisine imaginable in Cork; I had some of the best Malaysian food in Cork – surprising, right?
In my first week, I was guilty of eating fish & chips AT LEAST 5 times. But then I found a new obsession – seafood chowder! Boston clam chowder will pale in comparison…
St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland.
Need I say more?
You’ll meet some of the friendliest people.
Well, once you’ve conquered the Cork [the Irish say “Cark”] accent…
Everybody smiles at you. If you smile back, 9/10 they’ll strike up a conversation. Be prepared to talk about the weather – it’s a BIG topic. Physically & verbally. I went through 3 umbrellas, for perspective. That, and Trump. They seem to be very intrigued by Americans.
€20 flights to Europe.
I didn’t travel to Europe till my third month in Ireland. There is just SO MUCH to see and do in Ireland itself. I didn’t even have time to make it up to Northern Ireland. But when it’s finally time for vacation, €20 FLIGHTS!!!!!!! I’m not kidding. To Barcelona, to Paris, to Rome.
Did I mention you will get a 2 – 3 week long spring break?
I would choose Cork over and over again. It’s just such a lovely place, in every way possible. I guarantee you the best semester of your life.
Here’s more photos from my semester in Ireland – please feel free to contact me at [firstname.lastname@example.org] if you’ve any questions about studying abroad in Cork!
For more photos and stories of my time in Cork ~ Follow me on my instagram: @aditilostabroad
Bye for now,