I often hear students ask if taking a trip abroad is worth it.
I can safely say that it’s one of the best things that a student at Mercyhurst can do.
This past winter break, I went on the trip of a lifetime to Ireland.
I went with 17 other students and two staff members, Dr. Averill Earls of the History Department and Dr. Emmaleigh Kirchner of the Criminal Justice Department.
Our trip started in Dublin, went on to Belfast and then ended in Galway.
I think my favorite city out of the three was Dublin.
We spent most of our trip here and did so much sightseeing.
My favorite place we visited in Dublin was the legendary Trinity College.
Trinity is a sight to see and if you are interested in books, it is definitely the place to be.
The library is so mesmerizing.
It has books upon shelves that reach from the floor to the nearly 30-foot ceiling.
The books are not available to look at or to touch, but that was fine with me.
Just being able to look at the incredible amount of history in front of me was more than enough.
Additionally, Grafton Street, the shopping district in Dublin, was my next favorite.
It reminded me of a smaller Manhattan shopping area in New York City.
Grafton Street had more of the high-end stores like Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, Michael Kors and other retailers.
Another thing that I loved was that we went just after the holiday season, which meant that the city’s holiday lights were still up and glowing.
Each of the main streets had lighted designs hanging across the streets in between buildings.
The gorgeous visuals made walking through the city so much more enjoyable.
Also, at nearly every corner, there was a singer, and although they were singing and playing their music for money, it made the experience so much more real.
Hearing the music playing while we walked under the lights at night was so cool.
After Dublin, we spent two days in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
There, we did a little bit more sightseeing.
I realized that Belfast is still segregated in certain parts because of religion.
I won’t say anything more in case you want to visit for yourself.
After Belfast, we went on our way to Galway.
This was one of my favorite places for seeing the sights, because just two hours away was the Cliffs of Moher.
If I had only just one word to describe it, it would be breathtaking.
Not only was it amazing because of the cold and the wind, which actually wasn’t too bad that day, but because it is something that I had not seen before.
The way the waves crashed against the cliffside was so majestic.
Also, for the Harry Potter fans reading this, the start of Harry’s journey looking for horcruxes with Dumbledore was in the side of a cliff.
Well, we got to see that famous cliff from a distance because it was a part of the Cliffs of Moher.
It was something that I didn’t realize until we had gotten there but I realized that I could not think of much else while I was there.
Overall though, I would say this trip was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I would love to do it again.
I personally would highly recommend this trip to all students, even if it isn’t in a study abroad program.
Seeing the sights and being able to go somewhere completely different was a perfect getaway from the stress of school right before the new semester started up.