Clara here. My Mom asked me to share my college and general life abroad experience from this past semester – so here we go. 

Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and most European schools operate slightly differently from American colleges, which has given me some unique opportunities. For instance, TCD starts me on a path, without me having to go to a guidance counselor and picking my schedule like I would in America.  This past semester I started right away with classes that were specific to my major. Normally, in the US, I would have to take basic, low-level classes like research or English 101 and other “Freshmen get ready for college” classes. I was incredibly happy that I got to jump right in and start learning material actually specific to my degree.

My first semester I took 3 modules (their term for class): Spaceship Earth: an intro to earth system sciences, Maths, Stats and computations, and Human Geography. I really enjoyed all of my modules from last semester, especially Spaceship Earth and Human Geography because those were classes that I never could have taken in high school and they really fit with where I want to go with my degree. If Mom hasn’t told you, I plan on getting a Bachelor’s degree in Geoscineces and Geography from TCD, then moving on to law school to become an environmental lawyer. There is plenty of work to do and I was thrilled to see that I got all ‘firsts’ (that’s A’s in America) in all my first semester classes. Yeet!

This semester I have 3 different modules: Biology: from Organisms to Ecosystems, Introductory Geology, and The Anthropocene. Now, geology is one of my all-time favorite subjects, but I was particularly excited to have a class on the Anthropocene. For those of you who don’t know, the Anthropocene is a new proposed geological epoch or time period (usually lasting more than 3 million years) and the term itself refers to the “time of humans” (antro- meaning humans). I was so overjoyed that this was actually a class being taught because In high school, climate change and the overall global effect caused by humans was under taught in my opinion. I could literally go on and on about the Anthropocene for hours because it’s really interesting to me and I’m very passionate about it. But that’s not the point of this blog. So, if you are interested (which I think everyone should be because it affects all of us) message me or Mom on Facebook and I would love to discuss. A really good book on the topic of the Anthropocene and human impacts is The sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert or The Human Planet: how we created the Anthropocene by Lewis and Maslin.

Something else that is different from American schools is that as a first year, I’m not required to live on campus (like some US schools do) and Trinity does not supply a meal plan. I live at Trinity Halls which are flats owned by Trinity. I’m about 2 miles from campus in a nice Georgian Brick community called the Rathmines, so I commute everyday but public transportation to the heart of Dublin is a breeze. I either hope on the bus or the Luas line tram. 

I have to cook and buy all my own food and I absolutely love it. Being in charge of my own food has allowed my to experience new foods (curry is my newest favorite) and to try new spins on old favorites. Thankfully, I do not eat lots of frozen pizza or fries like many students do. I really enjoy the freedom I have to eat what I want and for it to be organic, fresh food that is easily affordable.

Overall, I have adapted very easily to life abroad, with things like using public transport, eating differently and being exposed to people of different cultures, and even with a little drinking (the legal drinking age is 18), being able to connect with friends and family easily thanks to tech is wonderful too! 

Thank you to all who have helped me along the way with support, encouragement, friendship and love.