Hello hello! There is one week to go until I can say I’ve been in Ireland for an entire month, which somewhat seems like an underestimate but is also somehow very hard to grasp. While Ireland is obviously an English-speaking country (allegedly) and mostly similar to the States, it – and being a Victory Scholar – still has so many new and different experiences to offer. The first word that comes to mind when immersing myself in these novel things, sayings, traditions, and overall environments is refreshing.
In addition to all of the hilarious lingo I’ve been learning and the abundance of amazing student food deals (@Apache), one of the most prominent times I realized this was at my first practice coaching the girls U18 Brunell team. The team, while technically being chosen as the “B” group, had a great attitude and we had an upbeat first session. As it was coming to the end of our one-hour allotted time for the court, our 4v4 scrimmage was coming down to the wire. Noticing the time running down I announced that the next basket would win, then we’d be done. The girls stopped and one of them turned to me yelling, “No can we just keep playing?!” Her eagerness to keep playing, echoed by the rest of the team, made me immediately smile and reminded me of my friends and I playing basketball when we were younger for simple and competitive fun. While playing college basketball in the States was an amazing experience for me that I would do over and over and over again, at times throughout my four years (as most college athletes do) I lost that childlike, pure connection with and love for the game. With that, it was exciting and refreshing to witness this moment here in Ireland because I realized how revitalizing both coaching these girls and playing myself is going to be.
Another one of the times over the past few weeks I noticed something majorly different was in the classroom at Cork IT. After emailing a few of my professors (or lecturers as they call them here) for weeks addressing them as Dr. X or Professor Y, I quickly came to realize in person that students are free to address their lecturers by their first name. While seemingly a trivial thing to my fellow classmates, in my mind calling a professor I just met by their first name felt extremely wrong, weird and funny. Now that I’m getting used to it, however, I’ve realized that it is yet another example of the comfortable and welcoming atmosphere here. Although it might be specific to CIT or being a masters student, and I am already very much used to having good relationships with professors from Holy Cross – regardless – this personable environment has been so refreshing and has made me excited to delve into my academic program in International Business.
So, whether it’s getting weird looks when asking for an *iced* Americano, getting laughed at for mispronouncing multiple Cork travel destinations (by the way Inchydoney Beach is NOT said like its spelt), having players ask for practice to go longer, or feeling bizarre addressing a lecturer by their first name, all of these novelties have been extremely (you guessed it) refreshing, and I’m so thankful that there are many more to come.