The time has finally come…I have left my homeland and have arrived in Belfast, Ireland where I will be staying for 10 days to learn the in’s and out’s of what it means to be a Victory Scholar with Sport Changes Life. And let me tell you…I can already tell that this will be an experience of a lifetime. I have met some truly amazing people and am so excited to make a difference here in the beautiful country of Ireland!
Sport Changes Life is a charity and nonprofit organization that aims to raise the aspirations of people of all ages in Ireland through various programs that allow them to interact with others and stay active through sports. But, this is just the “textbook” definition of SCL. In reality, there is so much more to it that needs to be seen and heard by everyone. My goal is to help share our story the best I can throughout my 10 months here because it is a very special one to tell!
The first few days in Belfast have been full of learning, adventure, fun, and lots of Subway sandwiches! We took a trip to Centre City, where we perused St. George’s Market and the Victoria Square Shopping Centre. St. George’s Market is one of the oldest attractions and best markets in all of the U.K. and Ireland. There has been a Friday market there since 1604! The Victoria Square Shopping Centre had a lot of familiar stores like H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Claire’s, which was comforting to see in case I need a last-minute outfit! We also saw Belfast City Hall (built in 1906) and the Albert Memorial Clock (both pictured below). The Clock’s bell itself weighs 2 tonnes and can be heard from over 8 miles away!
We also went to see the Belfast Peace Wall – one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Peace Walls were built throughout Northern Ireland during “The Troubles” in order to separate Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods. The wall literally splits a line through the two neighborhoods and is covered in murals, graffiti, and other artwork (which now includes my initials). The history of Ireland is super interesting and I definitely plan on learning all about it!
Now, I’d like to end this little intro blog with a couple of tips for future scholars/travelers:
Well, my next adventure awaits. Let’s have some craic (fun)!