Victory Scholar 22/23 Blogs – Conor Harkins (SETU Carlow) | ‘A New Home’ |

September 7th, 2022 | NEWS

Just over a week ago, 11 individual student athletes from all over the USA (and Canada) landed in Dublin and I would say they all agreed that we were nervous about moving to a new country and the unknown that comes with that, but also the curiosity of meeting the other Victory Scholars. Sure, we had probably all done our research on who was who, but had never met anyone or seen anyone outside of the arranged pre-arrival zoom calls with the Sport Changes Life (SCL) team. We were all starting our journey together as the latest class of Victory Scholars and little did we know the wonderful experience that we were all about to embark on.

The week was filled with everything from coaching/mentoring 150 year 8 kids (11 year old’s) on their first day of ‘big’ school at Limavady HS, to 70 year olds teaching us sports that we stood no chance in winning against them. Thank goodness I am here as a basketball player, because my pickleball or badminton careers would be over before they even started. While they were all really nice and supportive, the elderly beating me down in what was supposed to be a mobile sport did not help me sleep any better at night. Sprinkled in between these awesome days of our induction week, was different training elements and courses to ensure we were all prepared and ready to succeed when we went our separate ways to our host universities. Thankfully we were able to explore around both Jordanstown and the city of Belfast some of the nights, and it was truly amazing. These were the extra special moments when the 11 Victory Scholars bonded further and really got to know each other. It was refreshing and comforting to see us all getting on so well, and the only sad part is we all had to go our separate ways after just a week together.

So, in reflection, my first blog is highlighting how special all of the people at Sport Changes Life are, and how awesome it was that we were able to bond as a group so quickly and become part of the SCL family. I will also add however, that a crash course on the vocab differences is compulsory as I have had to learn quickly in my first couple of days here. Keep in mind, most of these lessons came at lunch time with the 11 year olds laughing at us after everything we said. Here are a few that came up in conversation throughout the week:

Trunk = boot (“It’s not a trunk, that’s on an elephant”)

Eraser = rubber (I think eraser actually makes much more sense here but what am I to judge)

French fries = chips

Chips = crisps

Cookie = biscuit

Ten-Thirty (10:30) = half ten

Thank you/no worries/pretty much anything = cheers!

Guinness = Guinness (Same word over here, just much better in Ireland!)

I am confident that my experience in Ireland is only beginning to unfold and there is so much more I am looking forward to and memories to be made. I must bank all of the new ‘lingo’ for now, and have them in my back pocket when I strike up conversations.

For now, as I head down to Carlow, I’m looking forward to getting settled in and can’t wait to get going with the school (SETU Carlow), meet my new team and coach, and to work with the many kids I’ll be impacting over the next few months! Next blog coming soon…



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