Life of a Schoolgirl

My first week of classes is in the books (points for an accidental pun)! It was actually done yesterday since I don’t have any Friday classes ūüôā ¬†In five weeks, I will complete one of my classes, or modules as they call them here, so I will be down to three classes and have both Tuesday and Friday off. On top of that, their semester is only 12 weeks compared to Purdue’s sixteen.

Classes themselves weren’t too bad; I am actually getting to take animal science classes! It will be¬†a nice change of pace from the classes I have spent my last three semesters trudging through, such¬†Organic Chemistry and Physics. There will be a few adjustments for me as far as class is concerned. Coming from a college with pretty much all 50 minute classes, I have to get used to¬†being in class for 2 or 3 hours at a time. Also, since they don’t have a constant stream of homework and quizzes, I have to get used to independently studying as I go with nothing to prompt me. The classes grade weighs primarily on the final, with maybe a project or paper at some point in the term.

This week made me feel like I was reliving the¬†first week¬†of freshman year of college. I had to make sure to leave for class at least 30 minutes early because I had no idea where I was going. Triple checking my schedule even after I sit down to avoid the embarrassment of being in the wrong class and having to get up and leave (don’t worry I made it to the right place, and on time for every class!).¬†I didn’t know anyone in my classes.¬†I wasn’t sure whether it was socially acceptable to carry a backpack.

The best thing that happened this week in class had to be in my Animal Physiology class, when we were given a 20 minute coffee break in the middle of class. That’s my kind of class ūüôā We had enough time to casually walk to the student shop, grab what we wanted, and come back with time to spare. I also was able to meet some super¬†nice girls that are in that class, so I now sort of know people I can sit with!

I do have another¬†pretty great story from the week. I went to the huge library with escalators, to do a little¬†reading for the archaeology class that I am no longer in. (Side story to that: it was a really interesting class, but many of the students were 40+ years old, which I just couldn’t get over. They also seemed to know a lot about how tools were cast and hammered in ancient times. I didn’t. So I switched to a class about Ireland, which was also¬†interesting!) I was about to leave, when I realized that I didn’t have my phone. I looked at the two places I stopped in a¬†library where it could have slipped out of my pocket¬†and I didn’t find it either place. So, I asked the reception desk whether they had a phone turned in. One of the ladies pulled out a log book and said, “No, I ‘m sorry, I don’t think we have had one turned in today.” Just as I was about to turn around defeated, another lady who had just finished helping another student said “Wait! There was one turned in about two minutes ago!” Luckily, it was my phone! When I got it back, I checked everything out to see if anything had been messed with. The guy had just gotten on SnapChat and sent one of my friends a message saying to tell me where my phone was and also posted a selfie with the caption “Hope this person finds their phone.” I accidentally deleted it before a screen shot could be taken, which is upsetting because it made me laugh a lot.

Enough about school, now for the fun stuff! In my last blog, I mentioned that I was going to get my phone the next day. And as my last story suggests, I did end up getting a phone. Well, I did, but I made quite the journey to get it. I drew out a nice little map with instructions on how to walk there.

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It was only supposed to take me 39 minutes to get there. It was a beautiful day and I like walking. No problem, right? Well…. they don’t exactly have their street names marked at all the intersections. You have to look really hard to find any sort of sign that will tell you what the street is, and that sign could be further down the road! So, I just kept wandering around by myself, having no clue where I was or how to get to where I was trying to go. I finally found stores that had Dundrum in their names, which is where I was supposed to be trying to go!

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I even found my way to Main Street, which is where the phone shop was supposed to be.¬†It took me wandering back and forth down long stretches of sidewalk, and asking two different people for guidance to find where exactly the phone place was. I found out from an extremely friendly man in the library that the phone store¬†I was looking for had changed to a different provider, so it was under a different name, and it was on level one in the shopping centre! I have now rejoined the world of smartphones, which I will admit does make figuring out the bus¬†routes¬†so much easier. It didn’t, however, help me with getting back to campus because I didn’t have it set up yet. So, in the end this is the route I walked.

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What was supposed to be 6.8 km round trip ended up being 9.5 km, which is 5.9 miles for those of us who aren’t familiar with the metric system.

I have been able to go into Dublin city centre twice, once to walk around at night with my roommates and once the next morning for church. I haven’t spent a great deal of time in the city, but¬†Dublin isn’t intimidating to me. It doesn’t seem overly huge, and there is great architecture all throughout the city. The only thing that is slightly terrifying is that crosswalks are pretty much nonexistent. Even if there happens to be one there, people just pretty much go for it across the street without even waiting for the green walking man to light up. Walking by myself to church was really nice, because there were very few people out on Sunday morning, so it was peaceful. I left plenty of time to wander around,¬†get a little lost, and take lots of pictures.

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I found a great appreciation for getting lost. You can see so many neat things you would have missed otherwise had you stuck with the direct path. For example, when I got lost getting my phone, I got to walk through Goatstown, which actually has goats as their names suggests. I also found my way up a huge hill, where I could overlook Dublin. I was able to see my campus and far beyond!

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Today, my roommate Kelly and I tried getting to Dundrum by bus. We learned to always be sure that you are taking the bus route in the right direction, since the buses don’t just go in loops like we are used to. However, it turned out to be perfectly fine because we got lost in Blackrock. We wandered along the shore, found a supermarket (which was our whole purpose for trying to go to Dundrum), and got to eat at a super cute cafe just off the water.

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Kelly says this is our “we got lost looking for a supermarket, but found a really cool view of the ocean” picture

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Pick your own eggs!

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Hot off the griddle pancakes at the supermarket

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The cafe we got a real meal at!

The only real problem we have faced so far since coming here is a lack of food. The campus residence we are staying at isn’t catered, which is a good thing for me. However, we had to live off of pretty much nothing for the first week since there isn’t a convenient and decently priced grocery store within walking distance. We finally got¬†groceries delivered Tuesday! We are planning on rotating who makes dinner, so I kicked things off by making dinner Tuesday night. We had broccoli and Mac and Cheese, which we were able to eat off of for several meals. Then, Ali made stir fry¬†yesterday. We are limited in what we can make since we don’t have an oven.

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I just keep feeling more and more settled as time goes on. I now have a bank account set up in Ireland, since we have a bank on campus and now I won’t have to mess with having a U.S. debit card. My class schedule is solidified and I feel great about it. And as of today, I have my own personal food stash for breakfast and lunch.

If I get too settled in, I may just never come back to the states ūüôā (I don’t think my parents would be surprised) _______________________________________________________________________________

Random tidbits of Information:

-Laundry is super, super expensive. It costs 3 euro ($4.48) for a wash and 1.50  euro ($1.68) for drying. So, I will be putting that off for as long as possible.

-Bringing your own bag to stores is expected. I caught on to that pretty quickly, so I remembered to bring along a little tote bag today.

-Military time is used and dates are always written dd/mm/yyyy, which I still mess up.

-There are switches on many of the outlets so you can turn them on and off rather than unplugging your appliance to save electricity.

Ireland Bucket List:

-See sheep… maybe I will see them tomorrow on my Wicklow day trip. The closest I have gotten was the lamb on my plate the night I went into Dublin.

-Have an Irish coffee.

-Go to a Pub

Super cool words and phrases:

-Take-away instead of carry-out

-Notes instead of bills (money)

-Holiday instead of vacation

-“Brilliant!” for great

-“Whereabouts?” — the question I get asked when I say I am from the U.S. They can tell from my accent I am not from Ireland.

-“Chuck in the Bin” for throw in the trash

-The loo or just “toilets” for bathroom

-“Had it’s chips”… This was used in a lecture and I had to look it up. It means coming to¬†it’s end or something along those lines.

-Waistcoat instead of vest. There is another word that is even cooler than waistcoat, but I forget… I will have to figure it out again.

-Crisps are chips and chips are french fries.

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There and Back Again: A Student’s Tale

It’s hard to believe that in ten minutes here it will be Friday! My initial days in Dublin have been tiring, exciting, confusing, and wonderful all at the same time. Each day I spend here, I am more and more glad that this is the country I chose for study abroad.

I left Sunday morning from Indianapolis to start a day of traveling/ waiting around. To start off, I was super worried that my bag was overweight since I tried using our unreliable scale at home and it read anywhere from 46-58 pounds. My parents¬†tried to reassure me that it was fine if I went over and had to pay the extra charge or even check an extra bag if I had to. In my dad’s words, “We aren’t trying to spread the Amish lifestyle to the Irish.”¬†¬†As it turns out, my bag was 50.0 pounds exactly. Nailed it!

After a tearful goodbye from my parents (+goodbye from James), it was time for me to start my long journey.

Hey! It's James!

Hey! It’s James!

I fortunately had Ali, who also goes to Purdue, to travel with me. We had short flights to Detroit and then New York, where we began our dreadfully long layover at JFK. I enjoy airports, but there is a point where you are just ready to move on with your life. And that point gets bumped up in time when you are stuck in a single terminal with no wifi. We ended up having an 8 hour layover due to a delayed plane, so instead of leaving the U.S. at around 9pm, we took off after midnight. Ali and I found ways to pass the time during that layover, one of the ways included making a blanket for using our suitcases and Bibles for weights.

Humans of New York: JFK Edition

Humans of New York: JFK Edition

Just being cool in our adventure boots

Just being cool in our adventure boots

It took only 5 hours to get from New York to Dublin, so the layover was longer than the actual flight. The downside to having a short flight was that it only gave me 5 hours to sleep before having to hit the ground running midday since there is a 5 hour time difference. Considering I was going off of 8 hours of sleep between the past two night, I was surprisingly awake that day. I am sure it was just the excitement of being in a completely new place.

Flying into Dublin was beautiful. I knew the grass was supposed to be green, but it something you have to see for your own eyes. Nothing like the sad excuse for grass we have back in Indiana. After coming from brown grass, it almost looked fake!

The first thing I noticed coming off the plane was that for nearly every sign, the words were written written in Gaelic with English underneath. From previous out-of-country travel, I was expecting to be held up at customs for a long time. But it was pretty much just a quick passthrough where my passport was stamped and the lady at the window said “Go to immigration Bureau within 3 months.” Next, we exchanged our USD for Euros and bought a bus ticket to get to Campus. The bus ride itself was quite relaxing and quiet. Partially because there were so many tired travelers and partially because it wasn’t a bus full of just Americans. I didn’t get any pictures of Dublin city center, but it was so neat! The building all had different colored doors that were painted anything from black to magenta. I noticed that many¬†of the buildings¬†I saw had these actual wooden doors you had to push open, rather than just automatic glass doors.

I don’t remember whether I said this in the last blog, but I will be studying at¬†UCD, which stands for University College Dublin. Once we checked in, we had to haul our luggage to the dorms and then up to the third floor of the apartment style residence hall. Ali and I would take breaks from hauling our heavy luggage and say that we were “just admiring the architecture.”

The apartment shared between four people is super nice. Each person gets their own room and a bathroom is shared by two. Ali is next door and we share a bathroom, so it was comforting coming in knowing at least one person I would be living with. My other two roommates, Kelly and Jenny, are really nice. If you hadn’t noticed, we all have the long e sound at the end of our names.

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I am struggling with the whole white wall thing, so if you make a decorative lightweight craft and want to send it to me, it would be my pleasure to hang it up ūüôā

Kelly and Ali and I managed to lock me out of my room the first night. You need your card to access the building, apartment, and room. The room itself you can lock or unlock, so just in case we were trying to see if it was possible to get locked out. After figuring out that you could by sending one of us out to the hallway, we then forgot that my door was locked. So, the next time I left the room to go right across the hall for 5 seconds, I came back to a locked room. Since I had no shoes since they were locked in my room, Kelly and Ali were nice enough to go find help to unlock my door. Fortunately I wasn’t charged, but apparently next time it will cost three euros.

Since we pretty much had nothing coming in, including all kitchenware we need to make food, we went on the trip to IKEA that was offered by the international office. I had never been into IKEA back at the states, so the amount of stuff they can pack into a giant blue building was incredible to me. However, considering I have shopping anxiety, it was also slightly stressful. IKEA had a super cool escalator that the cart can go down! It is angled just right to engage a break. Somewhere there is a picture of Ali, Kelly, and I standing on the escalator ramp while our cart is off somewhere else. I also learned that in Ireland, it is important to sign the back of your cards, or else they won’t accept them. Fortunately I had enough cash on me to pay!

Later that day, I signed up for my classes. I am most excited about taking “Archeology of Things.” When I signed up for the class, the advisor goes, “That is such an Irish title, too lazy to even say what it’s about!” I tried signing up for a couple of different dairy classes, like one called “Herd Health and Milk Quality,” but they aren’t open to international students. That night I was able to try their¬†milk for the first time, and it was the best pasteurized milk¬†I have ever had. We decided that the reason why they didn’t let me into their cow classes is because they are trying to keep the secret of why their milk is so good away from me. After some brainstorming, we were still able to figure out that it is their grass here that makes the cows produce better milk.

I have had to start getting used to a few things here. One being using coins, since the one and two Euro is in coin form. I am generally just bad about using coins, so I put them in a jar and then put them in a bank. But here, I actually need to use them. I had a cashier say “Oh, you are grand!” to me instead of “It’s fine,” when I apologized for fumbling around with coins one time. I love their unique words and phrases here (more to come on that below). The other thing I have had to get used to is walking on the left side. The Global Office put arrows at the stairway¬†pointing to the left, so that we get used to it.

I was able to spend time today exploring campus. UCD has a very modern look. Despite the rain, I was still able to get pictures. Rain persisted throughout the day, but it wasn’t constant. It would rain, and then the sky would turn really blue, and then it would rain again. It was also very windy today. Even still, the weather isn’t as miserable here. Today was actually the first day since I got here that it has rained. They have a covered section on nearly every sidewalk, so there is a nice path you can take without ending up in the rain.

I know these pictures are all on Facebook, but¬†I don’t want Becky to complain. I tried picking out the best, and there is a little bit of a¬†description on a few¬†ūüôā

Gated Entrance for Security

Gated Entrance for Security for my Residence

student bar

What… A Student Bar!?

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Student Center

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A look inside the Union!

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Well, that’s not English.

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Note the spelling of the word “tire”

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***Side note for college students looking to study in Ireland: finish up your Netflix shows before going overseas. There will be no Gilmore Girls or Friends study breaks for me this semester, because their Netflix shows are different.***

After four days, I was finally able to figure out what my address is. Or at least the lady at the post office told me it would work. In case you want to send me Peanut Butter, take me up on the whole plea for decorations, or just write me a letter, you can address it to


  • Mallory Stuckwisch
  • B18-5-2
  • Belgrove Student Residences
  • UCD
  • Belfield
  • Dublin 4
  • Ireland

Ignore the bullet points, they are just there for formatting reasons. (I am not sure what the G stands for, whether that is the right letter, or whether it is even necessary; but I am going to go with it because I was told that it was fine and I am placing my trust in¬†the postal service.) ***Update*** B is the Correct letter! If you already sent something with G18-5-2, it should be fine, they will figure it out because we have still been getting mail ūüôā


Ireland Bucket list: See sheep on a grassy hillside. (Only horses have been spotted so far)

Super cool words and phrases:

  • Queue instead of Line
  • Lifts instead of Elevators
  • craic (pronounced crack)- Fun
  • slainte- Cheers
  • slan- Goodbye

That was a lot to write in one post… It is now 1:30 A.M. here, so I should be thinking about going to bed. I have been fine without a cellphone on campus, but I need to¬†get up tomorrow morning and get one¬†before my parents have a conniption.

Adventure is Out There

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I am slightly nervous, a little sad to leave behind the people I love, but mostly excited for my upcoming adventure.

Sunday is the day I will be “off like a dirty shirt” as Duckie says in the movie Pretty in Pink.

I feel like a good majority of people know now that I am heading to Ireland for the semester. So this is likely not a surprise to those of you actually reading this. I am pretty sure that every employee of my family’s insurance company as well as every employee of CVS pharmacy in both West Lafayette and Seymour ¬†know that I am going to Ireland as many times as I have had to contact them.

This break has been relaxing, yet hectic at the same time. No schoolwork, chilling with my family, and catching up with friends from school for the last time before I leave has been nice; however, trying to get everything ready to leave for five months is crazy.

Speaking of five months… how in the world are you supposed to pack to fly away for a semester!? Somehow I managed to do it. Thank goodness I don’t wear makeup or have eight million hair products like my sister, because I had a hard enough time packing as it was. The suitcase and carry-on I have seems to me like a ton, but then I think about how everything in there is for a¬†semester. My tactic for packing was to pull everything I would like to bring out of my closet, and then pack and repack until I had eliminated what I could live without to leave a manageable sized suitcase.

I really don’t think that it has fully hit me that I will be out of the country for a semester…. maybe tomorrow it will seem more real. Anyway, I am super excited to explore Europe for the first time.

If you are’t one of the lucky few¬†using me as an excuse to fly¬†over to Ireland, then you can live vicariously through me and read my blog for updates! I will try my hardest to share any significant experiences I have that are scary or exciting or anything in between.