Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ireland: Independent Travel and Home

July 2

By Emma Hallman

For our independent travel, 11 of us set out on the train for Killarney on the south coast of Ireland. We toured of the Ring of Kerry, which is six hours of driving around the south coast.  The landscape was fantastic.

There were three lakes surrounded by mountains. At one point we stopped to see a shepherd use border collies to herd sheep. Each dog has its own set of signals, so the shepherd could send specific instructions to each dog to herd the sheep.

Afterwards, three of us took the train to Cork where we went to see Blarney Castle. The grounds are amazing. There were waterfalls and caves. The castle towered above everything. We went into the dungeons, which were caves.

We then took a taxi to Cobh, which was the last port of call for the Titantic and is also close to the spot the Lusitania was sunk during World War I. The town was very quaint and empty. The coolest thing in Cobh was the giant cathedral at the top of the hill.

We then took the train back to Dublin, exhausted after backpacking for a couple of days.
I spent the next day in Dublin at the National Gallery where I saw works by Rembrandt and Van Gogh. There were also paintings of Dublin, which I found fascinating because I could actually recognize the buildings in the paintings even though they were painted more than a hundred years ago. I spent the last couple of days shopping and wandering the streets of Dublin.   

I am now back in the United States, but my experience isn’t over. After spending three weeks immersed in Irish business, culture and history, it has been interesting to return to the states and see stark differences as well as similarities.

The study abroad program has been a truly rewarding experience, and I can’t wait to travel again.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Introducing Gabriel Cuillier – Walton College study abroad blogger in Spain

June 28


My name is Gabriel Cuillier.

I am a senior majoring in economics at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. I will be traveling to Madrid, Spain, on June 29 to study comprehensive Spanish at Antonia de Nebrija University. Although I walked across the stage at the Walton College commencement this spring, I am taking the opportunity to study abroad during my summer off before I begin working full time.

I return July 27, so I will be abroad for four weeks. 

I am eager to encounter the Spanish culture and do my best to learn the language. Spanish has had such an influence on the world and on business. Along with my studies, visiting museums, listening to music and taking weekend trips, I look forward to connecting with local people and creating relationships while I am there. There’s no doubt that this opportunity would not have been possible without the help of my advisers, mentors and friends at the Walton College!

I look forward to posting my experiences. I hope you enjoy reading about them!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Ireland: Its Breathtaking West Coast

June 24

By Emma Hallman

The west coast of Ireland is breathtaking. There are countless Neolithic burial sites, castles and cliffs. The cliffs of Moher are the most famous the 6th Harry Potter movie had the cliffs as the location of one of Voldemorts horcrux. The cliffs are just as forbidding in real life as they were in the movie. Some of us stood at the top of the cliff and watched a huge storm come in.

The countryside is so pretty. The landscaping in front of houses is always colorful. The land is covered with limestone that has been gouged by glaciers from the last ice age. This makes growing potatoes very difficult, but there are dozens of species of flowers including 24 species of orchids that grow everywhere.

Yesterday morning, we took a ferry from Galway to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands in Galway Bay.  A couple of us took a horse drawn buggy around the island to Dun Aonghasa, which is a Viking fortress. We walked about half a mile up hills covered with the gouged limestone. The fort was built in the shape of a semicircle with tall stone walls. The back edge is a straight drop into jagged rocks and the freezing ocean.

Standing as close to the edge as I dared, which was about 20 feet, all I could see were huge waves crashing on the far cliffs. It felt as if I was standing on the edge of the world.

The island is beautiful. Everywhere you go you see green fields sectioned off with gray rock and the ocean in the background. There were horses and cows everywhere and most of the houses were white and plain. Yesterday was the annual bonfire night where each village lights a bonfire to celebrate the first full moon after the summer solstice. It was amazing to sit at the bonfire and listen to someone singing in Irish, while watching the full moon. From where we were, we could see at least a dozen other fires on the island and the neighboring island.

The trip west has been wonderful. We were able to experience a much more traditional Irish culture than in Dublin. We learned a lot about Neolithic Ireland and the Vikings. Tomorrow begins independent travel time. I plan to go to the south, then the north as well as to see a few more things in Dublin.

(Thanks to Hayden Legler, who took most of the photos).

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ireland: Food, Sport, Bloomsday and Business

By Emma Hallman

The past several days have been packed with exciting things. Saturday we went to Meeting House Square where there is a local market. The food was delicious. Everything in Ireland is fresh, not genetically modified and very tightly regulated. The food here is very similar to what I'm used to, but there is a huge difference between the processed food versus the organic food here. 

We then went to see the hurling rematch between Dublin and Wexford. There was a huge contrast between watching that match in Ireland compared to watching a game in the States. The spectators all mixed together. The kids brought their own equipment and played on the sidelines until after the game – when tradition says you run onto the field and start playing a game of hurling.  

Sunday was Bloomsday, which celebrates James Joyce's novel Ulysses.  We went to an experimental one-man play where the whole point was to understand that it's OK to not understand. I thought the play was fantastic and a nice comparison to the play we saw on Tuesday called The Love Hungry Farmer, which was also a one-man play. The theatre is a very important source of entertainment in Dublin because of the famous plays that have come out of this city.  

We've attended class all week on the various aspects of business in Ireland and the European Union. It was interesting to see how similar Ireland is to the United States but also how the EU adds a whole new complexity to international business. We discussed the Celtic Tiger, which was the era in the 90's of economic success caused by good policy change. The era was ended by the financial crisis and hit Ireland's banking system much harder than the U.S. system.

Business in Ireland has been very interesting to study because of the cultural similarities but also because Ireland is an island nation geographically separated from the majority of the EU. Ireland has had to adopt policies to encourage foreign direct investment and because of this Ireland has been one of the few EU countries with a growing economy since the recession.

We leave for Galway on Friday!  I am excited to see the Irish countryside and the west coast.


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