Hi everybody. It has been more than one month now that I left Ireland, so it is high time to write something about my experience there. I will write about five places where I used to go quite often. I hope it will catch up your attention. Don’t hesitate to ask me questions or give me your opinion about what I wrote.
Student accommodation “The Spires”.
Finding a place to live is an important issue when you go abroad. Despite the fact that I started to look for a student room quite late, I found something relatively easily thanks to the UUC service for Erasmus students. “The spires” is a modern residence which contains more or less 20 apartments. In each apartment, there are 5 students who have the kitchen in common. It is only a 5 minutes walk to the university and the city centre is 15 minutes away. The only negative point is that accommodation is expensive in Cork. You find it difficult to find something below 450-500 € per month. In “The Spires” as in many other residences, international students are mixed with Irish students, which is beneficial. I was very lucky because I had three Irish flatmates and a Canadian one. They were all English speakers and didn’t know another language. Moreover, they are fantastic people with whom I still keep in touch now. Needless to say that I took (and still take) advantage of it to try to improve my English!
UCC: University College Cork.
The university campus of Cork is far more beautiful than the one in Namur. There are lots of buildings where classes are given, but there is also a church, a big student centre with several pubs, two restaurants (a world of difference compared to the Arsenal),… It was a real pleasure to go to the campus every day to have class, do some research or study. UCC offers a wide variety of courses. I really would have liked to stay more than one semester to be able to take other courses witch seemed as interesting as the one I took. My favourite class was “Romance and Realism”. It is a literature course for witch we read novels from the 19th century witch combine the supernatural with realistic elements. The reading and comparison were very interesting, and I’m sure it has helped me to improve my capacity to analyse novels. UCC has also its own student newspaper edited every fortnight. It is the most successful student medium in Cork. There are about 3000 copies of every edition. As student life is more active in Cork than in Belgium, the newspaper is a useful way to get to know what is going on at UCC.
Mardyke Arena: UCC sports centre.
With your student card, you get free access to the big sports centre of Cork : Mardyke Arena. More than 40 different sports are available and you don’t have to be good at one sport to take part in it. As I like playing table tennis in Belgium, I attended the table tennis club. I also went to fitness and to badminton . The sports centre is full of students, and I had many opportunities there to meet people who share the same interests as mine. I think that students practise more sports in Ireland than in Belgium. They also find it more important to play for their university team rather than in a private club.
Lennox’s, or the best Chip Shop in the city.
Lennox’s is a relatively old and well known chip shop. I was lucky that my apartment was on the same street as Lennox’s. It was very tempting to go there very often, even if it is not the best thing you can eat for the health. It is “the place to go for a tasty take away meal of fresh fish and excellent chips”. By the way, their chicken burger is excellent…
Pubs and nightclubs.
Irish people love going out; and so do I! In Cork (and also in the other cities of Ireland), you find a large range of pubs and nightclubs. All you have to do is to choose the one(s!) where you want to go. And the choice is not that easy. There are numerous small and bigger pubs where there are band playing every night. My favourite pubs are “An Brog” and “The Old Oak”. There is also a nightclub where I had a lot of fun: The Qube. Every day of the week, there is a special theme. For example, on Wednesday, there is “Freakscene”; and on Friday, the International party takes place.
I hope this gives you an idea of how my life in Cork looked like. There are many things I didn’t mention, for example the various trips I made, or activities such as going to the theatre, to the cinema,… Don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to talk about Cork. But I think that the best thing to do is to go there and see by yourself. I definitely recommend this place for the younger students who will have the opportunity to go on Erasmus next year or the years after.