I know it’s not fair to say that Galway was my favorite part of studying abroad yet, but I don’t know how it could be topped. The weekend away was ideal, and even though we had long days touring around, the time was so relaxing. I could attribute this to the serene landscapes and the authentic feel of the area or be honest with myself and say that it was the luxury of an American sized bathroom that made the trip (kidding, but it definitely helped.)
Over the few days we had to explore the city, Galway impressed me with its traditional preservation. Even though it is well known and what most people imagine when they think “Ireland,” Galway is not necessarily touristy as I was pleasantly surprised to find out.
When we ventured over to Inis Mor, I saw the authenticity of the area even more. These people make their living off tourism but continue to cherish the history of the island. Seeing the old fort at the top of Inishmore as well as the “Seven Churches,” the original Irish style cottages, and even the mini leprechaun houses is something to be appreciated.
Inevitably, I miss aspects of home but this experience is already changing many of my views on the United States. It is easy to be naive and be convinced that you are a part of the best there is whether talking about countries, teams, or schools. I have come to realize that this is what most other nationalities view Americans as; snobby.
This being said, most of what America is known for is man-made tourist attractions, the entertainment industry, and corporations. In other words, we are known for our capitalism; which isn’t exactly something to be admired.
I don’t want to turn this into some political rant so I will just say that living abroad amoung the very different Irish culture is giving me a new appreciation for the more simple things. Being in Galway and out of the fast pace of Dublin for a while gave me reflection.