Hi everyone! After about 9.5 hours in an airplane I am officially in Belfast! Well, I’ve been in Belfast for a few days now, but I wanted to wait until I had officially acclimated to the environment before I started writing my thoughts down in this post.
As expected, there are some things that are different between Belfast and the United States. For some reason it slipped my mind that people in Northern Ireland drive on the other side of the road. So I was slightly alarmed when getting in a taxi from the airport and seeing the driver on what I thought was the passenger side! Moreover, it seems that I am always wrong when deciding which side to veer towards when avoiding others on the sidewalk. In the United States, most people drift towards the right in order to avoid contact with others, however I have found that in Belfast half of the people move towards the right and half towards the left. Since I never know which side to pick I nearly always end up doing that weird thing when you dodge someone at the very last second (only mildly embarrassing). One other minor difference between Belfast and Tampa that I needed to acclimate to was the air conditioning. More specifically, that most buildings in this area do not have any! Most of the time it is not actually needed but a nice cool climate in a room can quickly grow too warm when there is a larger amount of people inside.
This is the front of Queen’s University Belfast (where I am studying) and directly behind it is where classes are generally held. This Wednesday after classes were completed myself and two new friends decided on a whim to go hiking up Cave Hill. Not only was it extremely fun, I was also able to learn a lot more about myself. During the parts of the hike that were more strenuous and talking was limited, I was able to think about the whirlwind of the past few days. Additionally, I was able to reflect on my actions. This period of time allowed me to decide what behaviors I was presenting to others and if they were appropriate in the given context. As cheesy as it sounds, climbing this small mountain made me learn a great deal more myself. I learned about what I like and don’t like, and what I believe I need in my life.
One of the Global Citizen’s Project Student Learning Outcomes is Self-Awareness. Through this hike I believe I was able to achieve more self-awareness. Not only did I have the opportunity to reflect on my actions, after the hike I actively changed my behaviors. Relating to the Student Learning Outcome of Practice, I dynamically changed behaviors that I decided were not great and tried to improve my interactions with others. For example, instead of hesitating when someone asks if I want to do something a little outside of my comfort zone, I try to be less tentative and more accepting of new experiences.
By the way, the slightly arduous hike was definitely worth the view! Although it might not show very well in the pictures, we were very high and the view was spectacular. I highly suggest that if you plan to study abroad or travelling to a place in general, to get to a high point and look at the area around you.
Thanks for reading!