3 , 2004
Since I've settled in, I've had a lot of fun getting to know some
of the other international students. Because Queens is one of the
more prestigious schools in Europe, there’s a very large proportion
of international students.
My roommate, Marion, is from France. Communication hasn’t
been easy, but we have survived so far with a lot of body language
and a really thick English-French dictionary. My next door neighbors
are from Finland. We all joke that we could solve the world’s
problems by holding UN summits in our house common room.
There are plenty of Americans around also, but we are all, of course,
overwhelmed by the thousands of Irish students who joined us this
past Monday for the first day of classes.
I was particularly intrigued by a conversation I had with Adele,
a local Irish girl who is in my politics class. Adele is a first-year
student from Bangor, a small village only about 25 minutes from
Belfast. To her, though, Belfast is farther than she has ever travelled
and she admitted to me that she is always homesick and feels so
far away from her roots.
I learned that this is not uncommon for
a lot of the students from more rural areas. For many, a half-hour
trip is a huge emotional and cultural journey, perhaps even more
so than the thousands of miles I travelled from the States.
Yesterday, a large group of us took a bus
up to the northern coast for some sightseeing. We had lunch on a
beautiful cliff that overlooked the Atlantic Ocean and then went
to the famous Dunluce Castle, which has been inhabited by several
famous historical figures, including Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII,
and Oliver Cromwell.