Young Alum Abroad

Living on the edge 1

Living on the edge

When you decide to study abroad for a year after graduation, there are numerous parts of your life that you decide to leave behind for the adventure that lies ahead.  For a Notre Dame graduate, this includes reuniting with your dorm friends at football tailgates for the first time as an alumnus, returning from Fall Break to see the emergence of colorful foliage on God Quad, and hearing the bells toll to signal the end of a Basilica mass.

As a young alum, I was awarded the Naughton Fellowship to study in a one year Masters programme in Dublin, Ireland at University College Dublin.  As daunting as it was say goodbye to my family and friends at the end of the summer, I realized that the chance I had to study abroad not just once but now twice is not something that most people are given in their lifetimes.  Through my daily comings-and-goings on campus, I’ve learned a great deal about my own culture and that of Ireland.  When you live in another country instead of just visiting on vacation, you learn how other people perceive you as an American.  You begin to understand from conversations had during lunch breaks or when grabbing a cup of coffee in a café just how fortunate you are to participate in a cultural exchange.  The Irish like to imitate our accents just as much as we like to imitate theirs. Everything in America seems large to them because, well frankly, everything is large once you lived here for awhile.  Dublin, the largest city in the country, has only half of a million people and the country itself has just over 4.5 million.  So while it may be easy to travel in Ireland by bus and be on the other side of the country in an afternoon, the Irish can’t fathom how you could drive 10 hours and still be in the same state!

Kissing the Stone

Kissing the Blarney Stone

I’ve picked up on a few sayings from my classmates such as “Your man over there,” “That was good craic last night,” and “She gave us loads of work to do.” I’ve also traveled in Ireland to Galway to see the Cliffs of Mohr and to Cork to kiss the Blarney Stone.  Galway is a beautiful port city and is from where the Claddagh ring originated.  Visiting the west side of Ireland opened my eyes to the beauty of the countryside; I loved leaving the city life and stepping in to a smaller town to have new experiences such as trying an oyster at the annual festival.

Studying in Ireland makes me appreciate more and more each day the Notre Dame connections that exist everywhere.  One day I was waiting for the bus and a woman struck up a conversation with me.  After she found out that I was a Notre Dame graduate, she told me how she had once met Monk Malloy when he visited Dublin and how she was amazed with the number of Americans who visited for the Notre Dame vs. Navy football game in 2012.  I enjoy seeing names such as O’Rourke, Purcell, and Keough and realizing just all of the connections between Ireland and Notre Dame.

Although I’m looking forward to all of the new experiences that await me in the next year in Dublin, I can’t wait to come home during Christmas time to see my family and to visit my home under the Dome.  Until then, I will have to keep cheering on the Irish during the football games that start at 1am on this side of the pond.

Cheers! GO IRISH!

Alexandra Moulton ’13

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