Amilyn Johnson in Maynooth, Ireland

The McKendree University Experience Abroad

Killary Adventure Weekend March 25, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — maynooth2013 @ 2:07 pm

Well this weekend was absolutely crazy. The IFSA-Butler program had planned a trip to Killary at this amazing adventure place. The Maynooth group was going to be picked up at 1:15, so my friend Dana and I decided to go into Dublin that morning to get some last minute things. The bus leaving Dublin was late, so we didn’t get back to Maynooth until 12:30, so we both ran to our rooms, quickly threw clothes in a bag, and ran to the bus stop. We then took our 4 and a half hour bus ride to Killary, which is about an hour outside of Galway. It was absolutely beautiful. We were in the middle of nowhere. All you could see was lakes and mountains. That night, we reunited with the IFSA-Butler groups from other schools in Ireland, including the Limerick group whom we had bonded with at Orientation. That night, we had a really fabulous dinner, and played a trivia game in which our team, named Hot 2 Trot, placed 2nd. The next morning, we got up at 8:30 for breakfast, and then headed down to our first activity at 10. We decided to do abseiling, rock-climbing, and a giant swing. The giant swing was a lot of fun, and I realized that I am terrible at rock-climbing. But the abseiling was completely terrifying. We had to climb, one at a time, a very tall set of stairs to get to the top of a tower, where the guy at the top would attach us to the tower so we did not fall off. At this point, I was extremely excited. I couldn’t wait to do this. Then when it was my turn, the instructor strapped me up and explained what I had to do. As I walked backwards towards the edge of the tower, I began to realize how much i did not want to be doing this. When my feet were to the edge of the tower,  I had to start to lower myself so I was parallel with the ground that was very far below. As I was freaking out, I began to slowly take steps downwards. Then as I was stepping off the metal part at the  very top onto the wooden wall, my foot slipped and my knee hit the two metal bars, which left two very purple bruises. When I was finally able to get my legs straight, which proved to be quite difficult because I was wearing the worst shoes possible and kept slipping, I started making my way down to the bottom. It was actually a lot of fun when I finally got going, but it was absolutely terrifying. I was so relieved when I finally made it down to the ground. After that, we made our way back up to our lodging and were fed sandwiches and soup. At this point, I had convinced my friends to sign up for the Turf Wars for the afternoon. All I knew about the turf wars was that we were going to play in mud. And I was excited about that. What I didn’t know was that the Turf Wars was a very bad idea. After we put on our wetsuits that we were provided with, (mine had a huge hole right in the butt so my bright purple bikini bottoms showed through) we began to run to where the “fun” would begin. The first thing that we had to do was jump into freezing cold, muddy water that was up to our chest, and swim through three tunnels. After climbing out, I realized how much of a bad idea this was. we were already covered in mud, and we had barely begun. I don’t remember the order of everything that we did in this torture fest, but here is most things that the Turf Wars included. We had to slide down water slides, where we were plunged into muddy water. When I got my head above water and opened my eyes, my contacts were crooked, and I had mud in my mouth. That was one of the most unpleasant things I have ever done in my entire life. There were multiple times on this journey that our feet would get stuck in the mud, and we had to pull each other out of the mud. I almost lost my shoes several times in this process. Another thing we did was crawl under a net that was about a half a foot over mud. I definitely ate some mud at this point, and it smelled absolutely awful. Most of this activity included jumping in and out of mud that was up to our shoulders. One of the more fun things in this activity was we   had to climb across a tiny metal rope holding onto nothing but a rope above our heads. It was a very difficult process because the ropes kept swinging back and forth, and we weren’t supposed to touch the ground below. The last thing we did was we had to climb over three rock walls. This was after we were totally covered in mud, and the rock walls were extremely slippery. I made it over one wall and decided not to do the other two because I didn’t like feeling like I’m going to fall on my face after getting over the wall. When we made it back to the changing room/showers, we all huddled under the showers trying to get clean and warm. My hair felt absolutely disgusting. My friend Sarah and I quickly changed, and we ran back to our lodgings so we could take legitimate showers. It took about three washes for all of the mud and grossness out of my hair. It felt so nice to be clean after that. I’m really glad that I did the turf wars, and I can proudly say that I did it, but it was absolutely miserable. I think if it had been warmer outside, it would have been nice. But it was only about 35 or 40 degrees. And it was not very pleasant. When we were all finished showering, we had dinner, which was lamb stew. It was pretty good. And then we sat by the fire and played apples to apples. That night, there was a disco. It was just them playing a lot of really great music and lots of dancing and partying. We climbed out onto the roof for a while, which was really great, and we finally got back to bed around 3AM. The next morning, we decided to stay in and read and take naps, so after a small breakfast, I grabbed a book and curled up in my bed to read. It was a very pleasant morning. Around 1, we had lunch, and then at 2, we said our goodbyes and made our way back to Maynooth. It was a crazy weekend that included many bumps and bruises, but it was a lot of fun. I can’t believe that I have already been here for two months. I’ve started to get homesick. I miss my friends, and family, and my ΚΛΙ sisters. But I’m really excited that my mom is coming to visit me in about a week and a half. We’re planning on going to Cork so I can kiss the blarney stone. I’m really excited! Can’t wait!


Cover of A Smile That Explodes February 13, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — maynooth2013 @ 10:20 am

Cover of A Smile That Explodes

So, long story short, while I have been here, I made a friend name Seamus. Ended up singing for him, and he decided that I should record a song with his brother, Cormac. And this is what came of it. The song is A Smile That Explodes by Joseph Arthur. It’s just crazy that this never would have happened if I had decided to wait another year, or even just a semester to study here. Or if I had picked a different school. I am so thankful that I had this opportunity!!!


Week 1 January 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — maynooth2013 @ 8:24 pm

4b909bf865a011e2b9fd22000a1fbc16_7Here is a picture of the south campus at NUI Maynooth. It is absolutely beautiful. It looks like Hogwarts, and I love it. The week began with an orientation in Dublin, where we met the students from the US that are going to University of Limerack. Our orientation was with both the Maynooth group and the Limerack group. Everyone was awesome, and those of us going to Maynooth already miss those who are going to Limerack. The first day, we took a tour of the Guiness factory and went out to dinner. Tuesday and Wednesday was mostly orientation about the country and the program. Thursday and Friday, we had orientation at our school, which was a lot of fun. We met some of the other students from the US and other countries that are studying there. Today, my friend and I went shopping for some essentials and groceries. I’m excited for classes to start on Monday. My schedule shouldn’t be too difficult. I have no classes on Fridays, which is awesome. And I can’t wait for Monday because all of the Irish students will finally be here and we can start mingling with them:)


46 DAYS!!!!!! December 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — maynooth2013 @ 3:48 pm

46 days and I’ll be in Ireland!!! I’ll start updating my blog in a few weeks.