This week the IFSA students were taken on another educational trip in Belfast. We traveled to the Youthlink center, which is one of the only centers in Northern Ireland that is officially supported by all four churches. This center supports groups in finding respect and understanding on differences. In addition to the center visit, we were taken on a tour through some of the peace walls and neighborhoods. We had the chance to sign one of the walls and visited a memorial garden and monastery, which both hold a piece of history from The Troubles.
We also celebrated Thanksgiving across the pond! It was a tough day to be away from family, especially with having to still go to school. Some of the teachers asked me questions about the holiday and brought up how much they loved the Thanksgiving episode of Friends. Stranmillis made us a big Thanksgiving dinner and seated us at a big table in the center of the dining hall. They even decorated the table with American flags! Even though we all weren’t able to spend time with our families, it was great to celebrate the holiday as a group and share it with our friends here in Belfast.
We finished our week by traveling south to Dublin and the Cliffs of Moher! We spent our first night being very lazy and enjoying the perks of staying in a hotel room rather than a hostel. Then on Sunday morning we began our adventure to the Cliffs of Moher. We first stopped off at the Baby Cliffs, which was beautiful and seemed super high, until we saw the Cliffs of Moher. We ran into a bit of fog unfortunately once we made it up to the Cliffs. We kept hiking through the path and luckily the fog broke for a brief moment. We were able to take lots of pictures and take in the views. I wish that we could have seen it on a clear day, but it was still an amazing experience.
On Sunday we visited an iconic spot in Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse! We learned all about the history of the iconic brew and even got to practice our pouring skills. It was a very cool experience and a fun way to spend a Sunday. Sadly, we did not have much time exploring around Dublin. I will be traveling back to the south of Ireland at the end of our program to meet my family for a week of travel. I cannot wait to see them and explore an area that holds so much of our family’s history! Here’s to three more weeks in Belfast!