Diego Valenzuela, Phoenix, Arizona ~ Dublin Summer Program 2014
Reflecting on my experiences in Dublin and in the West of Ireland, thus far, I cannot identify one, defining difference between the two regions. Rather, a plethora of aspects such as the verdant, rolling hills and immense valleys contrast with the asphalt and concreteness of Dublin. A stress-free place, County Kerry has given me the opportunity to meditate and admire the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean, an appealing sight for a man from Phoenix, Arizona. The refreshing Co. Kerry air has been a pleasant surprise, and it is akin to what one would find in a place like Colorado: pure, cool, and calming. Additionally, I was caught off guard by the friendliness of the Western Irish as I was welcomed to play basketball and was bestowed a trophy for simply participating, a kind and generous gesture. Thus, I believe that the entire culture and mindset of the Dubliners and of the Western Irish is what differentiates both societies. Overall, I have been truly fortunate to be welcomed to Ireland, and I have enjoyed experiencing both the modern and traditional lifestyles of Dublin and Co. Kerry, respectively.