The ECI team’s ghosts of Christmases past
Here at ECI we are usually very firmly focused on the road ahead, in the direction of Summer Study Abroad. But as we’re gearing up for the holidays, let’s allow ourselves a quick detour via ‘Winter Study Abroad’.
So many of our team have traveled widely, and along the way have celebrated Christmas in countries far from home. Here, Christie recalls her Celtic holiday experience in Scotland and Ireland. Christie’s recollections perfectly illustrate how ‘Study Abroad’ can create enduring and treasured memories:
Study abroad in Oxford, the best year of my life
‘I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand more times: my year studying abroad at Oxford in England was the best year of my life. One of the highlights of that year was the time I got to spend traveling in between school quarters. The first quarter ended at the beginning of December, so I traveled to Scotland and Ireland.
Traveling by train to St. Andrews, Scotland
My trip started on an evening train, which was heaven. I arrived in St. Andrews, Scotland and fell in love with the people immediately. I found the Scots to be very much like the landscape: untamed. The small town of St Andrews had a surprising array of activities. I remember cozy afternoon tea in a lantern lit, leather couch-filled cafe overlooking the original golf course, a fried candy bar I bought off a street cart (a “delicacy”, I assure you), and the random wonder of a bubble party. I only wish I had time to explore more of that crazy country.
Christmas in Dublin: the main event!
But the main event was Dublin. Entering the downtown, I was like a kid at Christmas, nose pressed to the cab window just taking it all in. Dublin had been transformed into a quaint winter wonderland. Those lovely decorated streets with lights hung like a canopy overhead and the constant tinkle of holiday music everywhere you went. George Micheal’s 'Last Christmas' was a particular repeating favorite that year.
Life-long memories from my time in Ireland
During my time there, I awed over the Book of Kells at Trinity College, took the obligatory tour of the Guinness factory, and walked over a blustery coastal trail to a neighboring village. Evenings filled with Irish folk music in the Temple Bar district were pure bliss. Those cozy winter streets, that feeling of Dublin at Christmas, created memories that I return to every time December rolls around.
Even now, I am so grateful for the time I spent overseas.
- Christie Corcoran