American Exchange 13/14

Final Moments

Final moments: we all had an early rise Saturday morning. Everyone met at the airport for 6:30.

It was nice because we had some time allocated to say our good byes and for some "see you soon" as some people have planned to come back and visit Ireland in the near future. As the time drew closer to7:30, the tears kicked in for some, as our new best friends were about to walk through into customs. It really was hard saying good bye and not knowing who you will see again, but that's all part of our experience.


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Not long after their flight from America was over, we were all interacting over snapchat, Facebook and twitter finding out how the flight was and telling everyone how we missed them!

Were all shocked that the exchange is over, but it has changed our life's a lot, and the experience is one that will never be had again. We have made amazing friends, and amazing memories!

Farewell Dinner

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Today we had the very sad Farewell Dinner. The dinner began at 6 PM. We had beautiful food prepared by the parents and hosts.
We heard from the chairperson of the board of management, and Noel Malone before starting dinner!
Everyone was so impressed with the food and so thankful. After dinner everyone enjoyed beautiful desserts, one of which was a cake that was decorated to represent the exchange.
The Americans got given some gifts also! A poster and a golden medal with their names on them and the school crest. It was an amazing night overall



Aran Islands & Galway

Today everyone was up bright and early and on the bus for 7 a.m on route to Doolin. When they reached Doolin they boarded the Ferry to Inis Mòr... or so they thought. Not knowing the ferry stopped at Inis Oirr before reaching Inish Mòr all the teachers and students got off the boat only to realise it was the wrong Island! In the end it didn't matter because it was just as much fun. Everybody rented a bike and was giving free time to explore the Island. They split into groups and headed off to visit the hills, castles and even the shipwreck featured in the Opening scene of Father Ted! When people had finished exploring they all got back on the boat and went back to Galway. They all checked in to the Connaught hotel, had dinner in the hotel restaurant and headed off for a well deserved nights sleep.


Today was the last day of the Americans visit to Ireland. Everybody woke up in the Hotel, had breakfast and got on the bus heading for Galway City. They arrived at the Spanish Arch where the Galway food festival was situated and everybody got the chance to sample some Irish and European cuisine! They then had free time in Galway where the Americans and Irish got the chance to explore the historical and vibrant city. When everybody had finished their shopping and sightseeing they boarded the bus again to visit Pure Skills! Here everyone was split into groups of four and got to play sports including soccer, hurling, football, basketball, rugby, baseball, cricket and many more! Everybody, wrecked from two weeks of fun, retreated to the bus which travelled back to Limerick and all the Americans spent their last night with their host families dreading what was coming the next morning.




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Dublin

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Day 9: Free day with host families

Day 9: Free day with host families

Today the students spent that day with their host families. Some students took this opportunity to explore Limerick city and the Crescent shopping centre.

Day 8: Free day with host families

Day 8 Free day with host families

Today was a free day with the host families. Some students went to see the Munster vs. Glasgow match in Thomand Park and there was a surprise birthday party for Amanda Curtin that night!

 

Day 7 - Surf's Up!

Today everyone was up bright and early for a trip to Clare! All the students were on the bus at eight and heading for Lahinch.

When they reached Lahinch they were met by our 2 surfing instructors. They gave them their wet suits and surf boards and they all went down to the beach for a lesson. There we learnt the basics of surfing and after a quick safety brief they were all heading into the water dreading the cold! 

After lunch in Lahinch everyone was back on the bus bound for the Cliffs of Moher! After a short bus ride they headed off on to the cliffs and explored one of the natural wonders of the world. Both the Americans and Irish were astounded by the beautiful sites and got some great pictures.

They then went to Bunratty. After a tour of the ancient castle they went out and explored the beautiful folk park and gardens. The Americans then got the chance to buy all their souvenirs in Meadows & Byrne or sample some Irish cuisine in Dirty Nelly’s!


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Day 6 - Sports Day

Today was the Americans students first time visiting UL and we also had our annual sports day on! They were very impressed with the grounds and excited to take part.

Some of the activities the Americans won were: wheelbarrow race, basketball and tug of war. They also tried out rugby and had a match with a mix of all years! However, the Irish were victorious in the Ireland V USA tug o war challenge!! They met with loads more students from school and made new friends!


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Day 5 - Shout Out, Presentations and Trad Night


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Today the Irish had classes as usual from periods one to four while the Americans put the finishing touches on their presentations that were to be presented later.

 For periods five and six the Americans worked with Mr. Kelly and the Media and Production super option team to record their ‘Shout Out!’ video.

At two o’clock the Americans made their presentations to a group of students and teachers. There were presentations on slang, food, history, sport, pastimes and music! They even got the treat of hearing Stefanie Jacobson sing an American classic!

At half seven all the students on the exchange, their families and friends and even some teachers all met up in the Locke bar for a night of traditional Irish music! The school trad band was excellent as usual and we even had some students sing. It was a great night enjoyed by all!


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Day 4 - Blarney and Cork City

Today was a very eventful day. The American students shadowed the Irish kids for the first class until 9:30 where they enjoyed the options Irish have including history, business, physics and much more. After the first class the Americans along with the ambassadors headed off too The model school!

Everyone enjoyed the model school. We were greeted by the principle where students showed the Americans how to play hurling and football. It was then followed by a brief history of the school. The best was saved for last though, we then got to interact with all the students at lunch time. Kids were excited to meet the Americans and learn about them. Before we left we went into the 2nd class where they preformed some of their first holy communion tunes on the tin whistle. For some of the Americans it was their first time hearing Irish traditional music and they all loved it!

We then returned to the school at 12:10 where we got lunch and everyone changed from their uniform into normal clothes to get ready for the evening activity which was a visit to Blarney castle and Blarney Stone.

Our first stop in cork was Blarney Castle. We were greeted by beautiful gardens and scenery. Everyone proceeded to go to Blarney castle and kiss the stone. We were all taken back by how high up we were and the processes of kissing the rock! We took plenty of photos and videos while visiting.

After visiting Blarney Stone we had two hours to explore cork city. We split into small groups there. Some people shopped and got some food! The Americans also got to experience the English Market and other attractions around the town!

We had a great day over all, everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and are now exhausted!


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Day 3 - L2L

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Today the students had the welcome breakfast in the school cafeteria. They were all served a traditional Irish breakfast. The choir sang and the trad group played some traditional Irish music.  The Americans then got the chance to look around are school and see just how different it was to theirs!

The Americans shadowed the Irish students for period 5 and 6 going to one language class and one super option. For the people going to Spanish class, Ms. Martinez had a selection of Spanish food for the Americans and Irish to try!

The students then left for Daly’s Hurleys where they saw the full process of how a hurley was made. They then got the chance to buy a hurley or some limerick flags and key-chains.

Then the students all went to Supermacs and all teachers and students played in the arcade and went bowling. They all had some food in Supermacs and then returned to their host families for the night.


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Day 2 - L2L

Today the students spent the day with their host families. The American teachers were extremely lucky to see the Six Nations cup.

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Day 1 - L2L

After a 2 hour delay everyone arrived safely from Limerick Pennsylvania. The Springford students and teachers were welcomed with screams of joy and hugs!! All the students then headed to their host families homes for their first official full Irish breakfast and to watch Munster play in the Heineken Cup.  We all met in Limerick City at 4.30 for dinner at Marco Polo. After a delicious meal everyone went their separate ways. Tomorrow is a free day with the host families and we are looking forward to showing off our local attractions!!

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Day 15: Departure :(

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This was the day everyone was the dreading as it was their last day together until April. After breakfast they travelled back into New York City to do some last minute shopping! They then headed across town to Central Park, an amazing contrast to the city. While there they took the opportunity to visit the Lennon Memorial, identify parts of the park used in various films and to go ice skating.
Unfortunately the moment came for everyone to say goodbye. There wasn't a dry eye to be seen. However, they will be seeing all their new friends in April again. Their two weeks in the States was an amazing experience. The places they saw and the people they met will never be forgotten. They cannot wait for the return trip in April!

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Day 14: New York

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Today the all headed to New York. After a long day of eating on thanksgiving and a night of shopping, they all headed off to New York from the high school at 6am. They arrived in New York at 8:30 and they explored the sights before Going to Radio City at 10 to see the Rockettes.

 

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At 12 they had a guided tour of New York and stopped at some big sites such as the Empire State Building, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Centre and Wall Street. At 3 o'clock they got dropped off in Times Square in the heat of Black Friday shopping for 3 hours. They came back to New Jersey to their hotel, Embassy Suites, where they had a pizza and pool party.

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Day 13: Thanksgiving

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The group had the opportunity to experience one of America's most celebrated Holiday. Each student spent the day eating and celebrating with their host families. Many were lucky enough to eat two Thanksgiving dinners. Later on that evening the students went to the mall to start their Black Friday shopping.

Day 12: Farewell Dinner & Thanksgiving

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Tonight was the farewell dinner which was held in Springford High. A huge thank you to the parents for providing the delicious spread. There was certainly no shortage of food!!

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After dinner the students received their L2L jackets and a cake specially designed for the occasion. A great night was had by all!

Day 11: Free Day

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This was a free day for the students to spent with their host families. Many students went to the Mall to buy presents and souvenirs for friends and family in Ireland. Let's hope the suitcases are big enough!!

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