Conquering the Heights of Ireland- Cody L.

This month’s Sycamore Spotlight is on Cody L. Cody is a chemistry major from New Albany, Indiana. For this month’s Spotlight, he came in and we chatted a bit about his time in Ireland this summer. He, along with his girlfriend Nicole, went to Dublin through our COUPA program.

Cody at Glen Cholom Cille
Cody at Glen Cholom Cille

One of the biggest things that Cody got out of his study abroad experience was that he got a chance to overcome his fears. During his time with his host family, he had the opportunity to go to Dun Laoghaire Pier with Ronan, the family’s youngest son. The Pier is a half a mile long and end with a sharp drop into the cold Irish water. Cody’s fear of heights would have kept him from being anywhere near the edge of the pier if he was in the States. However, being in a foreign country, he decided that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. When Ronan insisted that they should jump, Cody took off running. It wasn’t until he was flying through the air and towards the water that he began to regret his decision. As the swooping feeling took over his stomach as he plummeted towards the water, he thought “Maybe this wasn’t the best idea.” But by that point, he couldn’t change it; looking back on it, he doesn’t regret it in the slightest.

He had to confront his fear of heights again when he went to Galway and to the Cliffs of Moher. Having seen The Princess Bride, he knew that these “Cliffs of Insanity” we no joke. It wasn’t until he was standing there that he realized the enormity of the Cliffs or how steep the drop could be if you got too close to the edge. “I got really dizzy because of the height,” Cody said while we were chatting. “That’s not really a good thing when you’re standing on the edge of a cliff.”

Cody at the Cliffs
Cody at the Cliffs of Moher

As a chemistry major, he likes to focus more on the scientific side of science instead of the presentation side of it. However, as the President of the American Chemistry Society on campus, his job is to promote chemistry to the classes on campus, sometimes to groups of 100+ people, to promote ACS as a club for freshmen to join. Cody is not exactly comfortable around crowds, let alone speaking to them. Thanks to his participation as President of ACS, he has become more and more comfortable speaking in front of people. This helped him while he was abroad, because as part of his class, he was forced to give a class presentation. Without this background knowledge going into the Study Abroad Experience, he probably wouldn’t have been able to have done it as well as he could have. He got up in front of the class and gave his presentation “with no worries” partially because of his excitement of the class and his interest in the topic.

His fear of crowds and of public speaking came to stunning collision during a trip to Glen Cholomn Cille with the COUPA group. While they were out for dinner, Cody wound up sitting right next to the musicians who were performing for the students. One thing led to another, and the group was persuading Cody to sing for them. In Cody’s own words, “I do not sing.” But he went with his gut and pulled up a new friend that he had just made and they ended up singing together, in front of everyone in the restaurant. In a normal situation, Cody doesn’t believe that he would have been able to perform in front of a restaurant or to be able to sing with someone that he had just met. It was one of his favorite and most proud moments from the trip.IMG_0605

Here are some other moments that Cody and I talked about:

  • Elinor: What was the craziest thing that you ate?
  • Cody: Definitely would be Black and White Pudding. One of the first breakfasts that we had while we were there, they gave us these puddings but didn’t really explain what was in them until after we had eaten them. Black Pudding is made with blood of a pig, while White Pudding is not, it’s just pork fat. It was something that I definitely won’t be doing again.
  • Elinor: In comparison to that, what was your favorite thing that you had?
  • Cody: Their version of Pigs in a Blanket, without a doubt. In America, we think of Pigs in a Blanket as mini hotdogs wrapped up in dough and then cooked. In Ireland, it’s a hotdog about the size of a bratwurst that is then wrapped in bacon. But bacon there isn’t like the bacon we have here. It’s almost like Canadian bacon. It’s very different.
  • Elinor: What is your favorite foreign word or phrase that you learned in Ireland?
  • Cody: When we toured the Guinness Factory in Dublin, we learned the word for cheers, “sláinte”. That word was pretty fun. But one of the first phrases that we were taught was “Can I use the Bathroom”. When the Irish children are being brought up in elementary school, the teachers want to be sure to use Gaelic as well as English. So they teach “An bhfuil cead agam dul go dti an leithreas”. Once I finally got the hang of it, I tried to impress my Irish teachers with it. The first time I used it, we were just about to get on the bus to go on a field trip and I asked my professor that. He looked at me and asked, “Do you really have to go or are you just trying to impress me?” It was pretty funny.

It is very clear to see that Cody has been deeply moved and changed by his Study Abroad Experience. He talks about his time in Ireland with so much enthusiasm and energy; he is an incredible advocate for studying abroad.IMG_0458


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