Starting brand new this week: Cal Band Spotlight! Every week, we’ll pick a band member and show you a glimpse of their lives. This week, it’s Siobhan Clabby, who’s currently studying abroad in Ireland!

“Since January, I’ve been studying abroad in Ireland at the University College of Dublin (UCD). I’m in a program called UCEAP, University of California Education Abroad Program, and they have been spectacular. On my first day in Dublin, they paid for a tour of the city along with all of my (and five other UC girls’) meals. Hilary Noyce, our program manager gave us a crash course in everything we needed to know about Ireland; she was a life saver! Since then, I’ve been living in the On-Campus housing (which really isn’t very ‘on-campus’ at all) and I cycle to and from school every day.
The weather in Ireland is wet and cold, generally. It’s even snowed a couple of times! We have had a few nice days, and by nice days I mean I can go out in two layers instead of three. It’s completely different from California weather. And it’s often said that in Dublin you can experience all four seasons in one day.
I’m taking six classes, which is standard protocol here. Mostly Celtic Studies classes and a few German classes, but the workload is surprisingly light, which allowed me to do quite a bit of traveling. I’ve traveled to Sweden, Scotland, England and Wales so far, and I’m planning on going to Germany after finals.
I went to Sweden for a weekend in February, so naturally, it was freezing! While in Sweden I saw parts of Malmo and stayed in Lund. I learned a bit of Swedish history and that basically everyone in Sweden can also speak English. Which is pretty convenient. 
At the end of March, UCEAP arranged a Scotland trip, so the girls and I packed our bags and flew out for the weekend. The time we spent in Scotland was amazing for several reasons. Not only was the history and architecture of buildings in Edinburgh and Glasgow enchanting, but the sun was shining warm and bright the entire weekend. Everyone had pulled out their blankets and picnic baskets and put them to good work! The atmosphere was incredible; everyone just seemed a little bit happier with the sun out. When the time came to head back to Dublin, I didn’t want to leave!
For Spring Break, I met up with my boyfriend (another Cal Bandsman!), and we traveled through England and Wales. We flew into London, and spent a couple of days there exploring the city. We went to the British Museum, National Gallery, Tower of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Buckingham Palace, and even the Studio Tour of Harry Potter (which was my personal favorite). Then we took a bus to Cardiff, Wales, where we stayed in a wonderful hostel. In Cardiff, we saw Cardiff Castle, St. Fagan’s Castle, and the Doctor Who Experience. It was incredibly windy in Cardiff, which I strangely enjoyed. We then took a train from Cardiff to Holyhead, and from Holyhead we took a ferry to Dublin.
Easter weekend here was a holiday, so the UC girls and I took this opportunity to explore Ireland a bit more. We took a day trip to Belfast, which is in Northern Ireland. Belfast has quite a heavy history. There’s been a lot of violence there between Catholics and Protestants and Nationalists and Unionists. The violence was only really subdued in the 1990s. Catholics and Protestants have large walls dividing their communities and even though there isn’t too much violence anymore, there is still much tension between the two communities. I don’t want to give you a history lesson, but I really encourage you to look at the history of Ireland if you get a chance.
Back in Dublin, there isn’t any tension really. Everyone is quite friendly, and every now and again I see someone sporting Cal gear! It’s really surprising, and I get really happy and proud when I see a fellow Golden Bear. I miss home, but I’m having the time of my life studying here in Ireland! Go Bears!” ~ Siobhan Clabby