Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dr. Nichols in Ireland and Denmark

Dr. Nichols has been traveling to Ireland and Denmark building new partnerships for the International Education program. Here are the latest installments from his blogging about the trip:

Ireland:

Over the past day or so, we visited with administrators at two colleges, Limerick and Tipperary. We also watched our students perform their last two sets.


Yesterday morning we went with our students to the Garda College. This is the national police force training college. The Garda (police) are the only law enforcement agency in the entire country. The training takes 2 years and when completed the cadet is awarded his badge and a four year Bachelor degree in Police Science.

All Garda are unarmed and don't even take a firearms course during their training. Only after serving in the regular force for a minimum of three years are they able to request a transfer into detectives, traffic, SWAT, or some other branch of service. Only a select few are ever trained in how to use a firearm.

This morning we took a train to Kilkenny to see a 15th century castle. While very impressive, the castle had been rennovated in the 18 and 19th century, so it really did not resemble what we hoped to see.

On the train both to Kilkenney and then back to Dublin, we were moved by the beautiful scenery. It truly is green. Instead of pastures divided by fences, most all were separated by hedges. From the train we saw rolling hills, green pastures, mountains in the distance. Reminded me a lot of Tennessee.

Every one here keeps talking about the Queen's visit which ends tomorrow and President Obama's visit which begins Monday. While most of the country is appreciative of the Queen's visit, everyone is excited about Obama's visit. He is well respected in this country along with Kennedy and Clinton.

The weather has mostly been overcast, windy, and cool. They keep apologizing for the weather, saying we should have been here last month.

I am writing this from the dining room at our hotel (Trinity Hotel) where Chris and I just had dinner. After spending almost a week in Ireland, we finally had what I guess is Irish food. Chris had Chicken and Leek Pie served with home cut potato wedges and side salad. I had the Braised Lamb Shank served with mashed potato, fine green beans, and red wine.

Not surprising, but EVERY meal comes with some form of potato.

We are taking it slow tomorrow, finally seeing the sites of Dublin on a Hop-on, Hop-off double-decker bus. We will depart for Denmark Sunday morning

Denmark:

Last day in Dublin was very interesting. Everyone getting ready for President Obama's arrival on Monday. Buses and taxi's are having difficulty routing around all the closed streets, yet everyone we spoke with was very excited about his visit.


Flew to Denmark this morning and for the first time it truly felt like we were in a foreign country. Flying in on Cimber Air, nothing in English. Arrival at the airport in Billund, definitely not catering to Americans.

We were picked up at the airport by Lone Brinch, assistant to President Hanne Helleshoj. She dropped us off at Hotel Danica in Horsens and she will pick us up tomorrow for a day of meetings.

The 40 mile drive in from the airport was very scenic and this part of the country is very rural. The city itself has approximately 80 thousand people. Once we checked in to the hotel, we walked the streets and found a place to grab a quick bite to eat.

Back in the room, did a little ironing while watching Danish television. Should have taken more time to learn Danish. I believe only two channels are in English, and just like at home, nothing good to watch.

Tomorrow I meet with the president of the Basic Health Care College, Frederica Campus. After a tour of their campus and a visit with their faculty and students, I will do a presentation on our international exchange program. We will return to the hotel to freshen up, and then have dinner at Horsens Sdjklub. Looking forward to seeing what the locals eat in Denmark.

As I mentioned earlier, arrived in Horsens, Denmark but nothing good on TV. Really, that might not be correct, but since most everything is in Danish, same difference.


We decided to go to the local cinema, only about a five minute walk from the hotel. Decided to see something really Danish, so we saw Pirates of the Caribbean. Eighteen dollars per ticket later, we are sitting in assigned seats listening in English with Danish subtitles.

As we walk back to the hotel at 10:45 p.m., it was still light outside. I either need to do more walking and less eating, or I am going to need to find another ATM machine.

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