Irish in Philly: Week 1

It’s almost one week since I’ve landed in Philly to begin my international exchange. One thing that I noticed early on is the overwhelming friendliness of Philly people and their willingness to stop and talk, and give city recommendations. I had underestimated the actual size and scope of Philadelphia before arriving here. The skyline and high rises are completely different to Ireland, where everything is built outwards and not upwards.

It quickly became clear to me the pride Philadelphians possess when it comes to their food and sports culture as well. Myself and my friends and fellow international exchange students from Dublin tasted our first Philly Cheesesteak from Angelo’s in the Italian neighbourhood, possibly one of the best things my tastebuds have ever experienced. In terms of big US cities, I have quickly noticed that Philly is unique, and in particular Drexel itself as a college. In comparison to my home institution where the campus is also city centre based, Drexel is quite literally immersed into some of the many high rise buildings and skyscrapers.

Compared to Dublin however, where public transport is quite inexpensive and accessible, I have found it quite costly here. On average in Dublin, unlimited bus services for a month would set you back 25 euros, approximately 27ish dollars. Whereas in Philly, the cost is about 95 dollars a month. As a result, I have been utilising the Indego bike share app, which sets you back 20 dollars a month but is a great way to see all aspects of the city. Initially I was expecting the weather to be far colder than it is, however at the moment it’s quite mild, very similar to the Irish climate.  This is my first time living abroad, and I don’t think I could’ve picked a better city to live, as a sports fanatic and someone who appreciates quality food culture, Philly has been a dream. The next few weeks and months shall be interesting, and I can’t wait to get to know the city and my classmates more.

At the moment, I am still trying to adjust to the lifestyle, time zone and size of the classes, back in Ireland, lectures have a couple of hundred students in them, whereas here it is more similar to a school classroom setting. I can’t wait to see how the rest of my exchange unfolds and reflecting on it during this weekly journal. I’ve added some photos I’ve taken so far of the picturesque skyline as I was cycling to a 76ers game earlier this week. 

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