An enjoyable nightlife for students in Ireland is an essential part of the college experience. Balancing student life with study and play is something Irish students have done for many years, and done well.
If the Euro 2016 football tournament proved anything, it's that we Irish know how to have a good time while abroad and that wherever we go, we can bring smiles to the people of the world with our well-meaning and positive attitude.
But what is the best way to make the most out of nightlife while abroad?
Following a recent 3 month J1 trip to New York City, I can tell you the answer is all about mixture. Whether you have 3 nights or 3 months to spend in a city like New York, the key to an enjoyable and well-rounded nightlife is sampling all that city has to offer. NYC, along with many other metropolitan destinations, offers a plethora of bars, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, historical sights and attractions; which can all seem overwhelming to a tourist only there for a short time, so just take a step back from it all and focus on what you want to do. Take some time to discover what the city you're travelling to offers in terms of unique experiences. Each city has its own food, drink, arts, and entertainment culture so be sure to make the most of it.
Make use of online travel websites like Tripadvisor, Yelp and even Facebook and Google reviews to pick your destinations. If you're only spending a few nights in a city you want to make sure that you go to the best places and have as great a time as possible. If you are spending longer than a few days in a city, then you have more scope to soak up the culture. I can't underestimate how different my life would be if I never discovered lamb over rice with spicy mayo sauce from the Halal Guys food truck at four in the morning. If you're a person who loves their two veg and meat dinners, I implore you to break out of your mold and try something new. Trying different ethnic foods can be a real eye opener to the tastes from around the world.
Cities by nature are diversified lands and offer more options to travellers for food. Don't be afraid to try something new or even something that that city is famous for. Two nights a week I went out and experienced different cuisine from rich and creamy original Southern Mac & Cheese to Korean BBQ which I had to cook on the table myself, something I've never experienced before.
Every city is unique in its architecture and has famous buildings and landmarks. While these places are amazing to visit during the day, they offer an alternative view at night time. While museums and the like close in the evening, many famous monuments remain open throughout the night and some skyscrapers offer you the chance to look down on the city at night, with twinkling lights and the hum of activity belo. Being hundreds of stories in the air can really put life into perspective for you.
Everyone loves a good night club but they can be expensive in city centres. Don't go to pretentious venues and avoid sleazy clubs at all costs. Trust me, the clientele at these places are not people you want to share a jäger bomb with! There will always be plenty of nightclubs and late bars that offer reasonably priced drinks and a fun atmosphere so do your research.
There will always be themed bars, sports bars, cocktail bars, bars offering live music and of course Irish bars, so you will never get bored.
Never be afraid to go wandering about the city you're in and get lost. Some of the best things a city has to offer are hidden away and there waiting for you to find them. So, go off the beaten track and explore the concrete jungle.
The experience of travelling is the greatest gift a student can give themselves. Life is short and as we get older the likelihood of us having the freedom to travel declines as familial, occupational, and monetary responsibilities begin to stack up on each other. So, take advantage of the time we have now to broaden your mind and expand your horizons.