By UL International Student Ambassador Casey Kahler
Ireland…Even from the sky it is a beautiful sight! I had dreamt of this day for as long as I could remember and yet now, years after longing for my semester abroad it was finally here. After meeting up with the smiling international guides donning their bright yellow t-shirts I boarded the bus taking myself and about 15 other international students from Shannon Airport to our new homes at the University.
As the bus made its way through the villages I was amazed at how large campus felt and also at the beauty of it. The green pastures dotted with cows, the amazing River Shannon flowing right through campus, and the immense amounts of trees gracefully spotting the landscape instantly made me feel at home. As I got off the bus at Cappavilla Village and attempted to haul my backpack, carry-on bag, and checked suitcase I was greeted by Craig another friendly international guide who proceeded to help me at reception, haul some of my luggage up to my room, and then take me across campus to meet one of my housemates (I guarantee I would have been lost otherwise!) Thanks again Craig for being so welcoming!
Although, you don’t really have a say in who you live with I can quite easily say I lucked out! I quickly connected with my housemates and it was great going through orientation with them. Throughout the week there were a lot of fun events ranging from coffee mornings to treasure hunts on campus and then there were also mandatory orientation sessions. During one of the sessions we discussed the different stages of emotions while studying abroad. The first stage is known as the honeymoon stage. It is safe to say that I’m definitely living in this stage. The honeymoon stage can be described as an overall love of everything and right now I’m hardcore honeymooning. Ireland is like nowhere else I have ever been and I’m literally so glad I pursued my dreams to study here.
My advice to anyone studying abroad is to go out and meet people, partake in the activities on campus, and just keep an open mind. You’re going to meet a ton of people and some may become your best friends! I have never been good with names and my brain definitely got a work out! Do not be afraid to ask someone for their name again, everyone is in the same boat as you and no one is going to be mad that you didn’t remember because I can pretty much assure you they probably don’t know your name either. Another great way to meet people is to attend the weekly TGIF International Party every Friday night held at The Stables Club. It’s an amazing way to mingle with people and get your groove on while dancing and listening to a wide variety of music—trust me, there is something for everyone!
The well-known phrase—“Time flies when you’re having fun” is definitely a valid saying while studying abroad. I can’t even begin to think about how fast my semester is already going and how much I’ve done in a short period of time. However, I’m so thrilled about the upcoming experiences yet to happen and I can’t wait to share them with you all. Thanks for tagging along with me in my journey and I can’t wait to live up the rest of my time here at UL!