Joe is a Study Abroad student from America. In his blog, Joe takes us through his time here at the University of Limerick. At UL you get to experience new things, make friends and make memories that you will hold forever.
When I stepped off the plane in walked into the Shannon Airport all I could feel were butterflies. It was 3 in the morning and I felt like I wasn’t in control of my body, that I was a third person watching my body go through the rounds. I was exhausted. But I had made it, and the instant I realized everything was coming together the tiredness was replaced with excitement and a little fear. My dream was being actualized, but was it going to be all I had fantasized?
You could say the process had begun a year and half ago, but in reality, it had begun years before I ever enrolled in college. Since the time I learned about studying abroad I knew I wanted to. It became a goal, a dream, maybe even an obsession. I wanted it so badly, and I spent enumerable hours looking at every class every school offered. And I found the perfect school. The University of Limerick. It had checked all my boxes, it was a great school with classes I could take and they even spoke English. Literally perfect. Everything was finally happening. I had made it. I was standing in Ireland ready for the challenge.
Underneath the excitement lay a thick coat of anxiety. I was scared that I wasn’t going to make any friends, that I wasn’t going to fit in, that classes weren’t going to work out. Honestly looking back at it, my fears and anxieties seem so laughable. I have been through so many transitions that I shouldn’t have these fears, but I do and every time they are unfounded. Everyone is in the same situation, everyone needs to make new friends, and adjust to a new country. But my bigger fear was that it wasn’t going to be as fun as I imagined. That I had built this dream up to be insurmountable. But luckily all these fears were to be unfounded, I was going to make some great friends and have the time of my life.
The campus was beautiful, and the housing was fantastic. Compared to the traditional dorm living I was accustomed to, this was heaven. I had my own room, my own bathroom, and the apartment came fully equipped. They supplied plates, classes, pots, pans, silverware, TV, duvet, pillows, almost everything. The only thing I actually had to buy myself were towels and a bathmat. It was a good start to my time at UL. But the best part of my accommodations were my roommates. The six people I lived, and the two honorary residents, made everything worth it.
Strangely enough my roommates were mostly American. They were five Americans, and two Irish students – a ratio I was quite disappointed with at the start. I didn’t want to live with Americans, that’s what I was used to, I wanted literally anyone who wasn’t America. But now I am so thankful to my roommates. They became the most reliable friends, trustworthy and always down to have a good time. It is thanks to them that I loved UL. This is a common theme across the students at UL. They are kind and welcoming. If you reach out they will reciprocate, and it builds an inviting and welcoming campus. It makes the University such a good school for international students because everyone is willing to help. They provide so many resources, at times it even gets annoying, and help so much with adjusting to the country and becoming successful.
When I look back at my time in college, my experience at the University of Limerick will shine the brightest. I will never be able to forget the green campus, the unceasing rain, the confusing main building, and the student center. Or how the Shannon river flooded and covered fields and paths. But the most beautiful of them are the unextraordinary moments. The ones spent doing nothing surrounded by my friends. Just watching movies and chilling or playing Minecraft for hours instead of studying for my exams. These are the moments which truly sparkle. Above all my time at UL is marked by the people I met and the ideas I gained from them.
~ Joe Masterson