Hatidza Zutic was an Erasmus+ ICM student from the International University of Sarajevo, who studied Design in the University of Limerick for the spring semester of 2019. Hatidza is part of the ‘Buddy Programme’ that is run here in the University of Limerick, which pairs a group of new international students with a UL student. There are many activities available for members of the ‘Buddy Programme’, such as pizza nights and trips to landmarks such as King John’s Castle. Read more about her experience below!
I love the University of Limerick, and while there are differences, it is not too dissimilar from my home University! The main thing that my home country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Ireland have in common would most definitely be nature. However, Ireland is certainly one-step ahead in this aspect, as the setting here is far more calm and breath taking. Whilst Limerick is a small city, the same as my hometown in Sarajevo, I was shocked by the amount of culture and opportunities it holds. There are many things to do around Limerick and the town is full of shops and restaurants. The people here are extremely friendly and very similar to people from my hometown! My friends and I arrived in Ireland a couple of weeks before orientation started, and so had the chance to explore the city. I found that everyone I met whilst doing this was very kind and anybody who I asked for help with regarding directions stopped and was happy to show me where to go. A lot of people actually also went out of their way to tell my friends and I of places we should visit during our time here, so now our list is full!
A large difference between Limerick and Sarajevo is the culture! In addition, the University here is so large and my home University is so much smaller. I definitely strongly feel that Irish people are a lot more accepting and interested in other cultures than people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are. Joining the Buddy Programme showed me how accepting and interested Irish people are of other cultures. I met with some of my Buddy’s friends last week and they were very interested in my life in Sarajevo and shared with me a large amount of stories about their own culture and lives.
Another difference is that, because the University is so large here, students have a lot more opportunity than in the University of Sarajevo. Receiving an International Mobility Grant was a very big deal and a major help in my journey to the University of Limerick. Without the grant, I would not have been able to nor would have had the independence to begin my studies here in Limerick. Not a lot of students from my home University would get this opportunity. The University of Limerick is excellent for students studying my course, which is design, as there are many other subjects they can take that have similarities to design, such as economics and science. At my home University, subjects like these would not have been able to go together, but receiving the International Mobility Grant and the opportunity to study at the University of Limerick means that I have the ability to link these subjects together and have a broad area of study!
I thought that the University of Limerick’s orientation was really awesome! International students did not come here and immediately become forgotten about. A large amount of activities went on throughout the week, and each one gave me the chance to see more of the city and meet other students. I could not believe the amount that was organised for us; we had breakfasts, dinners, movie nights and evenings of Irish dancing. It was a really nice start to my time here as a student and helped me grow used to the University life.