UL Erasmus Student, Lena Heffner, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany, wrote about her experience in UL as a differently abled person. Lena, who studied with our Department of Psychology during our Autumn semester 2019, touches on her experiences with UL Global and the many services available on campus. Read more below!
I am a wheelchair user and I spent the Autumn Semester of 2019 as an ERASMUS student on the UL Campus. My exchange semester was a very inspiring and exciting time, and I actually think my “wheelchair-ERASMUS” didn´t differ that much from “normal” ERASMUS. UL as my host university was extremely supportive, and made loads of things possible for me.
Inclusion is a topic that is being talked about a lot, but my exchange semester allowed me to really experience it. This is not only due to the people on campus, but from my experience, it is the mentality of the whole country. From travelling to other countries in the past, I know that differences can be huge when it comes to dealing with inclusion and putting the needed infrastructure or facilities in place. But this was the reason why I had chosen Ireland as my host country. The Irish are extremely helpful and straight forward, whenever you may need a hand or a push. People tend to do what they think is needed right now, instead of just sticking to the rules and their job description.
The International Office and staff members at UL made it a special endeavour to make a nice stay possible for everyone. My non-disabled friends told me the same. I always had someone to contact whenever there might be a problem and all queries were addressed right away. For example, Campus staff brought me a separate table to place my writing materials on, so I no longer needed to write on my lap.
If you think about an exchange semester, I highly recommend University of Limerick as host institution. They really deserve the excellent reviews from other International students. I have never been disappointed. The only challenge I faced on a regular basis was the typical rainy Irish autumn weather. But to be honest, when you stay in Ireland and don’t get wet at least once, you missed out on something. It´s a country with amazingly beautiful scenery and a lot of history and culture to experience, so it´s definitely worth getting wet every now and then.