In this blog Caroline reflects on her time in Ireland, how she got here, what she enjoyed, and why you should also take that step out of your comfort zone to adventure!
Are you wondering what this title means? That’s one of the most well-known Irish sayings and means: A good start is half the work.
For me, my Master’s in Ireland was a step out of my comfort zone. After my bachelor’s degree, I knew that now was the time to take a chance, and as a largely English-speaking country, the Emerald Isle is perfect for a year off from everyday life. The University of Limerick caught my eye because of its spacious campus and numerous clubs and societies. And admittedly, unlike Dublin, Limerick also saves a bit of money in terms of accommodation, and food.
So one moment I was sending off my application and the next I was standing at the airport with my parents – ready for Ireland. However, I only realised the whole thing when I was sitting alone on the plane to Ireland. Next to me was a man from Australia, who I chatted with. I have to admit, after the conversation, I briefly wondered whether my English would be sufficient for Ireland. A few months later, I can now definitely say – don’t worry so much! You always manage to communicate and everyone is very open and friendly and tries to help you as much as possible. There is also a special orientation week for international students before the semester with Irish film screenings, dances, treasure hunts and much more. And I can promise you, you will meet so many people from all different cultures that you won’t even be able to remember all their names.
Moreover, everyone is in the same situation and understands you completely. I can safely say that I haven’t felt alone for a single moment that I have spent in Ireland so far. Of course, it’s normal to feel homesick and regret your decision at one moment or another, but the beautiful moments, experiences and adventures make up for it. One of my best moments was a little road trip along the Irish west coast to Lahinch with three friends I met here and now count among my best friends. After a hearty lunch of fish and chips, burgers and a pint, we stopped in Lahinch and walked along the coast. Sometimes the simplest moments are the most beautiful.
I still can’t believe that I’ve been in Ireland for six months now and I’m already sad to say goodbye to my friends here and the university as well as the country soon. But I also know that I have made friends for life and I am already planning my next trip to Ireland in November. At the same time, I have met so many people from all over the world, all of whom I would like to visit one day. Among them are people from France, Italy, Brazil, the USA and Vietnam. So, the University of Limerick is an adventure that definitely won’t disappoint. The only question you need to ask yourself is, are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and experience the adventure for yourself?
PS: Many of my friends have loved UL so much that instead of doing one exchange semester, they now spend two semesters here.