Class Optional. Pub Mandatory. Snapshot of Cows Obligatory. Past Review

By (English and Classic, Trinity University) - abroad from 01/01/2012 to 05/19/2012 with

Arcadia: Galway - National University of Ireland, Galway

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was totally worthwhile. I learned about a new culture and gained a new perspective on life. The Irish have a very distinctive character and are fascinating to interact with. Their outlook on life is much less driven than the american outlook. Ireland definitely got me to relax about my impending graduation in May. As bad as it sounds, I have a new found appreciation for social drinking. I'm not talking about getting smashed every night, but just a few drinks with friends.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Classes at NUIGalway we relatively easy and the work load was much less than at home.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration of Arcadia in Ireland was super fantastic! They were very helpful and provided lots of support. They planned a few weekend trips that were a lot of fun!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in student apartments with at least one other irish student. It was great having that interaction. However, the irish students have a different standard of living (i.e. different idea of what is clean and how to clean) than the american students, so that was a bit of a culture shock/annoyance.

* Food:

Since we lived in apartments, we had to cook our own food. However, when ever we had dinners with the Arcadia staff, the food was very good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt pretty integrated with the local culture. As I said before, we were living with other irish students and taking classes with the irish students, so we pretty much were normal NUIG students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any major issues. There was one time when I got pretty sick for one-two weeks. I tried to go to the health center on campus, their system is different from mine at home so I was confused on how to use it (like my university's health center is just a walk in, where I think their's you have to make an appointment--which I didn't know how to do). But I wasn't to terribly sick, so I didn't really put in much effort to figure out their system.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in Galway. Its a pretty small city and everything was in a 15 min walk of each other. I felt safe walking back from the pubs at 1 in the morning.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

4. Groceries were pretty cheap, about 30 euro every 2-3 weeks. Travel is cheap if you take the buses, which are the main mode of transport anyways. Drinks, on the other hand, are relatively expensive in Ireland compared to Britain (about 5 euro for a pint of beer and 6 euro for a mixed drink).

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30-40 euro
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't splurge on fancy food at the grocery store. I basically lived on beans and pasta for three months. The money I saved on food allowed me to participate more in cultural activities (i.e. pubs and drinking...that is really the culture) and to travel more (I took trips around Ireland almost every weekend and then a month long trip around Europe when classes ended). Fly aerlingus! Ryan air is super cheap, but can be tricky to use. Aerlingus is slightly more pricy than Ryan air, but you get a much better service on this airline than on Ryan. Also, its an irish company! Support Ireland!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Full integration into the campus
  • travel opportunities
  • Host Family weekend
* What could be improved?
  • More host family time!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will gain weight, even though you are walking all day, the Irish butter will get to you! But it is soooo delicious. Also, class attendance is totally optional. Most of the Irish students didn't go to class.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.