Keep Calm, and Sure It's Grand Past Review

By (Sociology., Barnard College) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 12/14/2012 with

Arcadia: Galway - National University of Ireland, Galway

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about my own strength, and what I am capable of doing. I also learned that it is more valuable to go into strange waters than keep to ones you know. I learned about Ireland and Irish Culture, I learned Irish drinking songs, and pub life. I learned about Paris, Hungary, Sardinia, England, and how wonderful and cheap Ryanair is. Yes, it was absolutely worthwhile experience

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The educational experience specifically, was what I felt the weakest part of the program. There was not that much intensity in classes, and the teachers would not often interact with their students. However, I recognize that this is partially due to just the different teaching methods used in Ireland compared to the US. The library was great though.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our program administrator was wonderful. She organized dinners for us, and would email us at least once a month with different things to do in Galway, and other useful information. She was always there when we needed her, like when someone got sick, and she would check up on all of this.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We had the best housing. We lived in a student village called "Gort Na Coiribe", and while other study abroad students lived by themselves in town, we lived with other Irish students, which most people did not get the chance to do. We all had Irish roommates, and would be included in their get-togethers.

* Food:

In our housing, we would do a lot of cooking for ourselves, which was always fun. Bit when you wanted to go out, Shop Street (the main street of town) had all kinds of wonderful food options. It was great. Save the pricier places for when your parents come to visit.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There was nothing as wonderful, or as simply "Irish"-feeling as the local pubs in town. And everyone you would meet- in class, in town, all over, would just be so happy to meet you and get to know you. My advice is to join a group on campus, and you will have a large party of Irish students who want you to hang out with them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I found the health care to be confusing when the health care office on campus wasn't open. The campus health care system, despite awkward opening hours, is ok, and easy to use. But when it wasn't open, on weekends, I spent 2 hours running around town trying to find a doctor who would see me.

* Safety:

I never felt not-safe. Gort Na Coiribe, our housing village, was very secure and had night guards. Just be smart- don't go wandering around at night be yourself, and don't go looking for trouble.

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)

I lived on about 50 dollars a week. It was very easy to live on this, only I would go shopping and out to eat a lot, which did not help me. However, having 50 dollars a week, and combining with my roommates was very doable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about 50 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? keep track of what your spending, and don't go out to eat more than once a week. Also, keep tabs on how much you're buying at the pubs- it gets pricy really fast.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* 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
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Ireland itself, and all it brings
  • Arcadia's assistance and pre-program orientation
  • the people I met
* What could be improved?
  • the health care
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? not to go crazy with dinners out and drinks at pubs

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.