Semester in Galway Past Review

By (Psychology, Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/03/2015 to 05/13/2015 with

Arcadia: Galway - National University of Ireland, Galway

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
While I believe I did gain a lot of independence skills, I am not sure I couldn't have learned them while living in a similar housing situation at my home university. If I could go back and do it again I think I would not have gone abroad at all. I would have been better off staying at my home university.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Students lacked passion, the environment was noncompetitive and lacked motivation. I found the Irish education system to be quite lackluster and perhaps boring at best. This environment is well suited to those who essentially want their study abroad experience to be a vacation from their studies. Personally I found the way students could so cavalierly skip class for a month or two without ramifications to be rather atrocious, and, frankly, a waste of money in comparison to the competitive learning environment I am used to.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia seems to know what they are doing and provide support for those who seek it. Kate Jones in the housing department is particularly helpful and attentive.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was surprised to find the place I was living was rather moldy, did not have hot water on demand, and did not have central heating. It was quite cold. However, the on site staff and security provided comfort and the Arcadia staff involved with housing were very helpful.

* Food:

There was no meal plans of any sort, but the food at the university and in local super markets did not strike me as particularly different, for the most part, than any American college or super market safe for a few regional items.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did make many Irish friends, but it seemed that the American people primarily stuck together.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not visit a doctor at any point while abroad, however I believe I had many recourses available to me,

* Safety:

Galway is a very safe city. I had almost no concerns, although men on the streets are a bit more forward than I have witnessed in the past, and men following women to get them to talk to them is not uncommon.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Food is a bit more expensive in Galway than I have experienced in the US.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Making your own food will be much cheaper than eating out. Be careful on how much money you choose to spend on alcohol.


* 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
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?
  • helpful staff
  • helpful orientation before program
* What could be improved?
  • diversity among accepted body of students (it was my estimated 95% upperclass white american females)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more about the education system how much it differed from my home education system. Another thing that impacted me greatly is that my main hobby -- technical theater -- is practically nonexistent in Ireland due to lack of technology, which I did not expect.