Culture Through Galway Past Review

By (Marymount Manhattan College) - abroad from 08/28/2017 to 12/20/2017 with

College Consortium for International Studies (CCIS): Galway - National University of Ireland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about my ability to adapt. I went to think unfamiliar country completely alone. I was able to make friends and travel with them, but I also trusted myself enough to travel alone. I appreciated how welcoming the country is and I certainly left with a more positive attitude about life, a habit I certainly picked up from the people there. I also learned to love what I have in America and to appreciate it much more. I missed a lot of my regular, everyday life that I may have taken for granted in the past.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I liked the courses I chose to take, although I felt that there were not enough offered for international students that would be a cultural experience. I took European Women's Studies and I don't feel that I learned very much in the class. I would have enjoyed opportunities to take courses focused more on exploration or food or culture. There were certainly ones offered that covered the history of Ireland, but they did not fit the cultural experience I was hoping to get while I was there.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very sweet and held many events throughout the semester for international students. They always made sure to keep visiting students informed of what was happening in the college.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Corrib Village, a complex of apartment-style dorms just off of the main campus. They were advertised to be close to the school, which was certainly convenient when I had to go to class, but they were not close to the city center. I wanted to go abroad to get a cultural experience, which was often difficult because the walk to historic Galway took near 30 to 40 minutes some days. I also wish they had advertised that this was primarily a dorm for national first-year students, so as a visiting student who is a senior, I felt very out of my element living in a complex occupied mostly by much younger students. From what I understand, there are other accommodations that are much more conveniently located to school and the city center, though they can sometimes be difficult to find.

* Food:

The food in Galway is so delicious. There are so many different options. I appreciated that not too many of them are very expensive, as I was on a budget while I was there. The traditional Irish cuisine was delicious and could be found in abundance, but there were also many international options, such as Asian and Italian cuisine. There were also some vegetarian and vegan options, which I particularly appreciated because I am a vegetarian.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved the culture and felt like I got a good taste of it, however I feel that I would have a better connection to the culture of Galway if I had the opportunity to live closer to the city.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got a really bad infection in my ankle that left me unable to walk, and the free healthcare available at the university was very helpful. They were able to prescribe the medications I needed immediately and offered a pair of crutches to me until I was able to bear weight on my ankle again. It was scary to get injured while I was away, but they made me feel very safe and taken care of.

* Safety:

The local garda is very accessible and competent. The university always felt very safe, as did the city.

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

I absolutely fell in love with Ireland, but I think if I had another opportunity, I would have gone to another country. I chose Ireland because of my ancestral ties and my family who still lives there, but I feel like I would have been better able to explore more of Europe if I had studied in continental Europe.


* 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 found that I got overwhelmed with the finances of studying abroad and certainly spent more money than I should have. It was hard to refrain from spending money to go out and meet new people even though I often wanted to save some of it.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200-250
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Set aside a weekly budget and categorize it. X amount for food, X amount for going out, X amount for traveling, etc. Its very easy to get caught up and spend more money than necessary.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I chose to take an intensive style course to learn the Irish language (Gaelic). Although it was difficult, I felt I had wonderful support from my professors and tutors and left with a very great understanding of the language. Outside of class, however, everyone spoke English, which certainly helped with the transition.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you choose to take the course, be proactive and make sure to stay on top of your studies and practice. Otherwise, time can catch up with you and the exam can creep up on you. It's wise to stay on top of it and try to connect it to your everyday language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Food
  • Traveling
  • Learning about my family history
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Class options
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I packed way too many things. Packing light would have certainly benefitted me in the end, as I bought things in the different countries I visited and struggled to fit them all when I had to fly home.

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.