The Grass Isn't Always Greener On The Other Side, But It Is In Ireland! Past Review

By (Providence College) - abroad from 01/01/2012 to 05/19/2012 with

IFSA: Galway - National University Ireland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so much from my experience abroad. I met a lot of new friends, who were both American and Irish. These are friends who I have kept in contact with, and will continue to keep in contact with for a long time. I also became immersed in a culture and was able to live in a country that I came to absolutely adore. I hope that one day in the near future I will have the opportunity to move back to Ireland for awhile. Most importantly, however, I was able to grow tremendously as a person through this experience. I have become much more independent and have learned to take more risks and push myself out of my comfort zone. It is important for me to note that I was extremely nervous about going abroad. I have always been a home-body and was worried about getting really homesick during my five month stay. Regardless, I had the most amazing experience. I was not someone who was cut out to be away from home for so long, but I did it and grew a lot as a person. Because of this, I would recommend studying abroad to anyone and everyone who has the opportunity to do so.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Providence College National University of Ireland
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The course load at the National University of Ireland was not as constantly demanding as it is at Providence College. However, it is very different and requires you to think more personally about the material you're learning in class. I have never had to write papers in college before about my personal views and opinions regarding class material, which made some of my assignments quite difficult and confusing to complete. I liked it though because it made me think about information differently than I have in the past. I also liked how we weren't required to purchase textbooks because the professors made sure copies were available in the library.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The IFSA-Butler staff was helpful throughout my entire experience. A specific instance is described in greater detail in another question.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I liked the housing that I was given. I lived in a two story apartment complex. My apartment had three other girls in it aside from myself. I shared a room with one other girl, who I ended up becoming very close with by the end of the semester. Each bedroom had its own bathroom and was quite spacious. The only issue we had was with the hot water. There wasn't always enough hot water for everyone to get a hot shower everyday. This wasn't a huge issue in my apartment, but I know it was for a lot of other people.

* Food:

Our program and school did not offer a meal plan. However, there were multiple grocery stores near our housing complex and the school had a variety of food options all over campus.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved the people in Ireland. They were always extremely nice and welcoming, which surprised me. Two of my close friends in Ireland were Irish boys who lived with two of my American friends. It was really great to hang out with them and their other Irish friends. Being able to hang out with Irish people really made my experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I was abroad I was involved in an accident that resulted in my admission to the emergency room. The staff at the hospital I was admitted to were very nice and understanding of my situation. They did a wonderful job at helping me remain calm and contacting my family in America. The IFSA-Butler staff was also very helpful. They remained in constant contact with my parents and dealt with my medical bills. I also developed a sinus infection while abroad. The medical center was extremely helpful. They had nurses and doctors on site who examined me and wrote me a prescription for antibiotics. My prescription was very inexpensive and the entire process was easy.

* Safety:

We were given information on who to contact in the case of an emergency, if we had any concerns, etc. After my involvement in the accident, the staff notified the rest of the students in the program throughout Ireland about it. They provided them with more information on being safe.

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)

It was much easier than I thought to live on a student's budget.

* 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? $50-$100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make sure you save a sufficient amount before going abroad. Once you arrive, be sure to create a budget for yourself. Set aside money that you want for traveling, and then create a weekly budget. It really helps, it was the way I got myself through.


* 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?
  • I really enjoyed the trips that the program provided us with.
  • I liked the housing because in addition to living amongst Irish students and other international students, I was very close to all of my friends and all of the other students in the program.
  • I liked that the staff expected us to be independent because it forced us to learn how to do things on our own.
* What could be improved?
  • I think it would have been nice if we were able to meet the American students from our program who had been studying there since first semester.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how cold it was going to be!