The best experience I've ever had! Past Review

By (English, Lynchburg College) - abroad from 08/26/2013 to 12/17/2013 with

ISA Study Abroad in Galway, Ireland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely grew as an individual. I became more independent, sociable, and confident in myself. It was definitely a worthwhile experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

One of the greatest features of ISA is that they have on-site support in every country they send students to! My Resident Director was there for me 24/7, taking my group on excursions and around the city for cultural events, and taking the time to talk to me when I was having a bout of homesickness. With ISA, I had the chance to be independent in a new country while also knowing I wasn't alone. When I went to explore more of Europe with a friend, my Resident Director helped me with the planning, making sure I didn't end up with nowhere to sleep or stranded in another country!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Gort na Coiribe was fantastic! In these apartments, we had a living area, fully equipped kitchen (with pots, pans, dishes, etc. provided!), and a double bedroom. The National University of Ireland, Galway was just a fifteen minute walk away from my apartment and the walk itself was gorgeous, overlooking an expanse of green only interrupted by the River Corrib. You get used to the walk and actually begin to enjoy it! (Though occasionally you'll get soaked by the rain, but everyone does and everyone's used to it!)

* Food:

Shepherd's Pie is a must-have on a rainy day, and you can never go wrong with fish and chips!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Irish are the friendliest people you will ever meet! I quickly came to feel like I belonged. Walking down Shop Street (the main pedestrian cobblestone street in Galway), you see culture all around you, with the buskers singing and the people bustling. You can strike up a conversation with anyone, especially in the Farmer's market on Saturday!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't need health care at any point in time, but I knew of one girl who broke her foot and another who had to visit the NUIG clinic. Our Resident Director assisted them both, and they were well taken care of.

* Safety:

Galway is an extremely safe city! I never felt unsafe. There are always people around and taxi cabs are available (and fairly cheap) if you're heading home late at night, but honestly, there's not much danger in walking home.

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)

Galway was very affordable! I probably spent more than I needed to, but I had saved up specifically for being abroad.


* 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

My Resident Director practiced with us occasionally. I took Beginner's Irish while I was in Ireland, and since it is not the primary language of Ireland, I didn't get much chance to practice it. However, I did learn quite a bit from my course, which taught the language conversationally so that I could communicate with basic phrases by the end of the semester!

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? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Definitely practice everyday - take some time and listen to the CDs of phrases you receive for the course on your walk to and from NUIG! Just listening to it will help your pronunciation and help you remember what you've learned.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Excursions around Ireland
  • 24/7 Support from ISA and the ISA Resident Director
  • Cultural Activities planned throughout the semester
* What could be improved?
  • Being warned to wear hiking shoes to the Aran Islands
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How hard it would be to come home. I didn't expect it, but Galway became a second home, a place that I still miss.

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.