Posted by: claire.mangine | February 8, 2013

Post Two

See, guys?! I told you there would be a post soon! Thanks for your patience.

Let me introduce to you…Kelsey. My first official student interview.

 Kelsey, a fellow Bonnie study abroad girl, is basically my 6th roommate. She’s at our house all the time, but we embrace it. And so does she. Somehow our conversations always end up involving Europe or traveling. I can’t imagine why…

Anyway.

Here’s Kelsey’s story:

Home University: St. Bonaventure University
Study Abroad Destination: Galway, Ireland
When traveled: Aug- Dec 2011 fall semester
Program Traveled with: SUNY Albany exchange program
Program Rating out of 10: Very low
University Attended: National University of Ireland at Galway

Claire: What was your living arrangement In Galway? Were you in a home stay or a dorm or apartment?
Kelsey: I lived in an apartment off campus, it was considered off campus housing. It wasn’t through the school in Ireland, the study abroad office suggested it, but it was pretty much all students. It’s called Cuirt Na Coiribe.

Can I get in here and interrupt for a second, even though we’re just one
question in? Thanks. I actually stayed in this apartment complex on the first
night I was in Ireland on spring break-the semester after Kelsey was there. My
two roommates and other friend (all Bonnies) met up in Cork with another Bonnie, Chris, who was studying in Galway. Chris helped us buy bus tickets to
Galway for later that evening, but the buses just decided to stop running once
we got to Limerick and we were trapped like rats. After cancelling our hostel reservation because we knew we wouldn’t be able to make it before check in time,
we all decided to split a (expensive) cab to Galway and Chris was nice enough to
let us all stay in his apartment! It was modern, spacious, heated and inviting.
Why didn’t we have one of those in Italy?? Sigh. Back to Kelsey.

The View from Kelsey's Apartment Window

C: What was the University like? I just found on their website that there’s 17,000 students and 2,000 international students from 92 countries. Way different than Bonas, I’m guessing? http://www.nuigalway.ie/about-us/the-campus   

K: So different. I wasn’t used to a campus of that size. It took me a week and a half probably to get used to it, and that’s only after a few Irish guys that were students showed us around to our classes.Mainly everyone there was Irish. There were some Europeans and Asians, but less than half of the students were American. In most of my classes I was the only American student.

C: Why did you rate the SUNY Albany program as “very low?”
K: The professors there were not as helpful as they are at Bonas. No one from the program asked us once how we were doing. They didn’t plan anything for us, unlike some other schools that sent their students out to dinners. No one even got us from the airport.

C: Well. That’s not great to hear. Moving to more positive thoughts, tell me where else you traveled to and what your favorite place was?
K: I went around Ireland to Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Belfast. I also went to Italy and The Netherlands. My favorite cities were Galway, because there were a lot of college students and it wasn’t too busy like Dublin, and Rome because there was so much to see and it was beautiful there!

Kelsey in the Colosseum in Rome

C: What was your favorite part of the whole experience?
K: I loved it all. It made me a lot more independent. I’m more willing to try different things now.

C: What was your least favorite part?
K: Probably getting used to the campus. I didn’t have to deal with a language barrier so that helped. The first day of classes I was completely lost and was 20 minutes late to class because the campus was so huge. Each class has 150 students in it. I was used to small classes at Bonaventure and knowing all my professors.

C: Anything else you want to share? Any advice you want to tell prospective study abroad students?
K: Sure. As for advice, try to meet other people who aren’t from the school you came with. I noticed that some people didn’t branch out from their school friend group and I don’t think that’s the best way to handle the new situation. Also, if you have the money to do it, do it. Why not? Studying abroad was the best experience of my life and probably favorite experience of college.

Thanks Kelsey!!!

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