Niamh Kelly

Niamh at the Plaza de España in Seville

Studied Spanish & English at Universidad de Deusto, Spain, in 2021/22 (BA International)

My Erasmus experience has been the most beneficial experience of my life so far. I would suggest the Erasmus programme to anyone who is willing to make an effort to immerse themselves into a new culture.

I studied for 10 months in University of Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, and I was shocked at how quickly I adjusted to life there. After joining the ESN student network online, I managed to make friends from Bilbao as well as Erasmus students before I had even arrived in Spain.

There were moments in the first week where I felt blindsided by communication issues and loneliness, but I soon found that the international community all leaned on one another for advice and we arranged activities together most days. While it was amazing to have that support, connecting with the locals through the college and through extracurricular activities such as danza vasca (Basque dance) classes allowed me to practise my language skills and develop a sense of belonging in this new place. After more than a year of staying at home and studying online, I feel that I appreciated even more the friendships I made and the adventures I had. I was able to learn about Basque culture, and I even studied Euskera, the native language of Basque Country. I travelled all over Spain and also to France, something that I had wanted to do but had been impossible during Covid. By the end of my time in Bilbao, I could honestly say that the city felt like a second home to me, and I have gained a little bit more knowledge of so many parts of the world.

Leah Fitzgerald

Studied Sociology & Politics and English at Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland in 2018/19 (BA International)

By the time I got to Finland everything that could’ve gone wrong had gone wrong. Delayed flights, broken luggage, key to my apartment didn’t work and so on. I was about ready to turn round and go back to Ireland.  And then orientation week started, and I changed my mind immediately.  My experience in Finland was incredible; I met people that I know I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.  I took classes that were interesting and different and gave me a different perspective. Not only was I immersed in Finnish culture, but in the cultures of all those who were also international students. I participated in my first Passover, Ramadan and Sitz (a traditional Finnish students’ academic dinner party), I volunteered with the Swedish People’s Party during the parliamentary elections, I learned to salsa dance, I learned to cook Chinese food with my neighbour …


Going on Erasmus allowed me the opportunity to travel. I travelled to 15 different countries, both with friends that I made during my studies and by myself. It’s an experience, both for learning and culturally, that I would never want to take back. I couldn’t recommend it more, and I would definitely recommend going to Finland - it’s a beautiful country with incredible people.

 

Emma O'Reilly

Emma with friends at Scheveningen beach in The Hague

Studied History and English at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands in 2018/19 (BA International)

The Erasmus experience is unique to each individual and you get out what you put in.  Be ready to step out of your comfort zone and rise to the challenge.

I spent my year abroad studying History and English at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands and I can say I left a little part of myself in that wonderful city.

I was initially reluctant about integrating into a city where English is not the mother tongue, however both the Dutch locals and internationals couldn’t be any more accommodating.  Groningen’s diverse community allowed me to experience not only the Dutch culture first-hand but to meet people from places from Barcelona to Tokyo.  Swapping the large lecture halls for the small classroom environment provides the perfect opportunity to speak out and voice your opinion with confidence.  Living abroad was a massive learning curve for me, both academically and personally, and partaking in the Erasmus programme offers you a window to a world outside the regular college lifestyle. Whenever you have a free moment, travel with friends, volunteer or just try something new because, before you know it, the year will meet its concluding days. The friends, laughs, photographs and memories are things I will cherish forever.

Patrick O'Callaghan

Patrick visiting Paris

Studied at Kedge Business School, Marseille in 2022 (B.Comm. International)

Studying abroad was an incredible experience as part of my degree.  Arriving in Marseille allowed me to improve my French on a daily basis rather than classroom-based learning. Being able to explore France and its culture through their own language while living in the country was a completely new experience, and of course the Mediterranean weather was also a bonus.

Living on mainland Europe opened so many opportunities to travel around Western Europe. While I was in Marseille, I visited Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Bologna, and Nice, as well as the towns and villages around Marseille.

Kedge Business School gave us plenty of chances to adjust to moving to a new country which made the experience a lot less daunting. We had orientation events, tours of the city and the university as well as societies that organised social events for Kedge students. There were always events going on; nights out, beach sports, day trips around Marseille, and so much more. This made adjusting to the new city and meeting new people a lot easier, which let us make lifelong friends.

The university workload itself had a focus on group work and continuous assessment meaning that we already had a substantial grade before the final exam. I also had the option to choose a range of modules in French or English including Investing in China and Geopolitics, allowing us to explore other interests.

Overall, my Erasmus experience is something that I’ll always look back on with fond memories.

Testimonials from Engineering students

We'd love to receive some contributions from NUI Galway Engineering students who did their placements through the Erasmus programme!  Please send them to erasmus-office(at)nuigalway.ie. 

Testimonials from Medical & Nursing students

We'd love to receive some contributions from NUI Galway Medical or Nursing students who studied or did internships abroad through the Erasmus programme!  Please send them to erasmus-office(at)nuigalway.ie. 

Victoria Petruk

Victoria at Prague Castle on a weekend trip

B.Sc. Biotechnogy student who completed an Erasmus Traineeship at BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences), Vienna in 2019

The 3 months I spent on my Erasmus experience were absolutely exciting and challenge-loaded.  It was a nice change from the usual college rhythm where I could choose my own working and learning style. My lab environment was fast paced and therefore helped me recall huge amounts of college material.  Of course spending this time abroad was a priceless opportunity to meet people and experience many foreign cultures too!  All in all, it was a refreshing educational adventure.  I feel confident to take on 4th year more than ever now.

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