Leaving UL

I am writing this blog, knowing that I am going to leave UL and Ireland soon. The past two semesters were the best time of my life. In honor of this amazing experience and my time in UL, I want to give you a recap of my Erasmus journey and the time I spend in Ireland.

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University of Limerick – UL

UL was the most welcoming place I have ever been to. The international office did an amazing job to make sure that we have all the information and support needed to study at UL. After this introduction I had an amazing time at UL. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect about studying in another country, but all the lecturers, tutors, and the fellow students were really nice and helpful if I had questions. The campus is so beautiful and everything is on one place, which makes it easy to walk to lecture halls, get lunch or just hang out with friends.

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Friends

During the whole time at UL I met a lot of Irish and international friends. It really helped with making my whole experience even better. Also it is nice to know that there are similar students who are studying in another country away from home. In addition being part of a club or societies was the best thing ever. At my home university we don’t have things like Clubs & Societies. It is a simple way to meet new people and have a lot of craic. Thanks to my Erasmus experience I now have connections all around the world and many new friends for life.

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Life in Ireland

Ireland is an open and warmhearted country. Of course there are some differences to Germany, but it is also a good way to learn something new about another country and its culture. For example the Irish weather, a good Irish breakfast on a Saturday morning or that the stores are open on a Sunday. My favorite part is that everybody is so polite and helpful and always apologize for everything.

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Adventure – travel

Generally people come to Ireland to travel around and see all the beautiful places. And even though I was here to study I had enough time to travel around a little bit. Also the International Society organized some fun adventures with trips all over Ireland. I enjoyed the wild nature and the beautiful places I’ve been to in Ireland. My favorite trip was the Ring of Kerry. And I know that I have to come back sometime, because there will always be a spot that wants to be discovered.

All in all it was an experience which I will never forget. I learned so much about myself, life and that sometimes you just have to be spontaneous to enjoy the special things in life. Before I say my final goodbye I want to thank all the people I met during my time at UL, the UL Basketball Team, the Trampoline Club, the AHSS Ambassador Program and the International Office for everything they have done for me during this journey. I know that I will miss UL and all my friends. I definitely leave UL with mixed feelings. But I know you always meet twice and I will definitely come back!

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My Co-op in Cologne

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Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student at the University of Limerick. She is currently off campus on her Co-cop placament in Cologne, Germany. Here she gives us a review of her first few weeks away from UL:

“Coop chooses you, unfortunately you don’t get to choose your coop. You select a host destination and the coop office organize interviews for you and you are placed wherever you are successful. For me, I was lucky and got my placement on my first interview meaning I had lots of time to prepare. I am working in a Kindergarten in the German city of Cologne (Köln) and thankfully I love it.

When I began the process of applying for coop I was adamant that I didn’t want to work in a kindergarten after having a traumatizing experience au pairing however I was successful in my first interview meaning that unless I wanted to find my own placement I was off to Cologne.

Come January first  I was on my way to becoming a full time kindergarten teacher. After spending my first month here I am so happy that you are made to take your first offer. The job is so rewarding and I come home everyday feeling a bit tired but never stressed out or unhappy with how the day has been. The working environment is warm and friendly with a real family atmosphere.

For me the biggest thing that I have learned so far from my coop placement is to stay open minded and take every opportunity that comes your way. If I had had the opportunity to turn this teaching position down I would have but now that I am here I am very happy to be spending the next five months in this role!

If I could offer any advice for students thinking about going on coop to a foreign country it would be to remember to be open minded, for me I wanted to go to a bigger city like Hamburg or Berlin and wasn’t so keen on the idea of Cologne a smaller city that I didn’t know that much about. However after being here for the past month I really love it and even have started to prefer it to Berlin. Co-op is all about learning to become an adult and finding out how to take part in the world around you independently and although I don’t think I will pursue early childhood education as a further career I am very thankful to have this opportunity!”

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Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student studying French, German and Politics at the University of Limerick. Last year, Elle took a gap year to improve her language skills and travel around Europe. 

My Erasmus journey at the University of Limerick

By Nadine Kimak

nadineHi my name is Nadine and I’m from Germany. I am studying Social Science and right now I’m doing my 3rd and 4th semester at the University of Limerick.

Every time I meet new people they are really interested in why I chose Ireland and what it is like to be an Erasmus student. Therefore I want to share my story and journey with you.

Let’s start at the beginning. According to my academic studies in Germany I didn’t have to do an Erasmus year. But I could choose to do it. I talked to a lot of people who did an Erasmus and also to a boy who went to the University of Limerick. At the beginning I wasn’t quite sure if I could handle two semesters in another country, with another language in the lectures and a new culture. But I also knew that this was a lifetime opportunity and I didn’t want to blow it. I looked at the website of my home university to find out on which partner universities I could go. When I saw Ireland I knew that this is the one I wanted to go to. I heard so many things about the beautiful Islands, so I applied for the Erasmus spot. Luckily I got the spot and so I packed everything together and came to Ireland.

Landing at the Shannon Airport my first impression was that this is the nicest country I’ve ever been to. Everybody is so polite and offers you help. The orientation week and the first couple weeks just kept getting better and better. And you get to know so many people that it is really easy to fit in. Besides I really enjoy the different lecture and grading system. At first doing everything on English seemed complicated to me. But right now it is harder for me to switch back in German when I am writing an email back home ;).

The best about being a student in Ireland is that you can travel around the island. I know that studying here my priority is on my studies. But joining Clubs and Societies, having fun and going on trips should in my opinion also be a part of the time here at the University of Ireland. Because through that you will meet new people, get to know their culture and make lifelong friends.

So far I enjoyed every second of my journey here in Ireland and I hope that it’s continuing to be GRAND! I wish everybody who wants or has to do an Erasmus semester the best time of their lives.

Here is a short video of my Erasmus journey so fare. I hope you like it.

 

Nadine is an Erasmus student from Germany. She is studying Social Science in Limerick for two semesters. She loves to work with people, do sports and explore Ireland.

Studying Languages: The social degree

By Elle Walsh

I chose to study languages at third level mostly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I knew for that I enjoyed French in secondary school, well I enjoyed talking… to anyone, in any language. I have been “blessed” with the gift of the gab. From the moment I learned to speak I have not stopped. I will to anyone, about anything. I have communication skills in capital letters all over my cv, and similarly too chatty on every school report.  By choosing to study two languages I have no widened my potential pool of potential conversations by 449 million people!

Studying languages at UL has opened so many doors for me. Last year I spent nine months working and living in France. Six of these were spent in the French Alps working in a ski resort and the other three consisted of living on the French island of Corsica looking after two children. I was also lucky enough to spend some time in Berlin, learning about the history and culture of the most amazing city in the world. Without my language skills I would never had put myself in these situations.  Some of which were the best times of my life!

And that is only the beginning of my travelling thanks to my degree, this coming January I will be packing my bags once again to move to Germany to work in a German company for six months. A compulsory part of my course! Then that September I get to study in France for a semester, also compulsory! These are things that so many people don’t have the opportunity to do, but with a language degree in UL it’s just the beginning! Every summer people most of my course migrate to different parts of the world to improve their language skills and soak up the culture! Trips like these are ones that create friendships and memories  that will last a life time.

Although I sit in German grammar classes and wonder what I ever did to deserve a fate like this I would never change my degree for the social benefits that come with it.  I chose to study languages without really knowing if it was right for me, I can say now that it definitely is.  My  degree has given me the ability to form friendships with people I would have never have spoken to and made me feel at home in a foreign country miles away from anyone I knew! This alone without even considering the advantages language graduates have, makes my degree worth while!

This week, the University of Limerick marks Languages Week – check out the full programme here: http://www.ulsites.ul.ie/mlal/ul-languages-week-2016

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Elle Walsh is a 2nd year Applied Languages student at the University of Limerick. Last year, Elle took a gap year to improve her language skills and travel around Europe. This semester she is back in Limerick studying French, German and Politics.