Student Journals: AIFS in Limerick, Ireland

Sara Stewart
Pacific Lutheran University
University of Limerick, Ireland

Cliffs of Moher
Catherine, Sara, Roberta and Sarah looking over the Cliffs of Moher.

I have been studying abroad for almost two months now, and I am having the time of my life. The people I have met, the places I have gone, the memories that I now have are all priceless and will forever be remembered in my mind. I cannot express enough how wonderful AIFS has been with catering to the needs of myself, as well as other students going through the program. We have gone on a number of trips to places like the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle (yes, I kissed the stone and ever since then have been having the best of luck :) ), Cork, and so much more. We were able to go to a traditional Irish music and dance concert called Ragoose a few weeks ago, which was amazing to watch live and in concert.

Blarney Castle
Sara, Catherine, Roberta and Liz at Blarney Castle.

I feel that I am so fortunate to be studying abroad in Ireland. It really is no lie; the Irish are some of the friendliest people that I have ever met. I live in a flat (Plassey Village) with 7 other housemates. Four of them are Irish, and the three others are from Switzerland, Finland, and Germany. With that alone, we are representing five different countries in one household. That in itself is so much fun and exciting. It’s so great to be considered an international student. I must say I have never really been an outsider like this before, so this is one of the most unique experiences I have ever had. At times, it is hard to adjust to the different lifestyles of being the outsider. My American accent already gives it away that I’m not from Ireland (but I am over ¼ Irish, I swear! :) ) . The food is different tasting – peanut butter, ketchup, and chicken pot pies are just a few to name. The classes are set up much differently than they are from my home university. We have 2 hours of lectures a week for each class, plus 1-3 tutorials for each lecture (if that isn’t confusing enough, they are all in different rooms each day!). I’m taking loads of Irish courses, traditional music, folklore, and the Irish language. I really enjoy them for the most part, and I’m so glad I’m taking them because it gives me a better understanding of Ireland, my new home.

I must say that the scenery is magnificent. The postcards, and pictures you may see of Ireland only capture a small portion of the beauty that actually lies here. Overall, I feel so blessed and so lucky to be where I am. It’s not every day that you see sheep, old stone walls, and the greenest of grass all in the course of going on a run for the day. If anything, I am so glad that I have had the experience of being able to explore a different culture and live with people that I know I never would have met elsewhere. Life is about exploring and taking chances, and I feel like I have taken full advantage of that and will continue to be doing so for the rest of my stay here.

University of Limerick