Life as a business student in Galway, Ireland

James Bligh

Picture in your minds for a moment a college which is the complete opposite of Villanova, and then you can begin to get a view of the college I attend in Galway, the National University of Ireland, Galway. Think little work and lots of partying, and a surrounding city that embraces having a good time, no wonder this school was voted Ireland’s University of the Year. You are probably thinking to yourself that this is some sort of dream land which I am making up in my head, but for the past two and a half months this college students dream land in Galway, Ireland is where I have called home.

A normal day for me begins usually around 9:45 a.m when I awake and get ready for class which at the earliest begins at 11a.m. Now, you are probably wondering why I wake up so early for a class at 11. Well, being that I am a sophomore, I got forced into living in a homestay with a family. According to Villanova, I was not mature enough to live in an apartment with the juniors from Villanova studying at NUIG, so instead of being able to wake up around 10:45 and walk 10 minutes to class, all the sophomores, like myself, have to wake up early enough to walk 30-45 minutes to class or catch a bus which never comes on time. Besides from being far from school, the fact that in each of the homestays there is a “fake” set of parents which on numerous occasions have tried to act like my real parents has made the experience in the homestay the only negative of my time in Ireland. But don’t let that small negative scare you away from studying abroad in Ireland because the fun and amazing sites I have experienced outside of the house has made my decision to come abroad one of the best decisions of my life.

I am not going to go into detail about the five classes I take, but most meet twice a week for an hour with little, and I mean little, to no work due till the end of the semester. During our orientation, the director of NUIG told us to not worry about grades and to use our time here to become engrossed with the Irish culture which drives the city and people of Galway, and so I have. Now, I have been reading and going to class regularly in order to keep up with the lessons being taught, but attendance is not mandatory, so if you don’t feel like going to class, you don’t have to go. I worked my schedule out so I have off on Friday’s to play golf on the amazing golf courses around or to visit places like the Guinness Factory in Dublin and the Blarney Stone in Cork.

After class, which you can choose whether or not you want to go to, the real fun begins. Galway is a city which caters to the needs of its college students, drinking and partying needs that is. Being that I am only 19 years old, I got a preview of what it feels like to be 21 in the states, and it is a great feeling. You can begin the night as early as you want right on campus in the College Bar, think the Connelly Center with lots of alcohol. Then, after your drinking on campus, you can make your way to one of the numerous pubs in Galway which have live traditional Irish music and typical American cover bands playing nightly. If you want to continue the party, you can head over to one of the many clubs which play typical American dance music, but on any given night you can here Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” played at least three or four times. The clubs close around 2:30 a.m, but the party never stops in Galway if you don’t want it to. When you finally decide to go to sleep, you can wake up in the morning and if you choose, do it all over again.

So, I hope that gives you an idea of what a typical day for most of my fellow sophomores and I feels like. You might still think the day I described is make believe and can’t possibly be true. Don’t worry, I still pinch myself every morning just to make sure the fantasy land I have lived in for the past two and a half months is not a dream, and then I can’t help but smile! I am 19 years old, in Ireland, and having the time of my life.

To contact James about his study-abroad experience, e-mail him at [email protected]. For more information about studying in Galway, contact the Office of International Studies at x9-6412.