Anita Joann Weber, Spring 2015 Participant
If allow it to, this program can change your life. As with all things in life, the program will be what you make of it but I did not meet a single person there who was not excited to make the most of the opportunity in front of them. I would highly recommend the Maynooth program to anyone looking to study abroad as Maynooth was a wonderful initial adjustment to a new life because the university itself feels smaller and close knit, similar to the environment here at Dayton. Additionally, being in Ireland and so close to all the amazing travel opportunities Europe has to offer was an unbelievable life experience that I highly suggest any and all college students take advantage of.
Mollie Colleen McDaniel, Fall 2015 Participant
Two excerpts from my personal blog (liferesalist.tumblr.com/studyabroad) that pretty much sum it up:
Excerpt 1 Final Post: "I know it's not a last. I'll be back here to this country. I'll see my friends again. I'll travel Europe. After all, a traveler has no end to the list of places they want to go.
I just know I'm sad that it's going to be different...and that I'm going to miss a lot. I'm going to miss the stupid Ryan Air Safety presentation. I'm going to miss the Airport Hopper. I'm going to miss chicken fillet rolls and Guinness that doesn't taste like crap. I'm going to miss Sunday movie nights and Tuesday table quiz. I'm going to miss long talks with Nora and goofing off while I walk next to Emma. I'm going to miss Angela trailing behind us everywhere we walk. I'm going to miss going out with MK and getting on Paul about whatever stupid comment he's just made. I'm going to miss conversations with Cian in random places around Maynooth. I'm going to miss Clare's puns and teasing Fran for looking uncomfortable at everything I say. I'm even going to miss either laughing at whatever comes out of Jack's mouth or just not being able to understand it at all. I'll be sad not to be in a new city in a new country every Thursday to Sunday.
But I know it's not a last. I'll be back to see them all again and I know they'll all come see me. I didn't make it to Amsterdam, but I know I'll be back.
An Taithí. Irish for "The Experience." It feels like last week we were lost in the streets of Limerick or sprinting to our train in Rimini screaming "It's all part of the experience!" (The scariest, most thrilling and exciting experiences of my life thus far). I could sit here and write out everything I've learned, but I think three months worth of blogging has included enough of that."
Excerpt 2 Trip to Budapest: " It's kind of crazy because I've made so many travel mistakes and I've had so many mishaps (many which weren't my own fault), yet I've done nothing but learned. Throwback to Limerick. It really is all part of the experience. I have learned SO much from every single mistake or mishap. I think for a long time I was afraid to make mistakes, but I've been talking myself through these "what's realistically the worst that could happen?" scenarios when I get in those scary moments of confusion. It's never that bad and it's always something that I could look back and laugh about. I totally buzzed into people's apartments at 1am Friday morning thinking I was getting into my friend's building. That's pretty funny–not for those people, but come on.
They say there's a difference between a tourist and a traveler. A tourist gets to their destination. A traveler experiences the journey and may or may not get to their destination. That's how I want to experience this three month adventure. Heck, that's how I want to experience my life. I don't want to wait for the fun when I get there. I want to live every moment of my life experiencing everything and figuring it out along the way. It's scary, but honestly, I really have found comfort in discomfort."
Fall 2016 Participant
To future students studying abroad: Be sure to plan ahead and know what you want to see. Research ahead of time and it will be worth it, but also find the flexibility to explore and let the adventure take you somewhere unexpected. Be prepared to adjust and to enjoy. Some of my favorite memories were spontaneous or coincidental. Maynooth, Dublin, Galway, Belfast, Paris, and Amsterdam were a few of the cities that I was able to explore, and each made me feel a little different. My interactions with each city were somehow so utterly distinctly colored. Be sure to be where you are when you are there- talking to passengers on the train, eating dinner at ladies night at the small, family owned restaurant with my roommates, experiencing the theatrical production of Swan Lake in Dublin, biking through Kildare, and horseback riding with the equestrian club- were a few of many fond memories of I have of the past semester in Ireland. Further, exploring Big Houses alongside my History of the Irish Country House class was extraordinarily thrilling. Additionally, I met such extraordinary people who felt and thought in such a different manner than I had ever witnessed. Simple cups of tea and expresso shots were staples in my memories of lovely afternoons spent discussing the world and each other. It was an adventure of a lifetime with many lessons attached and friendships formed.