All posts, Erasmus & study abroad stories, Students, Undergraduates

My adventure of a lifetime

By Muireann Murtagh

Despite the long journey that divides my two homes (I’m from Longford), I am so happy to study in UL. I really enjoy my course, in which I focus on French and Spanish, because it is everything I ever hoped it would be. It has given me the chance to work in Paris and to study in Spain, it has given me amazing friends and incredible memories, it’s challenging and it pushes me to work hard and learn constantly. It’s exactly what I wanted.

This time four years ago, I was preparing for a journey to UL for one of the open days. My parents, who met at UL and who had brought me here on previous journeys to Limerick, drove down with me one Saturday morning in October. My first impression was, “Wow, it’s really brown.” My second impression was simply, “Wow.” We walked around campus, we attended some course talks, I collected a prospectus and a few information leaflets, and I looked around at the people who were my potential classmates and friends. I was far too shy to speak to anyone. No-one from my school was even considering coming to UL. Nevertheless, the course was perfect, the university was beautiful, and the city was cosy – what more could I want?

Then, I didn’t even know all the other wonderful things about UL and Limerick. It took a few weeks to settle in, but the things that helped me were such small, simple little actions. I started going for coffee with people from my course, who turned into my best friends. I joined a host of clubs and societies, and the people I met there turned into more wonderful friends. I pushed myself to venture outside my comfort zone – and soon enough I was wearing a onesie outside the library, in the middle of the day, standing with two fellow International Society committee members who were dressed as animals, and we were offering free hugs to students in order to encourage them to vote in the student referendum. Soon, I was seeing faces I recognised and remembering names. In a matter of weeks, UL changed from a university into a community, and I loved it.

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Morning mist on the Shannon, seen from the Living Bridge

My year abroad was an incredible adventure, full of travelling and exploring. I became an honorary Parisienne and Salamantina, walked every inch of Paris and tried as many varieties of macaron that I could, fell in love with the cobbled streets and living history of Salamanca, and promptly infuriated my friends and family with stories that started “When I was in Paris/Salamanca/Toledo/Madrid/Frankfurt/Berlin/Milan…” (Warning alert here – if you’re going on Erasmus, it’ll happen to you! I ended up telling people that I couldn’t help it if I had had an amazing year, and sorry-not-sorry for telling cool stories.

UL is awesome, I’m so incredibly glad that I came here, and if you do… you’re in for the adventures of a lifetime.

muireannMy name is Muireann Murtagh, and I am a fourth-year student of Applied Languages. I am 21 and I am from Longford. Despite the long journey that divides my two homes, I am so happy to study in UL. I really enjoy my course, in which I focus on French and Spanish, because it is everything I ever hoped it would be. It has given me the chance to work in Paris and to study in Spain, it has given me amazing friends and incredible memories, it’s challenging and it pushes me to work hard and learn constantly. It’s exactly what I wanted.

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