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Our students: Jennifer Ess, European Studies

Jennifer Ess, from Kilkenny, is a 4th year student studying BA in European Studies at the University of Limerick. Jennifer discusses her time at UL in this blog post:

ESN Bochum

What interested you about the course initially?
What I liked most about European Studies was the variety of subjects to study, as well as the inclusion of languages. The broad range of modules interested me because I had an interest in studying many things, and not just one or two subjects. The addition of studying a language throughout the four years was also desirable as I had a keen interest to continue my German.

Why did you choose UL:
I chose UL because of the affordable costs of living, the location of the campus as well as the campus itself, and the facilities that UL offers. The course itself also seemed unique in what it was offering.

What is the course like? Which modules do you enjoy most and why?
The course is broad and teaches you about many different subjects. It addresses many different aspects of life, from the sociological to the legal to the political. It gives a very rounded education and prepares students in a variety of ways, teaching them different skills in a number of disciplines.

I enjoyed many of the modules I chose, but the ones I liked the most were about politics, history and German. I always enjoyed studying German and wanted to continue that, and I was glad that the classes were interesting, and the lecturers were very helpful as I have continued my study of the language.

The politics modules varied from current events and how political systems work, to more nuanced studies of political thought which broadened my views and made me question the ideas I had formed until now, as well as expand on them. History has always been an interesting subject for me, and I loved learning about the different time periods of Europe and how it led to our time.

What do you enjoy about the course?
I enjoy the variety of classes that the course offers and how it does not limit you to one or two subjects. It has provided me with several opportunities, the most important ones being Erasmus and Co-op.

It has also allowed me to create strong friendships with the people in my course as well as from other courses. The Language Learning Hub is a great resource for language students and allows students to embrace the language even further. The Glucksman Library also provides excellent support for students, and the addition of the new extension has improved the services even more.

What do you enjoy about UL and what the student life is like here?
There are many Clubs and Societies available for students to join, and there is something available for everyone, ranging from highly active sports to more relaxed social gatherings to discuss films and hobbies. Student Life also organise many events for students, one of the biggest being Charity Week. The atmosphere in UL is very welcoming and open to students, and there is always something to do.

Tell us about your Erasmus experience
I went to the Ruhr Universität Bochum in Germany for 6 months. I travelled a lot while I was there, mostly to cities that were close to me such as Aachen, Essen and Düsseldorf. I travelled to cities and towns that were in the Nordrhein-Westfalen region as I had a travel pass, and there were many cities to explore.

I really enjoyed my Erasmus experience in Germany. While I was there I made many friends with people from all over the world and got to experience a new area of Germany with them. I embraced the German culture and language and really tried to immerse myself in the country while I was there. While German universities are quite different to Irish ones, the support structure at my ERASMUS university was fantastic and helped me with any issues I had such as accommodation, organizing my classes and organizing trips to local areas.

Where did you go on Co-Op?
I went to Dreamlines GmbH in Hamburg, Germany, for 6 months. It was my first time in a professional environment. It gave me new experiences, prepared me for future employment, and gave me confidence and independence as I was living abroad alone for the first time. I improved many skills while on my placement such as teamwork and communication, and learned new skills due to my role.

What was your role?
I was a Content Management Intern, maintaining the cruise data of the website and making sure the information was correct, as well as adding new information and cruises to the site.

I worked in a team of Content Managers and other interns dedicated to the Australian website. I also worked with teams from the other countries, as well as supported the Marketing and Product teams.

What skills did you acquire?
Technical (I learned to use new computer programmes specific to my role), teamwork, communication, analytical and problem-solving skills.

In what way has it prepared you for your future career?
I am now more prepared in knowing what is expected of me in a work place, and what it is like to work in a professional environment. I improved my team work skills immensely, as there was a heavy emphasis and need for cooperation and communication to be able to meet our targets and complete our goals. I learned to dedicate myself to my work and to maintain my motivation for 6 months. I took great pride in my work and wanted my team to succeed. I learned to take initiative and attempt to solve issues before seeking out help, but also learned that if I could not solve something help was available to me.

My work placement will help me in future employment due to the skills I learned regarding content management, as well as the other skills I gained or improved on. I am now more prepared for a professional setting and a career with an international and, more specifically, European focus.

Find out more about BA in European Studies at the University of Limerick

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