Student Interview: Audrey (23yo) Reims, France/Limerick, Ireland
Where do you come from and where is your home university?
I come from France and I study at Mary Immaculate College in Limerick. My home university is in Reims, located in the North-East of France.
What is your exchange programme?
I had the chance to come to Ireland thanks to the Erasmus programme.
How long have you been in Ireland?
I came to Ireland in September 2011 so I’ve been there for seven months now.
What do you study in Ireland? And why?
I mainly study English literature. I’ve chosen the courses on Shakespeare and the Romantic period for instance. They are very interesting topics to increase my knowledge in literature since I want to teach that specific subject later.
Why did you choose to come to study in Ireland?
At first my home university asked me to choose between Ireland (Limerick) and England (Canterbury). I finally chose Ireland because I had never been there in my life and also because I knew some of the other students who went to Mary I and they told me that the university and the lecturers were great. So the choice was not that difficult in the end!
What are the things you like most in Ireland?
Well, what I like most are the beautiful landscapes on the West coasts of Ireland. Limerick City is well located and gives you an access to all the natural beauties of the West.
What are the things you dislike most in Ireland?
Most people think that the worst thing in Ireland is rain, or the climate in general. This is not my opinion, I easily got used to the rain! What strikes me the most is the quantity of alcohol people (mainly between 15 and 30) can drink. I think there is a very important issue on alcohol in Ireland, young people drink too much! Moreover alcohol is absolutely expensive! Well that’s my own opinion!
Did you get to know the Irish students? How did you manage to do that?
In fact I don’t mix much with Irish students simply because they don’t seem to be really interested in foreign students, probably because we don’t stay more than a semester or a year. The only Irish students I talk to study French and are interested in French culture and are willing to improve knowledge. I am mainly in touch with other international students who come from all over Europe.
Were there any activities offered by your university or the student organization?
It is true that Mary I is a place to study but it also provides you with opportunities to have fun! For instance the Halloween Ball, or the performance of ‘Grease’ by great singers and actors! It was absolutely delightful! You can also practice sports, mainly in the evening in the sports building at Mary I, lots of activities are proposed such as Yoga, Aerobics, Zumba…
Have you visited the country? How?
Actually I have! I travel every weekend, and I see as much as possible! I know that I won’t be there all my life so I really try to make the best of it! I love visiting peninsulas such as Dingle, and cliffs. I mainly visited natural places in county Clare and country Kerry. A friend of mine has a car and has agreed to share the costs of petrol with the people who’d like to do some visits in Ireland. This is a great opportunity.
What are your favourite leisure activities?
Well this is not my absolute favourite activity but it is pleasant to gather with some friends in a pub from time to time. Having a good pint and a nice chat is really enjoyable.
What do you think about the Irish lecturers in your university? And about the education in general?
I think the lecturers at Mary I are really great. They seem to be happy to do their job and ready to listen to you in case of any problems. It’s important to feel supported as well.
Is there anything in the Education system that you’d like to bring back home?
Oh yes! I particularly like the “informal” type of relationship between lecturers and students. For instance, you are allowed to call a teacher by his name! That wouldn’t happen in France, we have a really formal relationship with French lecturers. But in Ireland, it’s great because you feel that there is some kind of equality between students and teachers, you feel respected and not “inferior”.
What is your best memory of you experience in Ireland?
That’s a very difficult question. I don’t have only one unique good memory of my experience. I think that Ireland is a beautiful country to visit. I don’t regret my choice to come and study at Mary I, it offered me a great experience!
What is your worst memory of you experience in Ireland?
Well it goes back to the very beginning of my stay in Ireland. I wanted to rent an apartment so I managed to have several appointments with different agencies to visit the flats. But the bad surprise was that most of the letting agents didn’t show up for the appointment. I was really disappointed and thought it was unprofessional!
Would you like to extend your stay in Ireland for another year/semester for instance?
Text: Freddy D.
Photo: Freddy D.
- Audrey at Mullagh More Burren National Park © Copyright 2012 Freddy D.
- Shannon River, Limerick, Ireland © Copyright 2012 Freddy D.
- Cliffs of Moher © Copyright 2012 Freddy D.