Name: Miklas Esch 29/06/2014

University, Country: University of Limerick, Ireland

Erasmus Exchange Program of the University of Wuppertal

Duration: September 2013 until May 2014

I spent two semesters in Limerick studying at the University of Limerick. The idea of studying abroad was quite spontaneous, to be honest. Since I started studying English language and literature and sport science I knew that I would go abroad sometime during my studies in Wuppertal. A sheet of information about studying abroad in the department of English literature in Wuppertal caught my attention so I started applying for the Erasmus Exchange Program of the University of Limerick in Ireland.

A good way of preparing yourself is to have a look at the website of the University of Limerick. You can have a look at the different courses and modules which you might be interested in. In terms of living in Limerick you can choose between on-campus and off-campus accommodations. The on-campus accommodations are maintained by the college whereas the off-campus accommodations are owned by landlords. The rent per month is the main difference between these two. For myself, I chose living in an off-campus accommodation because it is a lot cheaper. However, off-campus accommodations are less big but more affordable. I lived in a small estate besides the campus in a little house with three Spanish people and one Indian guy. The houses are in a good condition and well equipped. The estate is called Elm Park, it is literally just across the street and approximately a 10 min walk away from campus. Whether you choose on-campus or off-campus accommodation, it is a very good way of getting to know new people from different countries over the world. I loved living with international people just to get to know different cultures. It was a great experience to have a look at how people do things just in a different way like cooking or planning the day and organizing the weekend. We often had dinner together or went to town by bus for lunch or shopping.

You have many convenient ways of going to town. You can go by bicycle, by bus or even by feet. In Limerick are several bus stops and bike shops where you can buy bicycles for reasonable prices. A one way bus ticket costs between 1.40 and 1.90. Limerick is a nice city in the south-west of Ireland, around 60 thousand people live in Limerick. Limerick is a typical Irish city and the fourth biggest of the country. There you can find several pubs and bars but also great variations of grocery stores. Ireland’s biggest river Shannon crosses the city center of Limerick. The city was found in 1199 and is one of the oldest cities of the country. By visiting the Limerick castle you can witness the medieval touch of the city.

The University of Limerick is settled in Castletroy which is a suburban area of Limerick city. It is roughly 7 km away from the city center. In Castletroy there are lots of grocery stores like Aldi or Lidle, pharmacies, barbers and so forth. Literally mostly everything you need. The University of Limerick is spread through a huge campus with many different facilities. The campus is connected by a bridge which you can walk over or cycle. The University of Limerick is famous for its sport facility. It is known as the national sport campus in Ireland. On the campus you can find lots of pitches for a huge range of sports like hurling, Gaelic Football, soccer, hockey and even tennis. It also contains a big 50 m swimming pool where you can practice your swimming skills or just go for a cooling, besides the swimming pool you have a big arena with a gym and an indoor running track. When I arrived in Limerick and walked over the campus for the very first time I was literally impressed by all that because for a sport student this is a great possibility to try out new things like Irish traditional sport. Through the sport I got to know many new people and especially Irish people who played soccer or Gaelic football. It is also very interesting to watch hurling or Gaelic football matches in college when it comes to the national college league in Ireland. Hurling and Gaelic football are the biggest sports in Ireland so they receive a lot attention by students, parents and other people. So even during a college league game there is great atmosphere on campus.

Studying in Limerick is quite different to Wuppertal as you might have expected. You can choose your courses throughout a distinct variety from literature to physics, chemistry and sport science or physical education. A module usually contains a lecture and a tutorial and also a laboratory. In a tutorial you practice and deepen the material you learn in the lecture. When you choose modules from the sport facility you always have a laboratory where you achieve awareness about the practical things which will be discussed in the lecture. To give you an example, in the first semester I chose “net games” as a module and in the lecture we talked about all the net games which exist and how they can be applied. The lab has its purpose in approving your individual skill within these games. During the semester you have to hand in papers or other projects like group presentations or group essays. The grading system in UL splits the final grade into these kind of things and the final exam. For example when you have two essays and one final exam at the end of the semester. The essays may count 40 percent and the actual final exam counts 60 percent. I experienced this as a good way of grading students work because although you might have a bad day during the final exam you already could have achieved points through the work you have already done during the semester.

Alongside studying and doing sport you definitely have lots of time to travel. Travelling in Ireland is very convenient because everything is close to each other and in general Ireland is not too big. Beyond any question the best way to travel is taking the bus. At the one hand it is affordable and also it doesn’t take too long on the road. To give you another example Limerick is in the very west of Ireland and Dublin is located in the east of the island. When you take a bus from Limerick University to Dublin it lasts about 2 and a half hours and the price is ten euro. There are many bus lines to for the east-west and the south-north routes. Personally, I did a lot of sport during my time in Ireland just because there are so many possibilities and it just felt great to do sport with friends but equally I spent a lot of time traveling with my friends throughout the whole country.

Without any doubts and without any exaggeration this year was the best one during my studies so far. I have met so many new people throughout the year. Some of them became very good and close friends. You will make friends for a lifetime which is the best reason to come back after all and visit them again. I can just highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in the English language, in meeting new people from across the globe. Students who love sports in any different varieties will come to a place which is literally just made for this either for academic purposes or just for spending some leisure time. Lastly there is the Irish culture with its amazing people, a very confusing language and the typical Irish mood. I can tell that Irish people are very friendly, open minded and helpful to any people. Irish people have this exceptional ability that they feel when you have a problem. And they try to help solving this problem. Irish people are most of the time very relaxed and look on the bright side of life. Whether going in a pub or going out into town it’s always a great experience to have Irish people around you. I really felt in love with this country and its people and I cannot wait to go back and meet them again.

After reading this text I hope you got a little bit of inspiration to try out studying abroad in Ireland. When you have the chance to do this, just do it, don’t think about and go for it. It simply brightens your personal horizon and gives you the possibility to live in a foreign country and call it “home” at least for a certain time of your life!

Please be aware that Ireland is the country where it rains almost all the time. So make sure to bring enough waterproof clothes. Especially when you go on a hike those kind of clothes is highly necessary. If you do have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me, I haven’t put every information in this report just because it would be boring to read an also a way too much to read.