Kelsey Nielsen

Academic exchange | Maynooth, Ireland

3rd year Arts (Psychology major, Criminal Justice minor)

Where did you live when you studied abroad? On campus accommodation (5-person apartment)

What was the hardest thing when you arrived in Maynooth? I had a hard time getting to the campus, it was first very hard to find where the shuttle picked me up at the airport and then getting a cab from the drop off to the campus as I did not know how to call an Ireland number with a Canadian number. It does not help when your exhausted from travelling.

What was the easiest thing when you arrived in Maynooth? Nothing much was easy as I was so far out of my comfort zone but something as simple as going to the orientation and events made everything easier as I met friends and learned more about the area/school.

What did you find different about studying in an Irish University? The assessment is very different, although this program has a pass/fail system, it is very intimidating as most classes have a final exam of 60% or higher, many of which are worth 80% of your mark. I have had to learn to be more self-disciplined to study throughout the year even though there are no midterms.

Best things about Ireland? It is a fairly small country so to travel from one end to the opposite end does not take long and is easy to do on the train. It makes it very easy to experience all of Ireland.

What do you find most interesting about Ireland? The language and accent. It has taken me quite a while to get used to the accent as some are very strong. However, I did not expect to have so much difficulty with the language. Irish people use a lot of terms and sayings that I have no clue what it means. I am constantly going on google to find the meanings. The names are also very different and hard to get a hold of. For example, Eion is pronounced like Owen or Eithne which is pronounced like Enya. It is very hard but has been fun learning their language.

Most memorable experience in Ireland? I am only a month in and I have much more planned, but my best memories have come from joining the basketball club. This is where most of my friends have come from and we have done lots of travelling around Ireland and staying active.

South Campus

Funniest thing that happened to you in Ireland? Definitely showing up to the wrong class, this campus is much larger than Saint John, so I have gotten lost a few times.

What surprised you most about Ireland? Probably the weather, I knew it would rain a lot, but I was not expecting how warm it would be when it is not raining. It is February and today is 17 degrees and sunny!

Food you miss the most and could not get in Ireland? Spinach dip and Kraft dinner.

What did you miss about Canada when you studied abroad? I miss being in classes that use Canadian examples and concepts.

What do you like most about studying abroad? The pass/fail system! Also, the ability to travel around as it is very cheap within Europe.

How many other countries did you visit when you were studying abroad? I have trips planned to Greece and Germany.

What are your future plans, and has studying abroad made you change your future plans? Once I have done my travelling (Greece and Germany), I will come back to Saint John for the summer however I have not booked my flight yet, so who knows...

Do you have any advice to future students, who may wish to study abroad? Be open to it, there are a lot of challenges when going abroad but it is worth it, you will regret it if you don’t. You’re not alone when you get to your destination country. You will meet many friends and have so much support all around you. You are provided an amazing opportunity through this program, don’t be scared and just try it!

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