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International study: the Irish impact

February 10, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

Studying abroad is going to change your life – fact. Christine Burnell, our Mary Immaculate College and US Ambassador shares some of the ways that studying in Ireland has impacted on her life for the better…

USA-DISTANCE-670-200A year ago I saved all my pennies and decided to visit and travel around Ireland for a few weeks with a friend. My Mom worried I wouldn’t come home, knowing I was already in love with the idea of staying here. “I promise I will come back”, I told her. “ I will need to at least come back and get my cat.” She rolled her eyes and laughed but I think she knew what was about to happen.

Within those few weeks, many Instagram pictures and clever Facebook posts later, the decision was made. I was moving to Ireland (with my cat) to finish my Bachelors Degree. It was the longest eight months of my life waiting to come back here and probably the longest eight months of my friends lives listening to me talk about it everyday!

It was the best decision I’ve made and has changed my life for the better. So, with that said, here are 5 major things that have made an impact on me since I’ve gotten here.

1. College

The Early Childhood Care and Education Programme at Mary Immaculate College is challenging and engaging and offers modules that provide education in how to teach in diverse language and multi cultural settings. I also go on work placement every semester in a classroom to gain more experience. I now have more confidence in my future teaching young children.

Studying abroad in Ireland goes further than the lectures in the classroom too. Being in the International Society through my college has given me the opportunity to meet other students from all over the world and learn about their cultures as well as travel to parts of the country I haven’t seen yet. I’ve recently enjoyed seeing Northern Ireland and can’t wait for the next adventure!

2. Living in Limerick City

Living in Limerick has also been a learning experience as this past year it has been the City of Culture. Since I’ve been here I’ve enjoyed many events and performances in the community including film festivals, music and street theatre like the Giant Granny (which was literally a giant granny puppet that roamed the streets). Limerick is Ireland’s first city of culture and is becoming well known for it’s traditional and modern events. It allows all living in the city or visiting to experience culture and I am happy I can be a part of it!

3. Getting adjusted

The last four months since I’ve arrived have been one of the best experiences for me but one of the most challenging as well. No matter how much you love the move you just made, it will always take a little bit to get over the break up with your old home. Americans fit in very well in Ireland and are welcomed with open arms but things are just different enough to remind you that you’re not in Kansas anymore. Things like driving on the opposite side of the road, different currency and brands of cereal can have a bigger impact than you think but I know if I were to be in America at this very moment I would be crying to come back to Ireland.


4. College tuition

Studying in Ireland not only has allowed me to experience a new culture, travel and meet many new friends through societies, it has offered me an affordable education I didn’t have access to in America. Many college students are in debt as they graduate and enter the work force and I’m relieved that burden will not be a part of my future if I study here. More money to buy pints and Taytos!

5. Enjoying the Irish

Have you ever heard of the phrase “to make a long story short” ? Well, that is not a thing for Irish people. I find myself having many laughs and listening to some of the best stories I’ve ever heard here! The Irish couldn’t be more hospitable, hilarious and energetic. I’ve met so many amazing people here. They’re one of the biggest reasons I wanted to move. Irish people have so much life, history and passion I wanted to learn about.

So, come study in Ireland! If not come and least have a pint (if that’s your thing), walk in the rain and be among with one of the oldest cultures in the world.

Do you want to study in Ireland? Check out the Education in Ireland website for all the info you need.


  1. Nice work Christine !!! Recently I have completed my diploma in fashion designing and now I am looking for professional degree course in Fashion designing in some well established universities in Ireland. I just searched on internet and thought that this post is useful for me. Can you give me some more information about fashion designing in Ireland.

  2. Wonderful story. It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed your exposure on Irish culture! It is one of the perks that one will have in studying in a foreign land, experiencing something that is totally different from the usual. It’s also good that you were able to enjoy quality education without worrying too much on tuition. Hope your story will encourage others to go and study overseas and experience something wonderfully different.

  3. Great piece of writing. Your way of explaining is very effective.

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