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Olivia Wirtanen (NUI Maynooth)

Looking back on my life goals ten years ago, I never would have imagined studying in a more beautiful place. Maynooth has the sights and sounds of a modern town but the soul of a welcoming relative. My childhood was spent in Minnesota, near a village of no more than 300 people. When I first mentioned a Masters degree in Ireland to my parents, their reaction was one of shock and pride.

You could safely assume that I love learning and all the props that come along with the experience. The last five years of my education were spent on my undergraduate degree, finishing with one year in England and two majors tacked on my belt. Adding a wedding to my list of things accomplished in June 2010, my husband and I decided to take the year to decide where our next step waited for us. We met an alumnus of National University of Ireland Maynooth at our local bank and was swept away by the charm in his eyes when he spoke of his home away from home. Desiring a special experience along with our masters, we embarked on the admission process to now proudly call Maynooth the bustling town outside our windows.