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Study abroad: my sports experience in Ireland

July 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

Sports fanatic? Madie Edwards, our US and UCD Ambassador, shares her experience of studying abroad and the sports she’s had the opportunity to take part in – from soccer playoffs to Gaelic Football in China…

Soccer (Football)

One of the main reasons I came to Ireland was not only to study, but also to continue doing what I love: playing soccer. I have been playing all my life, and was fortunate enough to get a soccer scholarship to play in college during my undergrad studies, back in the States. I am pleased to say hard work pays off and I was able to do this again, here at UCD. Having the opportunity to represent my school has always been something special to me; I take great pride in this.

Here at UCD we play in the fall, a few games in the league, WSCAI. After Christmas, things kick off again and we play indoor soccer, or futsol. We made it to National Qualifiers, only missing out by one match to qualify for the international games, being held in Turkey. While this was disappointing, there is still much to be played for. We have the league playoffs coming up, and then the cup playoffs for the league as well. We have intervarsities at the end of March, which is a big competition against all schools in Ireland, including ones outside of our league. It is a big commitment, with two practices a week, and a game a week (sometimes home at UCD, sometimes away, requiring travel) but it is all worth it playing with some awesome girls and representing my school.

…sports in Ireland, from my experience have been incredible. I have gotten to travel the world and meet some amazing, kind human beings who some of which I now consider very good friends.

GAA (Gaelic Football)

Before arriving in Dublin I received an email about playing another sport I had never heard of, but I hardly noticed this. What caught my attention was the chance to play in Shanghai, China. I kept this in mind and decided to attend an informational meeting about Gaelic football. I got dates about tryouts, and information about the trip, a chance to again represent the school in China, playing in the 2016 Asian Gaelic Games. I attended tryouts, having zero knowledge about the sport at all (I meant to YouTube some videos to see what it is like, but totally forgot), but decided why not? I had heard from some teammates/friends that it is similar to soccer/handball/basketball, and having a soccer background put me at an advantage.

I made it through the first round, then the second, only finding out about a week later I had made the team and would be going to Shanghai, China as part of the UCD International Gaelic Football team. The experience was incredible, and we ended up coming in second in our division. While losing in the final was very disappointing again, our team did amazing considering the fact about 7 weeks before, only about 3 of us 12 girls actually had heard of the sport. We had a blast and got to have a once in a lifetime experience, which was something, I will never forget.

All in all, sports in Ireland, from my experience have been incredible. I have gotten to travel the world (more to come) and meet some amazing, kind human beings who some of which I now consider very good friends. Anyone coming to Ireland, I would strongly suggest going out and joining a team, even if it a sport you have never played, or have never even heard of! It will be worth it in the end. I cannot wait to see what else is in store for me in the sporting world, here in Dublin, Ireland.

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