Ecuadorian ambassador Vanessa Maricruz Pulgarin Auquilla tells us about spreading her wings and flying to Ireland for her MSc on International Public Policies and Diplomacy.

Coming to Ireland

The day I was coming to Ireland, I jumped into my seat on the airplane, put my headphones on and as my favourite band Coldplay sung, “So then I took my turn, oh what a thing to have done, and it was all…” I finished it with a “GREEN!”

I have been lucky enough to travel a lot. However, the feeling of leaving home, my friends, my family and my beloved puppies for longer than a couple of weeks really hit me when I looked out the plane window and I was here, in Ireland, without a return ticket.

However, in that moment I remembered my dad’s wise words; “Fly, and if you feel like crying, well… fly crying.” Luckily, Ireland was love at first sight. The moment I got here, I spread my wings and the wind was full of hope, nature and freshness.

A single crow stands on a rock on in a grassy area


So, what is the first thing you do when you land in a foreign country where you are going to spend the next few months? Smile! A smile goes a long way when picking up your luggage, when greeting the Garda officers, when taking a taxi to go to your accommodation and super important, when you meet your new flatmates.

My flatmates are amazing! We even have plans to travel around Europe for a couple of weeks. We genuinely care for each other and if we see another flatmate busy or worried, we at least would ask what is happening. We invite each other to our various soirées as we know that as foreigners, mutual support is very important when living with different people, from different backgrounds.

Two crows stand in a grassy area


As the weeks go by, I feel more attached to Ireland every day. My heart has stopped being red and now it is green. I love everything I do here, my choice of Masters (which is International Public Policies & Diplomacy), my assignments, my lecturers, my new friends and I even love the feeling of missing my home country. However, I now call Ireland home.

University College Cork

I study at University College Cork. The campus is like a castle, the lecturers are very considerate because they know that I am from South America and that I struggle to understand certain things, mostly in Politics. However, with their help and my classmates’ support (and with a lot of reading), things are easier now.

My second piece of advice is to always read… If you don’t understand, keep calm and read it again. And again. Do not ever feel embarrassed to ask — you are not from here and are allowed not to know everything — no one will judge you because this is what you are here to do; to learn!

A person gives food to crows who stand on the ground and fly towards the person

What next?

So what happens next? I have been here for three months and I know the city and the university well. However, I still wonder what is next? But the answer is simple; to keep flying. There is so much more to see and I have embarked upon this beautiful journey to discover all the other colours and sentiments that this magical country has to offer.