In Ireland, Student Ambassador Mpho from South Africa has found a continual source of encouragement and reinforcement from her fellow students. She is holding onto these brilliant moments, knowing all too well how quickly they can pass!

Making the journey

My journey with University College Cork (UCC) began last year when I was looking for the perfect programme for me! I would soon find this very course, in the ever-green Ireland! I eventually summoned the confidence to apply, and when I was approved, I was overjoyed. On the 1st September 2021, I said my goodbyes to my family and friends and boarded a plane to discover the wonders that this place had to offer. After what felt like the war of the century (that included being held at the Dubai Airport for 24 hours), I eventually landed at Dublin Airport and straight away boarded a bus to Cork City. Ireland was just how I had expected it to be, lush and very green. Having seen this from my airplane, I slept the whole bus journey, and when we arrived in Cork City, it was too dark for me to appreciate what was around me. 


OR Tambo National Airport (photo: Mpho)



Exploring all that Cork has to offer

The next day, I was fortunate to meet up with Sam, a fellow South African, and we went for a tour about the city, taking in everything it has to offer. It certainly didn’t let us down! Later that week, we met up with a group of international students and were able to receive a nice tour of the city, including my first visit to University College Cork. That day, I’m quite sure we all dropped half our body weight; talk about a hard walk! Hearing everyone’s experience and learning about their backgrounds piqued my interest in continuing my journey. Some of my new colleagues’ countries were unfamiliar to me, so I began adding them to my list of places to visit. It was incredible how quickly everyone was able to connect with one another. We’d all travelled from our home countries and were eager to find ourselves in a new environment, where we’d form lifelong friendships, all because we dared to take a risk!


UCC – Fantasy land of myths and legends!

“Harry Potter!” was all I could think when we finally got a tour of the UCC campus. I couldn’t believe how much this place reminded me of a fantasy movie, and I loved it! The school legends just added to the realism. “Don’t walk across the quad to the President’s door, or you might not graduate,” our tour guide warned. “Everyone who stands on top of this insignia becomes pregnant or causes someone else to become pregnant,” she added. And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, how to avoid failure and pregnancy in true UCC style. As we began lessons, I was fortunate to meet new people who have been a continual source of encouragement and reinforcement that life is worth the journey. My time at UCC will undoubtedly be memorable, and I am relishing every moment since. If history is any indication, this year will fly by. 


UCC Campus (photo: Mpho)


UCC international students (photo: Mpho)











Mpho is studying an MSc in Food Business and Innovation at University College Cork