When travelling to different countries around the world, oftentimes one can connect on a deeper, more familiar level to certain places. This was the case for Student Ambassador Brenda Meira who came to Ireland from Brazil and found a second place to call home…

I have been living abroad in Ireland for five years. It is the second place that I can call HOME. I came to Ireland for the purpose of learning and practicing English. I just fell in love with the people and culture. I went to do my undergraduate degree in Marketing Practice at the National College of Ireland (NCI) and now I am living my dream. I am still studying abroad, doing an MSc in Marketing at NCI and working part-time in digital marketing – the sky is the limit. Long-story short, I am letting you know that you can do it too!

My flight to Ireland

Brenda with her mother and sister at Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport in Brazil (photo: Brenda)

I arrived in Ireland on the 1st of August 2016 on a cloudy rainy day (not surprised ?). On my flight over, I met the cutest little red hair girl, Orla aged six, and her family returning from Spain after their summer holidays. I remember she offered me some Tayto crisps. I said “no” to be polite but I wish I had some now! Her and her family were the first Irish people I ever met and talked to, and they proved the fact that Irish people are the friendliest people in the whole world!

My Gaelic football experience

Brenda playing Gaelic football at the Phoenix Park (photo: Brenda)

I did my English course at The English Studio which, at the time, offered free Gaelic football classes at Phoenix Park. For (ye) those who do not know, Gaelic football was born and raised on the island of Ireland. It is a mixture of soccer, rugby, basketball, volleyball and – actually a bit of everything in my opinion. It was a challenging sport in the beginning, I was not familiar with the rules. But after two weeks, I was an expert. And I was able to make many Irish friends, be active and learn about the culture. I would love you to give it a go when you come to Ireland. There are more Gaelic sports you can choose from – the lads could try hurling, and the gals camogie. Whatever your choice, it will help you to connect with new people and stay active (God bless the endorphins). 

My life at National College of Ireland…

Brenda celebrating culture week at NCI (photo: Brenda)

Leaving my comfort zone and progressing to higher education in Ireland brought new experiences; not only was it a new environment but also my first time studying at university level.  I have learned so much studying Marketing Practice at NCI in the past three years. I have improved my English and my academic knowledge; participated in global teams with people from Zimbabwe, China and Kuwait and more; and I have improved my interpersonal and emotional skills.

My biggest advice? Come to Ireland!

Brenda and her new international friends at NCI (photo: Brenda)

Studying abroad changed me.  I have found a second place in the world I can call home outside of Brazil. I live my dream and continue to do so every day. Living in Ireland away from my family helped me find myself and become independent. I believe I attended two universities: one for Marketing at NCI and a second for Life. I made new connections that I will keep for the rest of my life. My biggest advice? Come to Ireland – The Emerald Isle will give you precious gifts you will treasure forever. 

If you would like to connect with me and ask me any questions, contact me at: www.bio.site/8mnNsp 

Brenda is pursuing an MSc in Marketing at the National College of Ireland, Dublin.