Ariadna Carrillo Pastrana, Student Ambassador from Mexico, is back in Ireland after a seven-year break! Although the last time she was here was short-lived, Ireland made enough of an impression on her to spur her to come back – and for more than a short visit this time…

I first visited Ireland in 2014 with my youngest brother and my best friend… we loved it! So, I decided to come back, not just as a tourist, but as a master’s student to get a better feel for the country and be able to enjoy it for longer! 

I arrived at Dublin Airport, got my bearings and boarded a bus to Galway. I had two weeks in town before classes were starting, so I took advantage of them. Galway City is just as beautiful as I remembered it. Full of colour, art and music. I arrived during the Galway International Arts Festival. I had heard about the festival at an international students’ workshop I did before coming to Ireland and registered for free tickets to the event immediately! Early in the semester, I joined a couple of city tours – one was to see the murals around town. This is a really good way to get to know the city.

Galway City mural tour (photo: Ariadna)

My host family suggested a visit to the Aran Islands, so I went and had a very nice day trip – I especially enjoyed seeing the cows standing with the ocean in the background.

Land and sea (photo: Ariadna)

In these first two weeks, I absolutely had to visit NUIG’s beautiful campus. I was very interested in seeing the Quadrangle; a beautiful building dating back to the 1800s which is now a part of our university’s logo.

The Quad (photo: Ariadna)

As close as we are to the water, I don’t get to see it very often but hearing the seagulls, especially in the morning when I wake up is a fun reminder that I’m not just in any city. Another funny fact is that every time I look out the window and it’s raining, I am surprised. People ask me, why I am surprised if it always rains! I realised that my surprise comes from the rain being so quiet! (most of the time) I am used to the rain letting you know it’s there and expect it as I open the door.

By the seaside (photo: Ariadna)

My favourite part of exploring the city is the city centre and stopping to listen to the excellent musicians on its pedestrian-only streets. Any day, you are sure to find a few around the city centre – musicians of all ages, playing varied styles, against these historical buildings!

Buskers by the bank (photo: Ariadna)

Ariadna is doing an MSc in Strategy, Innovation and People Management at the National University of Ireland Galway.