Learn more about Elena, our US Ambassador, currently undertaking her PhD in Aquatic Sciences at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. In this blog, she shares her experience and explains why GMIT is an ideal place to study abroad…

I’m currently a first-year PhD candidate at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT’s Galway Campus) in the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre (MFRC). The MFRC has a wide range of researchers studying subjects like marine mammals, fisheries science, modelling, microplastics, pollution, biology and ecology, and fish disease, just to name a few. I first came to GMIT to carry out my master’s thesis project as part of the EMBC+ international master’s program. I worked on comparing methodologies of benthic sampling tools for microplastics. As I was completing my thesis, I found myself compelled to continue my research with the wonderful GMIT-MFRC community, who have become like a second family.

How would I go about continuing my studies? While many postgraduate positions are advertised on the college/institute/university website, I, with the help of my supervisor, formed my own PhD proposal. The research office at GMIT approved my project and now I will be conducting research on a three year track in an effort to establish a baseline of marine microplastics in Galway Bay’s sediments among other marine microplastics investigations. The international office is an indispensable resource for situations from getting you sorted with immigration to helping you find scholarship opportunities. For my first year, they informed me of the Government of Ireland’s International Education Scholarship, which I applied for and was awarded. If you do not have a fully funded postgraduate position, the hunt for scholarship and grant applications will need to be accounted for in your already busy schedule.

Even if you are not looking to do a PhD here, the undergraduate and master’s courses are fantastic. At GMIT, the marine and freshwater biology students participate in a multitude of practical field and lab experiences. These are extremely useful to have in your skill repertoire whether you continue on an academic research track or on to professional positions. Students have the incredible opportunity to gain methodological skills on board the RV Celtic Voyager, one of the Marine Institute’s research vessels. Not only that, but the student to staff ratio enables you to have a real connection with your teachers. GMIT is the place to be if you want a sense of community, connectivity, and is in quite the cultural hub of the west side.

Want to know more? Drop me a line below with any questions.

Find out more about studying abroad at GMIT