Health & Safety
First Extended Time in a European Country
Submitted by Angelina - North Manchester Manchester University | July 15, 2014
I was nervous about going to Ireland because it would be my first long distance travel for more than a week. BCA helped with everything which made it easier to travel. It was very helpful that they offered a planned flight instead of having to book on your own and then try to figure out how to get to the university. Also, since this was a relatively new program, we had a program coordinator, Elizabeth Huskin, come with on our trip. Not everyone gets to experience that, but it was very helpful because she was able to answer questions about the program right on the spot.
When we first arrived, we were assigned our housing, which was very nice. It was on-campus housing, and so it was convenient, especially since we learned that not all study abroad students were given on-campus housing.
The program also included a course on top of the academics offered at Maynooth. It was a really helpful course that brought insight to the religious issues during the time known as "The Troubles." Paul Arthur was our teacher and he was amazing. He was involved heavily in talks and negotiations, even if he is not mentioned in the history books. He was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. This made it easy and fun to learn about the Troubles. Since he was involved, he also brought in speakers who had even more influence on the events.
Part of the program included a week stay in Derry, Northern Ireland, one of the main cities involved during the Troubles. The week was spent learning everything there is to know about the events that occurred. We visited several important sites, as well as some more artistic places. There was an art exhibit that contained unique sculptures. They were in fact pictures placed as sculptures of images during the Troubles. We also saw Witness Theatre, which is theatre based and using real people with real issues. This specific one was gaining citizenship in Ireland while trying to run away from persecution in other countries. It was a wonderful experience and made you think how grateful a person is to just have a family.
Since I was there a full year, I got more of an experience. First semester was very heavily BCA based. However, second semester, I became very involved with the school. I started working on my Cultural Heritage Certificate, which included courses on the literature, and the older culture of Ireland. I was also able to direct a full play with the Drama Society. The previous semester, I even joined the Rugby Club and played a view games. By this time, I was submerged into the Irish culture.
BCA does a wonderful job of promoting the submerging into a culture. I truly believe that a full year is very effective in gaining goals for studying abroad because the first semester, I spent traveling a lot. Yet, by second semester I was hanging out with the new friends I had made.
BCA is also great on making sure that you are comfortable and everything is okay, with occasional messages asking about how everything is going. They truly look after you while you are abroad, and do everything they can to make sure your experience is the best it can be.