Erasmus experience in Galway, Ireland by Camille

How long is your stay? How much help do you receive?

A year. I have the CROUS scholarship of 450€ which barely covers my rent, and I am supposed to receive 1800€ in mobility aid, but to this day, the first semester ended and I didn't have anything. If my mother hadn't helped me I would have returned to France, that's how unbearable my situation was.

How is the student atmosphere like in Galway?

Super active, especially at the university. People are really there to work, the BU is always filled. But in the evening they really party. It's all or nothing with the Irish. During sports match periods, they are very involved, the fans get together, and it creates a good atmosphere. During Halloween and Christmas as well, they really make an effort when it comes to holidays. There are many "societies" in the university, or else: "clubs". The number of clubs is incredible, there is something for everyone, you can be part of the Harry Potter club, LGBT club, DJ club, Erasmus club, manga club, Latin dance club, yoga club, french club, Christian club, and many more. We would almost want to join three or four, but there isn't enough time! In any case, it really gives you the chance to meet people, and have hobbies.

Erasmus experience in Galway, Ireland by Camille


Would you recommend the city and the university of Galway to other students?

Yes, especially NUIG. It's a very big and very welcoming university that does everything for the success of its students. The online homework/power-point system is extremely well conceived and once you get the hang of it becomes essential. The library is the student dream, we spend most of our time there, it really pushes us to study. There is also assistance, like people who can correct your essays before you turn them in (through appointments), it's great since we are foreign students. They help with everything, the writing of your homework, the questions you have to ask (quick response via email) and even when it comes to students, they are extremely benevolent, I could entrust my things to anyone with no worries, or ask for directions or anything else. The students help each other out if needed.

How is the food in this country?

Not good. They mainly eat pizzas and fries. No canned goods so no beans, peas, no more mashed potatoes, Asian food, cold cuts, and so on. Nothing close to french supermarkets. There ww will eat Irish beef (well known across the globe but hated by all the French people I know), seafood because Galway is on the water, and some vegetables (you have to like that). The trick: frozen. What we may have the tendency to forget in France, but not in Galway where the frozen rays are precious. Forget your passion for cheese and good French dishes.

Was it difficult for you to find housing in Galway?

Enormously. Either you find in the city center and too expensive, or you don't find at all. The university doesn't help. You have to contact former students, or search on Facebook (what I should have done, but I don't use Facebook much so I didn't think of it). Really try to do this early so you're not taken by surprise.

Erasmus experience in Galway, Ireland by Camille


What is the cost of living in Galway?

A bit more expensive than in France. If you avoid Dunnes and Tesco and opt for Lidl or Aldi, you can do our grocery shopping at good prices, and also their only clothes store here is Penney's, like Primark, so good prices here as well. Transportation on the other hand is way too expensive.

How is the learning of the language? Have you been to language classes organized by the university?

You can register for classes but I don't need them. All the courses are in English, the people in shops, transportation as well etc, and in literature we have to read a dozen books in English, we almost forget our french. You get used to the language very quickly, and even if you have some difficulty the university offers several options to catch up.

What's the cheapest way to get to Galway from your city?

Airplane to Dublin + bus. If you book in advance you can get a really cheap ticket (I've already traveled for 17€).

Which places would you recommend for going out in Galway?

The Roshin Dubh is one of the best pubs. The Front Door is a great quiet place, and the King's Head always has great live music, always crowded. And then there is the university bar (NUI) which is really great.

And for eating in Galway? Which places do you prefer?

I don't have money, so... But there is a nice French creperie.

And what cultural visits would you recommend?

The cliffs, Connemara, the Aran Islands.

Erasmus experience in Galway, Ireland by Camille


Any advice for future Galway students?

Study hard early and go out every night.

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