I am from Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh), Vietnam. Three years ago, I went to Savonia University of Applied Sciences in Finland for my first experience abroad. When I finished my second year over there, I came to IT Tralee as an exchange student.
Actually, I was really quiet when I was in Finland. People sometimes joked about me, saying that I am an anti-social person. Coming to study in Ireland gives me a chance to meet and make friends with lots of people. I share an apartment with 4 flatmates that are from four different nationalities. Through them, I can experience and open my mind to their lifestyles, cultures and learn how to organize and get along to make a warm and friendly environment in our apartment.
I have to say that our institute is so wonderful, especially the International Office. The staffs are so friendly and helpful. They try their best to help you when there is a problem or a query.
Because I am coming as an exchange student, I have the opportunity to mix courses, from any areas that I like such as economics, finance, marketing and so on. I have learnt to work individually on my assignments. I have learnt to take advantages to ask question and discuss with my lecturers. I have learnt to apply and combine knowledge from other courses in order to write my reports.
The moment I enjoy most is celebrating Christmas and Vietnamese Tet Holiday here. The former is Western tradition and the latter is Asian. Different traditions and different customs, but both holidays are generally believed to be a time for families and friends reunion. I feel very warm to be with people here. I feel that they are like my second family.
Among the challenges I have, it is the language. Irish people speak English so fast and I couldn’t catch anything from them. I even doubt that they are talking in English sometimes. They sound like they are speaking another language but not English. Another challenge for me is that I have to adapt to the unpredictable changes of the weather. It is super upsetting sometimes but funny to see four seasons occur in one single day.
I am active in International Society where students with different backgrounds gather together and we from time to time prepare our own dishes and have dinner together.
The place for travelling that I highly recommend is definitely Galway. I had a wonderful time and experience when I visited Galway with my friends. The people are very friendly. The food is delicious and cheap, especially for the buffet. We stayed at the restaurant for more than two hours and later when we were back to the hostel, some of us threw up because the stomach was too full. And of course, it has plenty of amazing views to be offered.
My hope is simple. I hope everyone who is reading this post, will immediately have a smile on your face. You are beautiful when you are smiling. Keep smiling and one day, life will get tired of upsetting you.