Alumni Spotlight: Jill Lydon


Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I knew that I wanted to study abroad in Galway, Ireland and API provided gave me the most bang for my buck. They offered a lot more in their program than any other company.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

API assisted me with applying to the National University of Ireland, Galway and housing. I had to pick my classes and make sure that they fit into my degree but they were really helpful with financial questions and helping with any concerns about the papers we had to fill out.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

It's not going to be what you're expecting, but in the best way possible.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I would get up, eat breakfast, go for a run, shower then head to class. After class, I'd meet up with friends and head into town. We'd either hang out by the Spanish Arch or walk the Salthill Prom.

From there, we'd head back to our apartment and make dinner or get some work done then depending on the night we'd get ready and go out in the city center or we'd stay in and watch a movie.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was really nervous that I would be bored. I grew up in Boston and like being in a busy and bigger city environment. I was nervous that Galway wouldn't be as stimulating as it was and I'd find myself being bored.

I over came it by finding things to do and going out and walking around and exploring. I now love the laid-back lifestyle of Galway and my mindset isn't as rushed and busy as it was before I came. It taught me to slow down and enjoy life.

What's the most important thing to keep in mind during the trip?

I'd honestly say to have a goal or a mindset that you work towards and think about consistently throughout the whole of your experience. For me it was fitness. I wanted to run as much as I could to really experience the environment that Galway had to offer.

At times I'd get off track but I always go to it. I would make it a point to run in any new city that I visited because it was cool to take it all in that way. I came to Galway running 1.5 miles a day and left running 6 miles a day. It helped me become more confident, always gave me something to do, and was a way for me to get my mind straight.

I think perspective travelers should know that this is going to be life-changing in the best of ways. Don't be afraid of change. Your views will change, your personality may change. Let it happen. There is absolutely nothing that I would've done differently. Studying abroad in Galway was like a dream but it had real-world moments that also helped me learn.

The first week that I was there, I left my wallet with EVERYTHING in a taxi. I ended up getting it back and nothing was touched or missing. It was scary but it ended up all being okay. It's not going to be perfect every single day but that's when you realize that you had created your own life in a new country. You get a routine that you never thought you'd get. You feel at home. Galway is now my home and I can't wait to get back to it.