Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Keegan


Ashley studied abroad at UL for a semester in 2016 and returned in 2018 to complete a master's degree. While she earned her degree, she worked on campus with UL International as a Cultural Advisor and as an International Student Guide to help acclimate new international students to life at UL and in Ireland.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose the MSc Marketing, Consumption, and Society program because I loved the business classes I took when I studied abroad and knew a degree from Kemmy Business school would be internationally accredited and indicate high quality. The program is cost and time-efficient, as it is a one-year full time, as opposed to the typical two-year graduate programs in the USA with higher tuition fees.

While some modules are grounded in theory, others teach through real-life experiences. I created several marketing campaigns for local businesses in County Clare and County Galway.

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

UL International prepared me by sending helpful pre-departure emails about the campus, Irish culture, things to do before and after arriving, etc. They offered a free airport pick up as well, which I was grateful for when I was a study abroader with little travel experience. On-campus resources like the First 7 Weeks help you know all there is to know about UL along with UL Student Life.

I booked my accommodation on my own online through Campus Life Services.

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

Focus on doing well in your classes, but find a balance between work and fun. I met some of my BEST friends through this course and while I'm thrilled to have my master's, I'm even more grateful for the friends I made through it.

I also made time to travel on the weekends. If you make the choice to study in Ireland, make time to see as much of it as you can because there's no other place like it <3 The experiences I had through UL's clubs and societies like Outdoor Pursuits, International Society and Surf Club, allowed me to meet people and do things I could never have done had I stayed in Illinois.

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

I spent a few hours a day in the classroom and a few in the library. There's a mix of group and individual work in your modules and, of course, the middle and end of the semester tend to be busier with deadlines.

I would get a few hours of work during the week or on the weekends when I wasn't in class. I would make dinner with my friends in Thomond Village in the evening, or go to the Sports Arena to exercise or to the Stables/Scholars for pints and music. I went for walks along the Shannon River on campus and traveled on weekends!

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 scared to uproot my life in the USA and move somewhere I didn't know anyone. I had to trust that I was making the right choice for myself and commit to it. I learned to start conversations, put myself out there and not let the fear of what might or might not happen to keep me from doing something amazing! I learned that when you go outside of your comfort zone, you have to practice patience and trust that things will work out the way they are supposed to. If you think you need help, ask for it!

There are so many people at UL who really care about you and want you to feel supported.

Why did you chose Ireland and why UL?

Ireland is a beautiful and historic country filled with the kindest people, the best music, and so much to see/do.

Limerick is near the Wild Atlantic Way and is big enough to be exciting yet small enough to make you feel part of a community, of which UL is very much connected to. The campus is only a ten-minute taxi ride from town and there are several bus stops on campus.

As an international student, I really felt like I was given everything I needed to be successful in my time at UL. Campus is so much fun with lots to do. The student-led clubs and societies are brilliant and the newly renovated library is huge and modern. What I especially love about UL are the people who make it such a special place to be. Ireland will always be my favorite place in the world, and Limerick will always be home.

I miss it every day!