Alumni Spotlight: Bridey Connolly

Bridey studied abroad with USAC at NUI in Galway, Ireland in the Summer of 2009 when she was 21. During her time in Galway, she sang in the choir at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church. Bridey is originally from Eugene, Oregon where she got her BS in Psychology from the University of Oregon. She currently lives in Calgary, AB, Canada and is applying to Nursing School. She loves music, traveling, and spending time with friends, especially while studying abroad!

The Claddagh Region of Galway

Highlights: Academically the highlight of my trip was my Introduction to Irish Gaelic class. Irish is a very interesting language as it is both simple and complex at the same time. I really liked the teacher as she was incredibly fun and was able to teach us a lot in the five weeks we spent with her. She was also the one that told us about the Gaelic Football Connaught final that was happening during our stay. The music class was also fun because we learned how to play the tin whistle.

Overall, the highlight of the trip was the whole experience. I know it sounds cheesy but it is hard to pick just one thing. I met some incredible friends, was able to give directions from NUIG to town, was able to see things that people don’t see everyday, and went to a Gaelic Football match with my friends which was a great Irish experience. The entire program is organized so that the students have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Morning: My weekday mornings in Galway were generally set as I had a morning class three days a week and two group field trips on Mondays. A typical morning for me would consist of waking up, eating breakfast, and going to class. The suites in Corrib Village (where we stayed) consisted of four separate rooms, a half bathroom, and a full bathroom so I never had issues with the bathroom and I also had my own space to keep my things. Class was at 9am so I would walk the short distance to my classroom and attend my Irish class. After class I would either go home and work on homework or some of my friends and I would head into down to walk around or go shopping.

Bridey with fellow USAC students

Afternoon: My afternoons were generally spent with my friends either in town or in my suite watching TV as there were two of us living in the same suite (along with two other girls who were generally away in the afternoons). Since I was in the Irish class with two of my friends, we would spend some time going over what we learned in class that day as well as exploring shows on TG4 (the Irish language channel). Homework was also generally done during the afternoon hours as either class-related field trips happened during this time or Irish homework was due the next day.

Evening: A typical evening would be spent with my friends watching The Simpsons, Friends (both shows are on constantly), and How I Met Your Mother (one of my friends brought season 2 with her). Our evening tradition was to cook and eat dinner while watching either The Simpsons or Friends. When we were done with dinner and the dishes were washed we would watch two episodes of How I Met Your Mother while eating chocolate-covered digestive cookies.

Every so often we would decide to go out to one of the local pubs. Taaffes we a lot of fun as there was traditional Irish music everyday. The pub atmosphere is really nice and it was fun to go out once in awhile and experience some true Irish nightlife.