For the Spring semester of my junior year I decided to study abroad in Galway, Ireland with API and it has easily been the best decision I've ever made in my life. I had been to Ireland twice before I decided to study abroad there but I still had those nerves that everyone gets before they embark on a new journey. API provided amazing support throughout the whole process both applying and even while in Galway. They made sure everything was in order before I left and provided me with fun and support the second that the plane landed at Shannon Airport. From the minute I stepped off the plane, our Resident Directors made us feel welcome and at home. Our housing at Gort na Coiribe couldn't have been more perfect and really added to the experience. We were located close to campus and city centre, there were multiple options for food and activities all around us, and the apartment we were in not only was equipped with a full kitchen but we were also housed with Irish students which really helped us all get acquainted with the culture.
Our Resident Directors made sure that we all felt excited and in good health when we first got there and were extremely supportive along our entire experience. If you needed a little more assistance, they would be there and if you wanted a more independent experience, they allowed you to have that as well. API made it so easy to really make this experience your own. On top of all the comfort provided in our new homes, API staff and directors also encouraged us to experience other places and travel as much as we can. On-site directors assisted us with finding the best travel plans, including housing and transportation and were always willing and available to talk if we had any hesitations. API not only took us on excursions throughout different parts of Ireland, but they also included a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland which was such an amazing experience and somewhere that I never would've thought to go before.
While studying abroad in Galway, I met some of my best friends and had countless unforgettable experiences. I gained more confidence in myself and was able to gain real world experiences and go places that I never thought I would go! While studying abroad I was able to go to Iceland, the Netherlands, Scotland, Belgium, and Spain! The best part of all of this travel was the fact that after all my travel adventures, I could not wait to get back to Galway. It truly felt like home. It is such a beautiful city and it is home to some of the greatest people that I've ever met. Studying abroad in Galway I was able to connect with family I have in Ireland that I hadn't seen in a really long time. I was able to bridge the gap between the place where my grandparents grew up and the place that I had come to see as home too. It was just incredible.
As for school, I loved attending the National University of Ireland, Galway. The campus was beautiful and I found every class I took to be extremely interesting. I actually preferred their style of teaching and testing than that of my home university. All the teachers were extremely helpful and the work load was absolutely manageable. I was able to take Irish language classes which is something I've wanted to do my entire life but is hard to come by in the US. The campus had everything a student could need and more in order to get work done and also have a place to meet up with other students. There was plenty of opportunity on campus to volunteer and get involved in clubs, sports, and other activities. It provided endless opportunities for students to take advantage of.
I can honestly say that studying abroad in Galway, Ireland with API was the best decision I've ever made in my life. All it has done is add positivity and opportunity into my life. I cherish the time that I was able to spend there and it also motivates me to find ways to go back and to travel more. After my semester in Ireland, I was accepted to API's Global Leadership Program and am currently participating in it. This has allowed to me share my study abroad experience with others and encourage them to make a study abroad experience of their own. Studying abroad has opened so many doors for me whether it be new friends, new outlooks on life, and even job opportunities. I would 1000% suggest it to anyone that is even just considering going. This program and experience will change your life.