Firstly, the API Staff at Galway are incredible. I was warmly greeted immediately at the airport by what I still consider as a distant Dad. Every question was answered with ease and with an interesting or funny story to go along. They made me feel at home and very safe without being overbearing or strict; they weren't with us most of the time which was important to soak up the culture firsthand, but I wish I had spent more time with them. They really made the experience.
The campus is gorgeous, but since I only had 5 weeks to see Ireland, being off campus and doing as many Irish activities as I possibly could was very important to me. The staff completely understood that, and encouraged it. Though I really enjoyed clogging and Gaeilge classes the university offered to the study abroad students!
The Galway Arts Festival started in the middle of my time there; I loved that API included tickets to the most famous play happening. Our excursions really were ridiculous, I could go on and on about every one. I saw more ukulele, clogging, music, pubs (the best secret ones) than I could ever imagine, not to mention the fantastic fish and chips of Dingle and the best beer I've ever tried, Crean's.
I roomed with three other API girls in a three story apartment. It was a really good set up and very close to town; we walked everywhere, day and night. I loved walking through the city every day but I wish I had brought heavy-duty shoes and a heftier coat (it still gets pretty cold at night during the summer). I had to buy a raincoat because of the weather but I did not mind the constant cloud cover and sporadic rain; Galway is such a beautiful city that it easily rises above this. Summer attracts a lot of tourists, especially to Galway because of the festivals, so tons of people were constantly about town, and pubs were packed out at night. I can't see this being an issue during the year.
This trip is the best decision I've made in college, and the most rewarding experience I've ever had.