Smart phone blues

By Simran Kapur

We belong to a generation that avoids social contact in as many ways as possible. The biggest invention for our kind is the smart phone in our pocket. Ordering your own food, with minimum engagement is the best thing that has happened to us (I know you get me).

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Being a Journalism student, I’ve had many an assignment requiring the expertise of my phone. One rather chilly evening I slipped into my finest, I had an event to cover. My first as a freelance journalist, without any support at all. It was slightly nerve wracking but yet thrilled me beyond measure.

I made my way to the city on a rather crowded bus, delayed by the never-ending traffic. The event was a success and I learned a great deal. Chatting with the folks of Limerick I completely lost track of time and it was almost half past nine. I had heard several stories about the bus at night, I pushed those thoughts away as I quickly ran towards the bus stop, hoping to be lucky.

It took me a while to fight the wind and rain and I made it in time for the bus. I was waiting for my turn in the impatient line, where I met this beautiful woman from Mexico. She had come to Ireland to research the abundance of water here. We shared our food interests, where we stayed and even a few personal stories for the entirety of the bus journey back, without even knowing each other’s first name.

After a heart warming interaction, I got off at my destination feeling rather happy about the interviews that I took. I reached towards my pocket to retrieve my phone after the hard work that it had done that evening. It came as a wave of disappointment and then immediately turned into a tsunami of fear. My phone wasn’t where it was supposed to be, I investigated the contents of my bag next, it became certain that I had dropped my precious piece of technology in the bus.

I turned around and made an attempt to run in the direction of the bus, the rain getting stronger by the second. Halfway through, I realized my broken knee did nothing to up my speed and I chose the next best option. I waved down a complete stranger and begged him to call my phone, rather sympathetic he handed me his phone to make the call. After several failed attempts and a few moments of regret later I returned his phone and made my way back home.

As soon as I entered my kitchen I asked my friends to call my number, they went complete CIA on me and started a live track on my phone. We had one last chance, the bus was on the move and would make one last round for the night. I put on my jacket accompanied by my flat-mate made my way to the bus stop, in the hope of flagging down the same bus on round two.

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Shivering down to our bones we stood there while the others were tracking my phone back at home. We constantly kept calling in an attempt to get my precious piece of technology noticed by someone. We even used the feature on Google to ring my phone for five minutes, even if it was on silent. I know, classic mistake, leaving your phone on silent.

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Two buses crossed our paths with very little information if we’ll ever see the bus I dropped my phone on, that night. Suddenly I could no longer call my number, neither could my flat-mates track my phone. Someone had switched it off, not a good sign at all. Then just as we lost all hope, the 304A I got off that night pulled in, I couldn’t express my excitement when I recognized the driver. I waved it down like a maniac and half out of breath asked the driver if I could go look for my phone. He took the device off his pocket and said, “Yeah I got it here for you! I couldn’t receive the call so I switched it off”. I took my phone and held it with my shivering hands, I couldn’t believe it. I walked home happy, smiling like a fool and dancing, what a day!

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Undertaking an MA in Ireland: what American students need to know before jumping in


By Jenny Schaeffer, student on the MA Sociology (Youth, Community, and Social Regeneration)

Many people (in Ireland and abroad) have questioned why I chose to study at the University of Limerick. For some, it is hard for them to wrap their heads around what this experience is really like — so I figured I’d attempt to put it into words and answer some of the more common questions that get thrown my way.

Lookout spot on the Wild Atlantic Way in Dingle


What are the benefits of studying in Ireland?

The biggest draw for me was low tuition costs. A similar degree would have set me back double (or in some cases triple) the price in America. You can also use US federal and state student loans and grants to fund your education. I also received a scholarship from UL, which helped cut down costs. Plus, Americans conveniently do not need to apply for a student visa (though there is a €300 yearly immigration fee). I find Ireland to be affordable and the cost of living is relatively low and comparable to my hometown back in the States, too.

I was also drawn to UL because they offered an accelerated, single-year masters program that directly aligned with my professional and academic interests. Importantly, I also have the opportunity to receive a quality education by studying under distinguished scholars on a modern campus — similar to my experience back in the states.

Cliffs of Moher

How do you find Ireland? Do you like it?

I really enjoy Ireland! The landscapes are beautiful, the people are friendly, and there are plenty of activities to involve yourself in. While the weather isn’t always something to write home about, it is relatively mild year-round — so unless it is particularly nasty outside, it never really seems to prevent anyone from doing outdoor activities.

While the public transportation services aren’t spectacular and taxis can be expensive, it isn’t terribly hard to get around the city. Limerick City and Castletroy are walkable and bikeable, too.

Walking trail at the University of Limerick along the Shannon River

Traveling to different cities and villages is also relatively easy. I have already covered a lot of ground and I’ve seen a good bit of the country by bus (€3 to €30), train (€10 to €30), and car (€35 per day, plus insurance and petrol). Shannon Airport, which is just outside of Limerick, offers many inexpensive international flights, as does Dublin Airport — so weekend getaway trips are always a possibility.

Taken on a trip with the International Society to the Ring of Kerry

What are some of the challenges you face?

Finding accommodation can be complicated as there is a housing crisis in Ireland. Rising rents, housing shortages, and homelessness are crucial social issues that Ireland is struggling to appropriately address. While I live on campus in student housing, many of my friends and peers struggled to secure rooms off campus. My only suggestion is to start looking for accommodation early.

Another issue is employment. In Ireland, American students can work for up to 20 hours a week. Despite my competitive resume, I have struggled to find part-time employment in my field. Luckily, I’ve been able to scrape by (on savings and student loans) but I know that this may be a serious point of contention for others.

The Irish grading system is also very different from the American system. While I am still getting great remarks, it took me awhile to wrap my head around it and I had to adjust my initial expectations.

Day trip to Cork

What is Irish culture like? Have you made friends?

 Irish people are good craic! For those of you not familiar with Irish lingo, ‘good craic’ means fun and enjoyable. I’ve met a lot of friendly and lovely people here, including other internationals. Compared to my experiences in America, it does take a bit more persistence and effort to join established Irish friend groups, especially as everyone has seemingly known each other all their lives.

There is a culture of drinking, so most socializing happens in the pub and out on the town. Limerick luckily has a great nightlife scene. There are plenty of pubs, clubs, and restaurants to satisfy all tastes and the Irish are seemingly always down with any excuse to party!

Sports are also central to Irish life. Everyone seems to play or watch Hurling, Gaelic Football, or Rugby. I haven’t managed to make it to a match yet, but I cannot wait to see a live game and be in a crowd of rowdy and passionate fans.

As a single lady, the dating scene has been a challenge to navigate. In America, it is not unusual for men to approach women and start a casual conversation….but here, that rarely happens! Everyone seems to be on tinder or bumble, which is seen as an accepted way to meet new people. I’m also not opposed to asking men out, but I’ve experienced some mixed reactions with my bold techniques. For now (at least) Irish men remain perplexing and bewildering creatures.

At Bunratty Castle

Lately I’ve also been volunteering as a way of building my connection to the community. UL has a great portal to connect students to opportunities on campus and around town. Also, there are plenty of student organizations to join, like the International society or the Kayak club. These groups host fun events, trips, and get-togethers and serve as a great way to meet new people. In addition, I’ve made friends with my peers in each of my classes. They’ve been a great support and are a welcome addition to my network.


Would you do it again? Should I consider studying there?

All in all, I am extremely happy with my decision to study in Ireland. In fact, I can’t seem to get enough, as I am planning to apply for a PhD position at the University of Limerick! If you are considering undertaking a postgraduate course, do not hesitate to consider studying here, as the Emerald Isle will surely serve as an excellent setting for all of your postgraduate dreams.

Overlooking Lahinch, taken on a weekend trip with the Kayak Club

Useful links:

How To Keep In Touch With Friends From Home

By Sarah Talty, 4th year Journalism and New Media

You meet so many amazing new people in college, between groups and societies, housemates and course-mates, you will end up making a whole group of new friends! This is great but we don’t want to lose our old friends from home too.

A lot of people worry about keeping in touch with their friends from home when they go off to college. Although it isn’t just when people first head to college that they lose contact with old friends, it can happen gradually throughout college.

Long distance friendships are work and usually it won’t take much to keep in contact. We all have social media platforms now that make us feel like we know exactly what’s going on in people’s lives and our friends are just a tap away. But nothing beats meeting in person and sometimes college life gets so busy that we forget to make time to see people at home.

Here are some tips to ensure you don’t drift apart from your good home friends:

Communicate Often

This seems really simple and it is! With our phones, the Internet and social media we can’t make any excuses for not keeping in contact with people. College life is exciting and busy but make sure to check in with each other often. A phone call is a great way of staying up to date with each other’s news. You can also leave each other voice messages on Whatsapp or Facebook, this way you can leave them and listen to them and reply to them when you have a free ten minutes.

Visit Each Other

Invite your friend to come stay at your college house and visa versa. Whether you go out to a club, for drinks, for dinner, a walk or watch a movie at home, it doesn’t matter. Visiting the place your friend calls home for 5 days a week will help you grow closer. Now when they complain about their messy housemate you have a face to put with the name.  It will help  You will no doubt be excited to share this new part of your life with each other.

Plan Meet Ups

Often we don’t have a lot of free time at the weekends. If you have a job at home you’ll be lucky to have time to see your family. Then your commute back to college could take up half your Sunday. It’s important to make time to plan your time in advance to see friends. It could be a late movie night when you’re both finished your split shifts or a breakfast date before you set off to college. You’ll be surprised as well at how even a short meeting with your best friend at the weekend can set you up for a good week.

Plan Something Fun In The Future To Do Together

This is really effective at making sure you keep in touch! Plan to do something in the future that you both love. This could be anything from the cinema to see a movie you’re excited about, a concert, a holiday or a nice dinner out. Having something planned to do will keep you connected to each other, it gives you something to talk about and get excited about together. Also if you can’t meet up as often as you’d like it means that when you finally do you will be doing something that you both really enjoy.

Leaving UL

I am writing this blog, knowing that I am going to leave UL and Ireland soon. The past two semesters were the best time of my life. In honor of this amazing experience and my time in UL, I want to give you a recap of my Erasmus journey and the time I spend in Ireland.


University of Limerick – UL

UL was the most welcoming place I have ever been to. The international office did an amazing job to make sure that we have all the information and support needed to study at UL. After this introduction I had an amazing time at UL. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect about studying in another country, but all the lecturers, tutors, and the fellow students were really nice and helpful if I had questions. The campus is so beautiful and everything is on one place, which makes it easy to walk to lecture halls, get lunch or just hang out with friends.



During the whole time at UL I met a lot of Irish and international friends. It really helped with making my whole experience even better. Also it is nice to know that there are similar students who are studying in another country away from home. In addition being part of a club or societies was the best thing ever. At my home university we don’t have things like Clubs & Societies. It is a simple way to meet new people and have a lot of craic. Thanks to my Erasmus experience I now have connections all around the world and many new friends for life.


Life in Ireland

Ireland is an open and warmhearted country. Of course there are some differences to Germany, but it is also a good way to learn something new about another country and its culture. For example the Irish weather, a good Irish breakfast on a Saturday morning or that the stores are open on a Sunday. My favorite part is that everybody is so polite and helpful and always apologize for everything.


Adventure – travel

Generally people come to Ireland to travel around and see all the beautiful places. And even though I was here to study I had enough time to travel around a little bit. Also the International Society organized some fun adventures with trips all over Ireland. I enjoyed the wild nature and the beautiful places I’ve been to in Ireland. My favorite trip was the Ring of Kerry. And I know that I have to come back sometime, because there will always be a spot that wants to be discovered.

All in all it was an experience which I will never forget. I learned so much about myself, life and that sometimes you just have to be spontaneous to enjoy the special things in life. Before I say my final goodbye I want to thank all the people I met during my time at UL, the UL Basketball Team, the Trampoline Club, the AHSS Ambassador Program and the International Office for everything they have done for me during this journey. I know that I will miss UL and all my friends. I definitely leave UL with mixed feelings. But I know you always meet twice and I will definitely come back!

Settling into Spring Semester Two

Spring-Colours-WallpaperBy Judy Sheehan

Welcome everybody!

We find that Semester Two has sprung up on us, and the Christmas break seems like a distant memory at this stage. Having just entered week three of a fourteen week semester, time seems to be flying already!The Christmas exams went really well thankfully and no repeats so far!

Lets talk business. With my course, Arts Joint Honours, in the second semester of first year you can pick different subjects to those you chose to study in semester one. For me this is a brilliant opportunity to sample new subjects and to thread unknown territory.

This semester I am studying…

  • English- Renaissance Literature
  • Early Modern Irish History
  • Culture and Language Studies
  • Introduction to Sociology 2
  • Law- Criminal Procedure

Whereas last semester I took…

  • English- Academic reading and writing
  • Sources for History
  • Legal System and Method
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Sociology of Media

Certain areas of my chosen subjects over-lap, something I find makes it easier to study as you can connect your learning in all subjects. Already, deadlines are being given and groups assigned for projects so its a matter of hitting the ground running.

Last Wednesday I got a little over-excited. Why so, I hear you ask? Last Wednesday we had a meeting about the option of going on Co-operative placement abroad A.K.A Co-Op. Semester two of second year allows AHSS students to gain experience either at home or abroad. The speakers representing opportunities in Spain and Argentina were enthusiastic and informative, with further meetings planned in the next few weeks. Having the process explained was real encouragement to get involved with such fantastic opportunities. I hope to do another blog with more in depth information and updates on my Co-Op endeavours soon.

Enough academic information for now. There are already talks about the upcoming RAG week (Raise and Give or Charity week) taking place the week of February 29th. Fundraising for four very worthy charities while having great craic? What more could you want. As well as that, Student Race day is being help in April so that will be a pre-exam boost. Like I said, this semester is FLYING! Maintaining the study-socialising balance is a constant struggle. Such is college life!

Untitled design (11)My name is Judy Sheehan (most people call me Julie-really annoying), I’m twenty years old and I am in first year Arts! Hailing from the beautiful county Cork, home is only down the road. Let me tell ye a bit more, if ye are brave enough to read on…

Some useless facts about me: I am the eldest of four, with three older step siblings, have 8+ cats, am from a little town in West Cork called Bandon, LOVE animals, laugh at absolutely anything even remotely funny,drink  far too much hot chocolate and consume too much pizza and chocolate (not at the same time though).

My first year at UL!

By Sarah Manifold

Screenshot_2015-10-09-13-53-54Hello there! Whether you have found this page by accident or you are interested in studying at the University of Limerick I would like to welcome you to the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences blog page. Hopefully this page will give you a clearer insight into what it’s like to be a student and study in UL, voted the top University of 2015 by the Sunday times (I’m not trying to brag or anything).

My name is Sarah Manifold and I am a first year In UL. Unlike the majority of the bloggers you will come across on this site I am not studying in the AHSS sector, I am currently studying Business with Japanese and it is the language side that I will be talking about and addressing on this page. I am a lover of old 80’s films and their amazing soundtracks, and enjoy taking part in singing classes and competitions in my free time. This year I will be taking the exam for my teaching diploma in classical and musical theatre.

Studying at the University of Limerick:

Like many of you who reside in Limerick or are living on the outskirts of the city I wasn’t a huge fan of the idea of studying in Limerick for another 4-6 years and wanted to move out as soon as possible and explore another part of the country or even the world. Looking back I realise it would have been a huge mistake and I probably wouldn’t have lasted very long. We take it for granted what an amazingly facilitated university we have just on our doorstep and I never would have had the chance to experience UL in all its glory if I hadn’t had changed my mind. UL’s campus is by far the most modern and dare I say beautiful campus in Ireland or maybe even Europe. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m still in Limerick while walking through the huge campus as I sometimes feel I’m in another country. UL offers a vast majority of not only academic facilities but also ones for your leisure throughout the campus; these include the fully equipped Glucksman library, a vast majority of computer labs situated in several buildings across campus, the UL sports arena, the UL student union and many places to eat and have a few drinks with your fellow students after lectures.

Japanese at the University of Limerick:

The main factor which aided my decision to study at the University of Limerick was my love for the Japanese language. Japanese at the University of Limerick is studied at beginner level, so those of you who are interested in the language but feel they should have prior knowledge of the language there is no need to worry as the majority of the class will be in the same boat as you. It was a little different for me seeing as I had studied the language since transition year and had the wonderful opportunity to attend a secondary school in Japan for a month. There are so many wonderful facilities outside the classroom to help you with your study of this wonderfully unique and special language. The languages at UL society run group discussions for a wide range of languages that can be studied at UL. This is a great way not only to meet students who are from that country but also interact with them and others who are studying the same language as you. If you would like to further immerse yourself in the language one-on-one classes are also available. The library offers many textbooks on the numerous writing systems and can also provide you with useful tips on how to remember certain characters.

Your new life as a University student:

The idea of starting University is a daunting prospect for anyone and we have all been through it. Whether you are worried about making new friend, finding your way around such a large campus or struggling with your course, we are here to offer some advice to all of you thinking of applying to UL. Moving away from home and your friends can seem rather scary, the idea of going to a new place where you know nobody and have to make an effort to meet new people may not seem that appealing to you. The best piece of advice I can give you is put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. There is no better time to do this than orientation day when you are separated into groups based on your course. The people that I met the day of orientation are still my closest friends today. Another way to meet new people is by joining some of the clubs and societies that are offered in UL, whether you are interested in jumping out of planes or sitting down for a chat with a hot cup of tea there is something in UL for everyone.

It can be very easy to get lost on campus and I still do sometimes but don’t worry because the University offers what they like to call ‘The First Seven Weeks Program’. For your first seven weeks of college there will be fellow students stationed around the campus with the sole purpose of helping you find your way around and answering any questions you may have regarding certain buildings and rooms, so make sure to avail of this wonderful service as you won’t find it anywhere else!

This is just a snippet of what is to come on this site so look forward to more posts! I hope I could answer any questions some of you may have had and even helped you make up your mind on whether or not the University of Limerick is the right place for you. The only thing I will say is you won’t regret picking the University of Limerick, I sure haven’t!


Why choose UL?

By Ciara Larkin

For those of you who are still in secondary school, and are considering coming to UL in September, I can’t encourage you enough. Being from Limerick (but really from Clare), I wasn’t too eager or excited to come to UL because it was so close to home, but I don’t regret my decision for a second. UL is without a doubt the best university in Ireland. It has such a beautiful campus, a diverse variety of Clubs and Socs, a great student support system and an extremely friendly atmosphere – no matter where on campus you are. Because UL is the youngest University in Ireland it’s also the most modern. This applies not only to the architecture and the courses available, but also to the vibe around the college. The lecturers in UL are all down to earth, and the relationship between lecturers and students like that of peers. Although UL has more than 13,000 students, every single one of those students is a part of the UL family. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in UL who didn’t feel at home.

If you’ve been at UL Open Day, you’ve experienced just how great UL can be, and hopefully we’ll see your face next September!

Hot Air Balloon at this years Open Day

Co – op:

As I said I’m on co-op at the moment, and although it’s great to have a break from studying and stressing about exams, it’s also kind of scary being out in the real world. I was working in a law firm during the summer, but I’m lucky enough to be back on UL turf again working as the PVA Administrator. The co-op programme in UL is honestly one of the best things about the university. I know that it causes anyone who doesn’t have a QCA of 4.0 a crazy amount of anxiety, but my advice would be not to stress, because it all falls into place.


I’ll be heading on Erasmus in January, to Radboud University in the Netherlands. Despite having lived in the Holland until I was 3, and downloading Duolingo, the extent of my Dutch is “De meisjes lezen de krant” which means “the girls read the newspaper” – an expression I’m sure I will use daily come January. I plan on writing plenty of posts while I’m there, so if you’re thinking of going on Erasmus, stay tuned to this blog to get the inside scoop.

Anyway, that’s it from me, keep an eye on the blog for more posts from my fellow ambassadors.

profoHiya! I’m Ciara, and I’m a Law Plus Student at the University of Limerick. I’m in third year, and I’ve been on co-op since the start of the summer. This blog is just so you can get to know me a little better, but stay tuned for some more interesting ones about my life as a UL student! I’m from a small village in Clare but I tell everyone I’m from Limerick because I went to school there, and that’s sometimes too much for people’s brains to handle. I am a huge fan of Lana Del Rey and cheese, and my talents include watching entire seasons of series in less than 24 hours, sleeping through the 20 alarms I set every morning, and eating excessive amounts of cheese. In my spare time I volunteer, sing, go online shopping for things I’ll never be able to afford, and I eat cheese…