I spent nine months in Ireland, more specifically in Tralee. The town is small, yet it has everything you’ll need: Penneys (Primark) and other shops, lots of pubs ranging from traditional Irish pubs to nightclub-like venues and restaurants. There’s also a beautiful, peaceful park in the middle of the town and it can be used to hang out or for sports.
On the first semester I was an exchange student in Institute of Technology Tralee, studying social care, early childhood education and youth & community work. One semester lasts about 4,5 months, the first semester started in the beginning of September with the orientation week (parties, bbq and all kinds of events every day) and we had some of our final exams in the end of December and the rest of them in the beginning of January. On my second semester in Ireland I was doing an internship at Kerry Parents and Friends Association. KPFA offers residential care and day services for people with intellectual disabilities. Doing an internship in Ireland was also really great, I am happy that I got to experience that.
Tralee is quite small, yet lively town in Kerry. Anyway, without all the other students to spend your time with, you’d be bored. Getting to know other students is easy – IT Tralee has lots of different societies and sport clubs such as rock climbing, surfing and gaelic football, most of them for free. There’s also a water park (Aquadome), cinema and lots of pubs with traditional Irish music.
Kerry is one of the best-known counties there on the southwest of Ireland, with lots of mountains and beautiful nature. The national park in Killarney is definitely worth a visit, for sure. Anyway, Tralee is not such a big city, so even from the town centre, you will be able to see the mountains and the beautiful Irish nature. You don’t have to go too far from the centre if you want to see sheep, mountains, cows and get to know the countryside of Ireland.
Institute of Technology Tralee is quite small, but they’ve got a lot of international students from all around the world – there are about 3500 Irish students in ITT and 400 international students. During my Erasmus year in Tralee I got to know people from so many different countries even though you wouldn’t expect that!
Studying in ITT felt more like being back to secondary school again – you need to know lots of things by heart, always attend all the lectures and in the end of the semester you’ll have the final exams. Anyway all my lecturers were nice and extremely helpful, they also helped me a lot with my internship even though they didn’t need to. That’s what Irish people are like – they’re kind, helpful and always up for a good craic (=fun)… and that is exactly the reason why Ireland is such an amazing country.