Leaving behind a small two-children family, I was ahead to Ireland with a hope for new knowledge and skills. Many things jumped into my mind: homesick, cultural shock, meeting new people and exploring a new destination. My first moments in Ireland made me feel “Yeah, good choice”. Ireland is so green and fresh. I fell in love with Maynooth University right at the first sight. It was a bright sunshine afternoon, fresh and pleasant. The walls were painted with colourful leaves as a masterpiece. Roses were in blossom and birds kept playing on the ground. It is really great to live side by side with nature. Next, I was totally impressed by the logo name of Maynooth University. Letters are shaped in colourful holders like a rainbow. I can see a respect to diversity here. Simple, but meaningful.
Another reason for my love is about Irish people. The Irish are extremely friendly and helpful. On the first day I came, I met a Professor in the playground by chance. I and my Vietnamese friends asked him about the University. He shared a lot of information with us about Saint Patrick’s College, the NUI Maynooth and himself. He took us to visit the Patrick Church and did not forget to wish us well with our studies and a wonderful time in Maynooth. At the beginning of the course, the University organized an Orientation workshop for MA students. Sharing, especially, by a guest speaker from a local garda or policeman made me feel so like home. She said “you are part of our culture. Our responsibility is to ensure our people are safe at most. We are here to help you, any time”. She inspired me truly.
I admire people here from daily simple stories. A friendly and kind-hearted bus driver helped a wheelchair user get into the bus easily and a mother off with her baby stroller. To me, it is mutual understanding of human beings. Another little thing that makes me impressed is dust bins. I see a systematic mindset in the way they react to waste: dark colour/red/brown for general waste and green for recycle one everywhere. For me, it’s about public education about the environment. This helps kids and people, especially from non-EU states, remember what bin for is what. It is so different from my country.
Services provided by the university are very convenient. Maynooth University is well equipped with good facilities to better the quality of learning and teaching for all. The spirit of long-live learning is present everywhere in Ireland. Orientation and soft-skill building workshops are regularly organised to help students embark smoothly on their learning journey. Staff at the writing centre are always supportive to students with their writing. The university’s library is fantastic. Every thing is available to students. Maynooth University’s students can borrow learning space for self-study or group work, laptops, computers, books and other facilities. Guiding sessions are often held to facilitate students access to the library. Interestingly, internet access is available in every corner on campus.
Staying far away from home country, however, that people who I met and the environment in which I am living and studying truly keeps my heart warm.