I genuinely knew very little about Ireland when I moved here as an international student in 2022. My search for graduate programmes was based solely on the content and reputation of the courses themselves and wherever they were located was a bonus. So although Maynooth University was an obvious choice academically, I honestly had never even heard of Maynooth, let alone researched the town before moving here. Having lived here for just over 6 months, I could not feel luckier to live here and to be doing my course.
If I had to describe my experience in three words, they would be freedom, community and challenge. Moving to Ireland from South Africa and having access to public transport and a global city such as Dublin has been the most freedom I have ever experienced. For students who live in developing countries, I am sure you can imagine or relate. I have had the freedom to meet incredible people, seize opportunities, enjoy Irish culture and explore all manner of interests.
Living in Maynooth, I have had all the comforts and joys of a small town, specifically the sense of community. The people who live in Maynooth are so welcoming and friendly, and they genuinely care about each other. I had an experience of really missing my pets and so I posted in the community forum and was welcomed into so many homes to cuddle their pets!
As a graduate student in the Department of International Development, our course has been very practical and hands on to ensure that we are prepared to effectively support sustainable development in the future. Due to the nature of our future work, our lecturers have really challenged us to think critically and to consider all angles to the global challenges the world is facing. They have shown us how to be comfortable with complexity, uncertainty and change – crucial skills in our fast changing world.
Academically, Maynooth University has such awesome resources and access to support your learning, I have really been blown away. Socially, there are endless opportunities for meeting new people both in Maynooth and in Dublin, especially through the campus societies and events organised by the International Office. Personally, I still have “pinch me” moments walking around the beautiful campus even as I near the end of my time year. I am truly going to miss Maynooth and it will forever have a very special place in my heart (cliché’s are cliché for a reason!).
I cannot recommend Maynooth University enough.