I knew when I was getting ready to come to Maynooth that it was going to be very different from what I’m used to in America. I prepared myself by researching the cultural differences, finding out how Maynooth’s class scheduling goes, and telling myself to keep an open mind no matter the circumstances. I knew there was going to be a lot of things I wasn’t going to be able to prepare for in advance and I would have to figure it out as I go. Luckily my arrival and orientation did a big part of that integration for me!
In my case I’ve done orientation and arrival twice since I am here for the full year instead of just one semester, but I’ll focus primarily on my first time coming to Ireland since that experience was more authentic for me.
I arrived to Ireland a few days early to try and adapt to the ways of the country before just jumping straight into a whole new environment and a whole new school. This helped me significantly because I found myself becoming familiar with Leixlip (the town right next to Maynooth) and Dublin before having even reached Maynooth yet. This made me feel more grounded and confident with my surroundings. I figured out how to use the cross walks, I got slightly more accustomed to the driving on the left side, I got my Irish phone number and accomplished some other chores before reaching Maynooth.
Once move in day came, I was thrilled! I wasn’t entirely sure of where to go, but Maynooth had current students assisting the international population get to the right area for registration. The first semester registration took place in Iontas building, which was a bit more difficult to find being that none of us were really familiar with the campus yet, additionally they had registration for returning students on the same day but theirs was in a different building so that also confused a few people. The second semester they had registration in the reception building which was much easier to find and very close to the on campus apartments, so there were significantly less problems with confusion in that case.
After my initial move in there were a few days of freedom before orientation started, this was nice because it allowed me to go grocery shopping and explore more of Maynooth as a town. A facebook group was created the first semester for international and study abroad students and a lot of us ended up meeting each other that way.
Don’t fret if you don’t feel comfortable meeting up with strangers through Facebook groups! Orientation was not only helpful in acclimating to Maynooth’s education system, it also is a great way to meet new people and build great friendships.
The orientation was informative and fun! The international office plans events like a scavenger hunt, and a burger (veggie burgers too) reception. They also put snacks and goodies in your welcome bags along with an add drop form, a list of the heads of the departments, a cab company card, and a map of Dublin.
The students union also plans events in the evening to introduce themselves to us as well as get us to mingle amongst each other. That was my favorite part of orientation I think. Any time I’m in the students union it’s always great craic.
All and all I won’t spoil too much as to what happens during orientation, you’ll find out when you get here! 🙂 Just know there is support always around you especially during this first week here!