So, I am finally here. Arriving at Maynooth and setting my feet for the first time in the campus has felt just like I have been transported to the images I saw on the Google website back in Brazil. It still feels like I am inside a dream, every time I cross the beautiful path that leads to the picturesque South Campus (where then I discovered I was going to have my classes in, lucky me).
The beginning of the orientation week has greeted us with a beautiful and sunny sky, as a warm welcome to the academic year ahead. In the first days of induction, we toured the campus with current students, we were introduced to the International Office team, and received some orientation regarding our registration, accommodation and available services and activities on campus. Then, on the end of the week we had our Taught Master’s Induction and Welcome. This day we heard interesting talks, for example, about creative thinking, and got to know the services on the University that will come in handy during the academic year, such as the Writing Centre, the IT Services, the Student Services, and the Skills workshops.
I particularly enjoyed Professor Peter McNamara’s speech about the triumphs and challenges on our Master’s journey. I do not remember everything he said on that day, but one thing that struck me was the video he showed us about the importance of diversity. In the video, a German supermarket removes from its shelves all products imported from other countries, and the result is a virtually empty market without diversity. And for me, part of the beauty involved in studying abroad is exactly this – diversity. Especially in the subject I decided to study, climate change, which is a complex predicament, that as well requires complex solutions, that will only be achieved if we think collectively.
This journey, as Professor Peter has pointed out, will have triumphs and challenges. During this year, I will be learning how to live in a different country, with a very different weather. I will learn how to live with people from different cultures, to understand and speak a new language, to live in a new home and to adapt to a new routine. It feels exciting and thrilling at the same time. And by surpassing each one of these challenges, they will be converted in triumphs, and by the end of the academic year, I am sure that I – and all of us – will be stronger people with an incredible life baggage.
I am sure that this year is going to be full of adventures and learnings. We will learn not only inside the classroom, but outside it too. When strolling around the campus, I saw a quote that represents very well the cycle we are starting: ‘Your future knows no bounds’. And our future is starting right now here at Maynooth University, in Ireland, that has opened its doors for us.
Dia duit, Éire! Nice chun bualadh leat!