HomeBlogSea, sheep and pure joie de vivre: a semester abroad in Ireland

Sea, sheep and pure joie de vivre: a semester abroad in Ireland

"You can study virtually anywhere". This is how Mirjana Schädler from the International Office pragmatically promotes a semester abroad - even in times of pandemic. The University of Liechtenstein offers the best conditions for completing one or two semesters at one of the 80 partner universities worldwide. But is studying abroad possible at all at the moment, or is staying at home the safer option?

It's possible and it's fun, says Miriam Berchtel. The business administration student from the University of Liechtenstein is currently at the National University of Ireland in Galway. "Gradually, Galway is becoming a home away from home. Nevertheless, I miss travelling during the pandemic," says Miriam. "A nice experience was getting on the bus after the relaxation of the 5km restriction, going to Connemara National Park and hiking up Diamond Hill. Irish call it a mountain, I call it a hill. Now that we are allowed to travel the whole island again, we explore Ireland bit by bit. Just get in the car, drive off and stop where it's nice. "

"Study abroad": Ireland impressions by Miriam Berchtel

In the meantime, the prospective business economist has become very familiar with the partner university in Galway. It is somewhat different from the small, fine campus in Vaduz. "The difference to the University of Liechtenstein is most noticeable in some of the online lectures, where the number of participants starts at 200 students. In addition, there are only exercises (tutorials) in very few courses. The difference in the clubs and societies offered to students is impressive. There is nothing at NUI Galway that you can't find - from the Windsurfing Club to the Harry Potter and Baking Society. For singing enthusiasts, I can recommend the Choral Society."

Miriam is convinced about studying at her host university: "The lecturers prepare the lectures well and are innovative and interested. Only their Irish accent is a challenge at first. Through the numerous essays and case studies, you get to grips with the material intensively. "Miriam is convinced that this is what she can ultimately take away the most. "When 30 ETCS are completed, the workload is not without its challenges. On the one hand, there are mid- and end-term exams and assignments. On the other hand, due to the switch to online teaching, there are regular small multiple choice tests in several courses. The advantage of this is that the material is repeated right away and you feel confident for the upcoming exams. "

Miriam's top tips Ireland

Miriam Berchtel at Gurteen Bay

  • Most beautiful place: Gurteen Bay on a sunny day (photo)
  • Most romantic place: On the beach at Golden Hour with friends and beer.
  • Best food and drink: Well, Ireland doesn't offer exquisite cuisine, but the fresh fish and potatoes from the market are recommended. Drink? Beer - in all variations.
  • Favourite bar: It would be nice if I knew the inside of one. But I would definitely like to try The Oslo Bar at Salthill in Galway.
  • Don't forget: Rain jacket, waterproof shoes, an adapter for sockets and an extension cable if necessary (there are usually no sockets in the bathrooms).

Everything easy in Ireland

Rebecca Senti particularly remembers the quieter and more relaxed atmosphere in Ireland. The architecture student spent a semester abroad at University College in Dublin before Corona. "Here in Liechtenstein we are often too stressed and under pressure to succeed. The teaching methods in Dublin, on the other hand, are adapted to the circumstances. Because rents are high here and studying is expensive, all students work in cafés, pubs or something else at the weekend," Rebecca explains a major difference to studying in Liechtenstein. "That's why you get your assignments for the week on Monday. And if you try hard during the week, you have enough time on the weekend for your job - or like us Erasmus students for great trips and pub visits."

"Studying abroad brings contacts and experience, but also a lot of understanding for other cultures. I liked the city, the country, the sea and the sheep - and of course the pure joie de vivre, which we somehow don't have like this in Liechtenstein." Rebecca would definitely recommend a semester or two in Ireland's capital: "Studying abroad brings contacts and experience, but also a lot of understanding for other cultures. I liked the city, the country, the sea and the sheep - and of course the pure joie de vivre, which we somehow don't have like that in Liechtenstein."

Gaining international experience

 For Miriam, it was important to embark on this adventure alone: "This means I have to approach other people, which is not easy in times of online teaching. I'm glad that I made international contacts anyway. In addition, I hope that my semester abroad will help me find a job that I enjoy and where I can contribute my experience and knowledge. "

The intercultural exchange and a new perspective on many topics are the most exciting experiences abroad. And of course making new friends, which is no problem in Ireland before and also during Corona. Rebecca sums it up very well and recommends: "Just say yes, approach people, even if it's hard. Remember that everyone is in the same boat right now and doesn't know anyone. In the beginning, it makes it as easy as when you were in kindergarten."

Rebecca's top tips Ireland

 Rebecca Senti at Giants Causeway

  • Most beautiful places: Giants Causeway  (photo) and Cliffs of Moher
  • Most romantic places: In the sheep meadow in the middle of nowhere outside Galway, a tinyhouse rented out by an immigrant Indian.
  • Food in Dublin: Brunch at "Brother Hubbard", the huge vegan portions at "Cornucopia" and just across the road "Murphys Icecream" (Dingle Vanilla Salt!).
  • Favourite bar in Dublin: O'Neills (best food and ideal for watching Gaelic football)

Studying abroad made easy

 The International Office at the University of Liechtenstein does everything it can to make semesters abroad an impressive experience for students. Mirjana Schädler, Jasmine Ziegler, Hilde Zimmermann and Jason Gassner provide all the information, advice and support students, staff and lecturers need on the subject of "International Affairs", help in choosing suitable programmes and accompany the application process right through to the scholarship for studying abroad.

What sets the University of Liechtenstein apart from many other universities: Mirjana Schädler and her team have enough resources to send all students with wanderlust abroad. "If someone meets the requirements and applies in time, nothing stands in the way of studying at a university specifically in Europe," Mirjana promises. These requirements are different for each degree programme and are summarised on this uni.li page:  Guest semester abroad

This page is a guide from the International Office that clearly summarises all the requirements, deadlines and application documents. Mirjana's tips are: coordinate the courses at the host university well in advance with your own study plan, apply in good time in the autumn for the coming winter semester, and be a little flexible with your destinations.  The best travel agency for students: International Office

Where to: the 80 partner universities of the University of Liechtenstein

"The best experiences are often made at universities outside the well-known big cities, for example in Israel or Georgia. But it is important to dare to go abroad. Because it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," says Mirjana, promoting a semester abroad. She is convinced that students benefit from new experiences by getting to know other cultures and, with the right commitment, still complete their studies in the standard period of study.

Miriam in Galway agrees: "You learn to adapt and it is exciting to study in a foreign university. You develop new learning methods and new views on many topics." All partner universities of the University of Liechtenstein

 Currently, six students of the Uni Liechtenstein are at a foreign university despite Corona, otherwise there are up to 50 per year. What works well in these times is a place in a hall of residence. Rebecca underlines this with the example of Dublin: "The student residence is expensive (1400 euros/month in a 6-person shared flat in a single room) and the places are allocated by lottery. But you're really at university and only among students and it's difficult not to make friends."

Not always easy: back home

 And then it's also time to think about returning to Liechtenstein. "Of course I miss my loved ones back home. Since no one can come to visit me, I'm really looking forward to seeing my family and friends again after almost half a year. Luckily, I've also met great people here, which makes everything much easier. Besides, the time with the stress of university and leisure time goes by so quickly that I enjoy every free minute and above all every ray of sunshine," Miriam sums up her time in Galway.

The best support for studying abroad: MILSA

 MILSA, among others, ensures that the return to the campus in Vaduz is without culture shock. This stands for "Mentoring intercultural learning through study abroad". This programme at the University of Liechtenstein and a mentor accompany students before, during and even after a stay abroad. It is designed to help students settle into the new social and cultural environment, gain positive learning experiences at the host university and use stays abroad for their future careers. Participation in the MILSA programme is credited with 3 ECTS at the University of Liechtenstein.

MILSA: Mentoring Intercultural Learning Through Study Abroad 


Author: Gernot Bilz, Marketing, University of Liechtenstein

Co-Authors: Miriam Berchtel, Rebecca Senti

Photos: Miriam Berchtel


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