Learn International develop accessible and immersive courses for international students to come and study in Ireland. We sat down with some students from the US who are on one of their programs at DCU to discuss culture and education.
Kelsey Moore from Northern Arizona University
Where we are, in Flagstaff, is actually very similar to here. Even this heat, this temperature, is very similar.
Why did you choose Ireland?
Because I am going into my fourth year, my opportunities were running out. I didn’t want to do a whole term overseas. I saw instead that there was a summer program and decided to go to that.
What are you studying in the US?
I am studying strategic communications with an emphasis on advertising. I have a business minor.
So tell me about that!
Communication studies in itself is looking into the background of why, as humans, we all communicate. Strategic communications goes into specific fields. By studying advertising, I look into the media of commercials and ads, and how to communicate through that media form.
Tell me about how the coursework here and how it relates to your course back home.
In one of our classes, Media and Irish Society, we’ve gone over a lot of different kinds of commercial advertising and – in Ireland – it’s definitely very sport-heavy and beer-heavy, particularly with Guinness. We’ve looked into how Guinness advertise, since they’re such an international brand and what kind of audiences they have and target. We’ve taken note of how they’re similar and different compared to other beer companies internationally.
How does your experience here in Ireland match up with what you expected?
It’s my first time here and my first time overseas. I didn’t really know what to expect, just based on what I had seen pictures of. I didn’t know what the Dublin culture was going to be like. It definitely exceeded the knowledge of what I had of it, my expectations. I’ve been really enjoying my time here. We were actually given a certain amount of misinformation in terms of expecting Ireland to be more conservative, and what we could and couldn’t wear, for example. But it wasn’t true.
Mayling Ayala from Northern Arizona University
Where did you get the name Mayling?
It’s my mother’s middle name. Just two years ago actually, I asked the family where I got my name from. I found out that my grandma’s favourite actor – in her favourite soap opera – was named Mayling!
What are you studying?
I am studying Strategic Communications. I’ve got a double emphasis in public relations and in advertising.
We got a different impression of what to expect before we arrived here. It was surprising how soon and how well we adapted. It doesn’t even feel that we’re away in a foreign country, away from what we’re used to. Everything is pretty much the same. It reminds me of walking down the streets of LA or San Diego or San Francisco. Not exactly where our homes are, but where we’ve travelled within California.
I’m from a small town in a little valley in California myself – a little suburban, a lot smaller than a major city, all the same community, all the same race. I knew about different races, but I wasn’t really exposed to them.
So when we got here, at first it was confusing to see that it was not how we expected in terms of the Irish being conservative. I don’t mean that in a bad way – in a positive way.