Incorrect Information: Galway Study Abroad

Before you study abroad, there will undoubtedly be tons of information sessions and Q&As about life at your particular university and it’s difficult to know exactly what information is 100% true, given the tendency of the CGE to give outdated information.  So here are some debunked facts about life at NUI Galway (particularly in the spring semester) and I encourage other people who are studying abroad to correct facts they know to be untrue from their own experience.

Fashion (pretty similar to our style, actually)

  • Everyone wears jeans, leggings, and sometimes joggers.  Don’t let anyone tell you that Irish students only dress formally.
  • Athletic wear is very popular- sneakers (both athletic and fashionable) are worn all the time, despite the often unexpected rainy conditions.
  • People.  Wear.  Jackets.  I was told that they don’t wear heavy winter coats which isn’t true.  They don’t have a need for Canada Goose but they definitely wear warmer jackets as opposed to raincoats (considering the temperature hovers around 40-45 with wind and rain).  Lots of times, women’s jackets are puffy and short.  They also wear winter hats with a puffball on the top.
  • Students wear colors. I was told that most people in Europe are very subdued with fashion and color, but this isn’t true at all.  I’ve often seen bright yellows, blues, and reds displayed proudly around campus.

At the end of the day, NUIG hosts more than seven times as many students as HWS, so the fashion is varied and it doesn’t really matter if you’re not wearing the same thing as everyone else.  Plus, you’re going on excursions all the time so the clothes and shoes you bring should be comfortable and durable for you!

School

  • Classes are not chosen in one large room at tons of different tables, first-come-first-serve style. A lot of it is online, but some science classes and English seminars, for example, require a hard copy application.  The add/drop period also lasts for a few weeks after registration begins, so students often switch classes even though it could be a couple weeks in.
  • Meals are actually really cheap on campus; NUI Galway subsidizes their food because they know students don’t have buckets of cash to spend (HWS can take notes).
  • The culture around school is definitely more lax, but students do normally attend their classes.  They skip sometimes, but for the most part they will show up.

Life

  • Nightclubs are usually more popular than bars with the students.
  • With younger people, the “culture of rounds” isn’t a thing—no one really offers to buy drinks for you, forcing you to reciprocate, but of course, still stay on the safe side.
  • Lots of students drink low-key in the daytime; there’s a popular bar on campus where students can grab a pint in between classes.
  • People won’t just invite you to their homes.  A great opportunity for sure, but it doesn’t happen all too often.
  • Students don’t really smoke weed here.  Just because it’s Europe doesn’t mean marijuana abounds!
  • Consent culture in Ireland is about 3-5 years behind the U.S.  Women, especially, should be on guard when attending clubs or bars because people are known to be handsy.
  • I’m cold by nature, but most people agree that the student accommodations at Gort na Coiribe take it to another level.  Invest in some heavy blankets and cozy socks!

*Info that was correct!*

  • Not all students, but many students, will drink a good deal before going out and when they’re out.
  • Women, especially, are very done up when going out, but you don’t need to feel pressured to do the same thing.
  • “Craic” is said often and with gusto.  Ex. What’s the craic?
  • Layers are essential here as lots of buildings aren’t very heated, if they’re heated at all.  Undershirts and scarves will save your life; more than once I’ve even worn two pairs of pants and/or two pairs of socks and it definitely helps.
  • Umbrellas are absolutely useless in the strong winds.  Also make sure you have a waterproof backpack or grab a waterproof cover for your backpack at the Student Union.