This semester, while some Springfield College students chose to study abroad or spend a semester at sea, Alden Street has filled the vacancies with study abroad students of their own, including four intrepid study abroad students hailing all the way from Ireland.
Kenny Murphy, Eoghan Burke, Aaron McLoughlin and Brid Keating, all from the Emerald Isle, are far from the comforts of homemade food, beloved family and lifelong friends. Yet based off of their demeanor, you would think they were right at home.
With an entire ocean and an approximate eight to 11 hour flight between them and home, the four have all taken a similar path to Springfield College. They all attend the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland. When presented with the idea to study abroad, the four were excited at the possibility.
“Like the others, I study Sports Science in Ireland and as part of our internship, we were given the opportunity to come over to Springfield College and work with the Athletic Training department,” said McLoughlin.
The four students, all juniors, arrived close to a week before the start of the spring semester and moved into their lodgings in the Townhouses and Senior Suites. All of them were excited for the experience, yet had a hard time adjusting right away.
“The first weekend we were here, there were no students aside from us. We were really bored,” said Murphy. “But after that, things took off. We got to know a lot of people. We got really lucky [with our roommates]. Everyone was really accepting, so we got really lucky.”
Classes have been going well, too, for the traveling Celts. With all of them looking to pursue a degree in either Athletic Training or Physical Therapy, Springfield College seemed like a logical choice for a semester abroad. Yet, the four found themselves with the chance of a lifetime that they couldn’t have back home.
“We had a lot of opportunities, but if we came to Springfield, we had the opportunity to physically work with athletes,” said Burke. “Back home, because of insurance purposes, we’re not allowed to touch anybody. So by coming here, we’re actually allowed to work with the athletes.”
With a wonderful opportunity to expand on their educations, the four also agreed that there are other subtle differences in the education process here at SC compared to back home. One of the more obvious is the size of each class, as some classes back home usually have 50 to 60 students per class, which include general education requirements, as well as courses for their major.
“People are also a lot more studious here. They study a lot more than we do at home,” said Murphy. “We study, but not that much. But we go to every lecture. We always go to lectures.”
Apart from their attendance for their classes, though, the four acknowledged that classes here start much earlier in the morning than what they’re used to at home, something that they aren’t extremely keen on. However, the four have adjusted to some of the American night life styles that do differ from home. In Ireland, the four said they were used to going out on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights, as opposed to the Americanized way of celebrating the weekends on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; the transition in their evening schedules, though, has been a smooth one.
“I’d kind of rather have it this way, though,” said Murphy. “You get a lot of work done during the week, and you stay fresh. Then on the weekends, you can just relax and do whatever.”
The four hope to take advantage of the weekends they still have available to them in the States, as they hope to go sightseeing over the next couple of months they have left. The group has already made a stop in Boston and hopes to revisit the city for St. Patrick’s Day. They also hope to visit New York City in the coming weekends, as well.
“Everything is bigger here in America,” said Keating. “There’s a lot of countryside back home in Ireland. We haven’t seen much of that here yet.”
Regardless of the dissimilarities the four have faced, which include a five-hour time zone difference that sometimes makes communicating with loved ones a hassle, Murphy, McLoughlin, Burke and Keating agree that their time here has been great. With their time here quickly disappearing, however, they group wishes they had more to spend stateside.
“Our time here is going by way too quickly,” said Burke, with the other three in full agreement. “We’ve already got less than four months. We’d like to extend our time here if we could.”
Nate Brown may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org