Student Life During Exams

Ronald Saraswat is an international student from India earning his MSc in Neuropharmacology. Take a glimpse into his exam preparations below!

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A Day in the Life – Michelle Lau Chai Hong

Michelle Lau Chai Hong  is an international student from Malaysia earning her MSc Occupational and Environmental Health and Safety.

“ Ring……” It is my alarm ringing to tell me it is a new day!

As usual, I quickly wash and get myself ready to go to the university. The university is just 20 minutes by foot from the place I live and there is a “park and ride” bus that can cut my journey to half the time.


My class starts at 9 am and on the way to the class, it is normally the time to grab a coffee or get some food. I meet my course mates and we have a good chat before the class starts. The lecture starts at 9am sharp, followed by a 10 minute break after an hour lecture. The break makes me feel better after an hour of study, because I get some fresh air and make my mind clear to get ready for the next hour class.

The class finishes at 1pm. It is then lunch time and the canteen is not far away from the lecture hall. A few of us go canteen together and enjoy our lunch.


After lunch, we have our lab. It is about the thermal comfort in the workplace and we measure the temperature, humidity and the air flow in the laboratory. Before measurements start, we were shown the procedures to calibrate the equipment as well as the technique to collect data. It is fun, as it makes me recall my days in the laboratory during my time in secondary school.

The lab finishes at 4pm, which indicates the end of my lecture hours on the day. After spending some time in the library, I head home for dinner.

I cook dinner with my housemates and we have a wonderful evening. Before I go to bed, I manage to do some revision on the lecture and prepare for the next day’s lectures.

Student life is busy, but I feel contented with the knowledge I’ve gained!

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Why Study at NUI Galway?

Daniel McFadden is an international student from America studying Computer Science & Information Technology.

Freshers Week, Petting zoo, Thanksgiving day, Poster sales, Mental Health week, and SHAG week, are some of the few events held throughout the year at NUI Galway that students can take part in. Both the university and the Students Union here are phenomenal at getting people together to make activities fun and engaging for everybody. In addition to campus activities, there is almost always a festival on every month around town or just a short bus ride away. Galway is considered the cultural heart of Ireland and thus there is always something that is new and exciting, whether that is a march/protest, or the International Oyster Festival, or the St. Paddy’s day parade, this is a town you cannot be bored in.

As an international student at NUI Galway is one of the best experiences I have embarked on. I consistently find myself torn between a RyanAir flight to mainland or taking a boat to the Aran Islands for a day. However, when I do stay in for a weekend on campus my friends and I usually spend the nights together out in town or eating Chinese takeaway gossiping until the wee hours of the morning. Just this past weekend I had a kilo of ham and baked dinner for one of my friends and I, together we ate dinner and watched a movie then headed out for Shamrock Shakes at McDonalds. Following that day I hosted a large breakfast with American style pancakes and some of my Corrib Village friends brought over the ingredients and we had our breakfast together.

Besides my experience as an NUIG student in terms of social life, the college atmosphere is equally as important and strong. While NUIG is a big school with 17,000 students it can feel small at times. In nearly all hallways you will always see someone you know or a friend of a friend. Even when I am in the Bialann (a cafeteria under the Arts Concourse) I always see someone I know through societies or Corrib Village, that I can chat with. In the realm of academics, each of my professors know me well as we are a smaller course (Computer Science) of about 50 people. NUI Galway’s small town feel but big city offers make it attractive place to live and study in.

Being an international student has allowed me to learn about other cultures, and in the process my own, and connect with people from all over. Opportunities and surprise come around every corner in Galway, making it a place your heart will fall for every new day.GalwayBay.jpg

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A Day in the Life – Nur Syazana

Nur Syazana Idris is an international student from Malaysia studying Medicine.

What I love most about the lecture timetable at NUI Galway is that it is very relaxing whereby sometimes classes start at 9am, sometimes at 10am and usually ends by 12pm. On days where there are Anatomy and Physiology Labs, the lab sessions resume at 2pm. On days where there are no lab, classes would end latest by 1pm and you may spend the rest of your evening studying in the library or going to the gym. This relaxing schedule rewards students with sufficient rest in between and allows us to be more productive in studying.

The most hectic day for myself is Tuesday because lectures usually end by 12pm, then I would have Anatomy lab from 2 – 5pm. Then, I would go for Karate from 6pm – 8.30pm. Lunch is not a problem at all in case I forgot to pack my lunch because there are a lot of cafés in campus that sells food at a reasonable price. There is also a canteen on campus which sells a variety of food and there are also a lot of seats whereby you can enjoy your packed lunch with your friends. It’s really cheap as well! A plate of fries would only cost you 1.50€. Besides, there are plenty of restaurants near campus which are within walking distance.

Despite the hectic schedule on Tuesdays, I really look forward to the Anatomy lab because I get to apply what I studied theoretically and therefore understand Anatomy better. During the 1st year of second semester, the Anatomy department and a few Anatomy and Medicine students organized an Anatomy Memorial Day which made us further appreciate the gift of knowledge that the donors have given us. Ever since then, I tend to fully utilize the dissection practical to study from the cadavers and realize the responsibility that I have as a student.  Hence, being in the anatomy lab is never close to boredom!

Karate is the first martial arts that I have ever indulged in and I am really glad I did because I made a lot of new friends and I also learned some really cool moves that might help myself in the future. Karate is also one of the ways I take a break from studying twice a week and it is definitely stress relieving because I get to release my anger/stress especially when we kick pads.

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Although Tuesday is my favorite yet hectic day, every day for the rest of the week is not that bad at all because the “Galway vibe” is very calming and positive as the traffic is not that bad and there are also lots of picturesque landscape that you will be amazed with when you walk around Galway.

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A New Chapter: NUI Galway Edition

Mary Labib is an international student from Canada studying Medicine.

“The best way to make sense of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance.” – Allan W. Watts

Moving 6000 km away from home to a whole new continent, and a whole new way of life. The true definition of heartache became clear to me, I mean crystal clear. Boarding the flight to come to an unknown land carried a wide range of emotions – excitement, nervousness, and disbelief. It felt as though there was a ten ton elephant on my shoulder the whole way there, but upon landing in Ireland, I received a sudden rush of exhilaration. My emotions went from running high in anticipation to running high in excitement within the snap of a finger – that was the past, this is now. When I think about my experience at NUI Galway, I gather a sense of joy. This year is definitely one to remember. NUI Galway has so many attributes which make for the most amazing experience. I can attest that although NUI Galway has outstanding education and as an international student the focus is on academics, there are a plethora of other factors that come into play.


Studying at NUI Galway has been an amazing experience for me not only academically but also socially and personally for many reasons:

The campus:

NUI Galway’s campus is not only education-based, supporting many study facilities, but also encompasses everything from student societies and sports to media, arts and volunteering. At NUI Galway, there are opportunities for everyone to get involved, no matter what you study or what you are interested in. As an international student, I walked into societies day thinking that nothing would be of interest to me. I was thrilled when I quickly realized that there is something for everyone! NUI Galway offers a wide range of societies and sports among many other extracurriculars which appeals to people of all different backgrounds. This is especially important for international students looking to get involved in a new community. This campus promotes a well-rounded life style which I find is essential to take part in. The multitude of activities that NUI Galway offers enhanced my experience because it helped me get involved and experience Galway from a perspective other than academics.


Where else would anyone want to be educated besides the land of the scholars? When you hear that NUI Galway is ranked within the top 2% in the world, the statistic speaks for itself! However, take it from someone who loves education, I cannot believe the quality of teaching I began receiving from my very first day. My professors are all tremendously intelligent which really helps because they are able to answer any question anyone fires at them. This is hard to find, especially in the university setting where the level of education is already so high. From the opportunities students are granted, to the support that the teachers give, the education system in NUI Galway is one that resembles the true essence of holistic learning.


Galway in particular has a prominent culture with includes traditions, language, music, art, folklore and not to mention the hype that is Irish football. As an international student, traditional Irish pubs are the place to be in order to experience the sense of unity in the culture! One of my most fond experiences in Ireland thus far is when my friends and I went to our first Irish pub. I felt the Irish culture in a way like no other; you have to see it to believe it! The abundance of pride and sense of belonging that Irish people express, especially in this close-knit city, was my first indication that these next six years are worth looking forward to.


The culture is backed up with beautiful scenery. The natural beauty that is country possesses cannot be put into words. After all, they don’t call Ireland “The Emerald Isle” for nothing. After doing some traveling, I can confirm that Galway is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Ireland!

There are a couple great locations in Galway which helps a student to unwind:

  • Shop Street looks like it is literally out of a movie! There are cute shops surrounding the cobble stone walkway as well as live performances and not to mention the best ice cream known to mankind: Gino’s.
  • The Spanish Arch is another place where students can go and gather a true sense of peace. With it being in town and right on the ocean, it is a very convenient go to place for many students to relax and relieve stress.
  • One thing that really puts Galway over the top is Salthill – walk the prom, breathe in the fresh air and soak up the views! Salthill offers the nicest boardwalk for students to enjoy morning, day or night on the shore.


What is not to love about studying at NUI Galway? The people, the places, the education … just wow. Moving away from home, I was so focused on the fact that I am only here for school. Initially, I was under the impression that between the library, school and fending for myself, there would be no time to enjoy the city. More importantly, I didn’t know what there was to enjoy in Galway. However, upon beginning this new chapter in my life, I realize that it’s not about having time to experience Galway as a whole, it’s about making the time.

Committing to a certain number of years to one city, away from home, was by far the hardest decision I’ve ever made. However, when I lay in bed at night and think about my experience in Ireland so far, I have nothing but appreciation for the land that I’m in, the people I have met, and the experiences I have had. Since my recent move to Ireland, I have started a new book, its pages are starting to get filled up with words I put on it myself. This book is called “Opportunity” and the first chapter is called “Grateful.”

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Semester Abroad at NUI Galway

Michael Chen is an international student from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon spending his Spring 2017 semester abroad. Follow along on his blog as he snaps a photo a day during his time at NUI Galway!

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MSc Clinical Research at NUI Galway

Shubham Atal is an international student from India earning his MSc Clinical Research.

The program I am pursuing here at NUIG is the Masters (MSc) in Clinical Research. It is offered as a 1 year full time taught course for international students while it’s also available as a 2 year part time course for Irish students. Clinical research is the branch of healthcare science that determines the safety and effectiveness (efficacy) of medications, devices, diagnostic products and treatment regimens intended for human use, through conduction of interventional / observational studies.

This course is for candidates who wish to move into professional roles in the domain of clinical research in industry or develop as researchers in academia. The course is delivered by the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway. The HRB-CRFG is a joint venture between the Health Research Board Ireland, the Saolta University Health Care Group and the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). The course has a very nicely structured curriculum and an ideal duration of 1 year, which was a perfect fit for me trying to switch from an academic to a more clinical research oriented career.  The format of compulsory and elective additional modules offers great flexibility.

The MSc Clinical Research was established in 2010 and till date has produced 49 graduates who have gone on to utilise their skills successfully in various domains of clinical research and healthcare. This was the first course of its type in Ireland and remains one of the very few courses of its kind across Europe with handful of universities in UK and a couple more in mainland Europe offering such 1 year training in clinical research for international students. It has acquired a national and international reputation with ever increasing numbers of applicants since its launch. There are 34 students currently registered, both full time and part time, to the program from a variety of backgrounds.

The objective of the course is to provide education and training to a community of professionals who will enable to enhance Ireland’s reputation as an upcoming major player in the global clinical research scene. Developments are still ongoing in the field, but opportunities are opening. It wouldn’t hurt if you had prior experience though, in terms of job opportunities in Ireland after a course like this.

Typical backgrounds from which students come in the course are: Medical/Surgical (50%), Biomedical science, Life Sciences, Pharmacy, Nursing, R&D (Industry), Healthcare, Education. Typical roles that graduates can go into after the course are: Clinical Prinicipal Investigator, Trial Monitoring/Clinical Research Administration, Research Nursing, Research Pharmacy, Data Management, Quality and Regulatory affairs, Education, Pharmacovigilance, Project Coordination/Management.

Students are required to complete three compulsory modules and choose from a basket of elective modules to make up a total of 90 ECTS credits including the 30 ECTS MSc thesis. The thesis is to be completed over the 1 year period and submitted at the end of the course. In choosing a thesis topic, interests of the students are taken into consideration well, attempting to match them with supervisors in their choice of research areas.


The modules covered in the course range from basics of medical research like fundamentals of health research, ethics, basic biostatistics to a wider spectrum of elective modules like advanced biostatistics, observational research methods, clinical trials, systematic reviews, translational medicine, clinical research administration, and even ‘wider perspective’ topics like economic evaluations, project management, database development. The first semester is mostly comprised of the 3 core modules, with choices of additional 2-3 modules available. So, in that sense, the second semester can be considered quite loaded with most elective modules to be chosen from and the thesis work expected to initialize.

The course has a blended learning format wherein there are modules ‘taught’ conventionally, or ‘discussed’ or offered completely / partially in online mode. So, quite a bit of self-learning is expected, along with different kinds of assignments, which is a unique enriching experience in itself. It may require some ‘getting used to’ if you come from education systems based on didactic and proper classroom learning. The course is expected to move further towards an online delivery platform. The faculties involved in delivering the modules are very accomplished in their respective fields. Professor Martin O’Donnell who is the Program Director is a very well renowned figure in the field of vascular medicine and stroke.

Another beneficial aspect is that there are opportunities to participate in clinical research activities in the HRB-CRFG, gaining hands on experience and thereby providing students with greater opportunities in the future, having delved into the real-life setting of clinical research and associated activities. These opportunities come in form of part time paid internships / jobs and volunteer research assistantships. For the paid profiles, it is usually expected to have relevant prior work experience.

To sum up, this Master’s program is a great platform if you are looking to launch or further your career in healthcare research in industry or academia. The learning atmosphere at NUIG is stimulating and encourages you to indulge in reading, learning, discussing, analysing the nuances of the field. I would gladly recommend it to people who wish to explore opportunities to develop in clinical research in Ireland and globally.

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