As the Mitchell Scholars studying in Galway this year, one of the most useful pieces of advice Azza and I received before moving to Ireland was to get to Galway early. We were told that there is a pretty serious housing crisis in Galway that is especially exacerbated when entering first years get to campus after receiving their Leaving Certificate Examination results in late August. Taking this advice to heart, Azza and I booked our flights for August 15th — three weeks before classes started.
Thankfully, getting to Galway this early did the trick. Within 3 days of arriving, Azza and I had secured a beautiful apartment on the charming docks of Galway Bay. Being in such a nice location (right on the water and a stone’s throw from both city centre and the NUIG campus) and with plenty of room for visiting guests, Azza and I joked that our apartment resembled more of a hotel than a student apartment.
Luckily for us, our charming apartment (and personalities 🙂 ) have allowed us to host many friends and fellow Mitchell Scholars and show them what we love about Galway! To name a few, Peter has traveled from Cork to explore Galway Bay with us, Ally and Emma have visited from Dublin to experience the weekly year-round Galway farmer’s market, Megan stopped through Galway on a road-trip with two of her friends from the US, and we even had Mitchell alum Katie Van Winkle stay with us for a few nights to show us what she loved about Galway when she lived here a couple years ago. My favorite guest was a lost dog, Simba, we found wandering around the docks late at night that we were able to reunite with his owner the next day.
Azza and I joke that it’s our apartment that draws our friends and fellow Mitchell Scholars to visit us in Galway, but we know the real reason is the desire of the Mitchell Scholars to form a tight-knit community. The Scholars’ desire to travel around Ireland to spend time with each other and the various events the Scholarship holds throughout the year for Alumni and friends really speaks to this strong community of the Mitchell Scholarship. The Mitchell strives to foster a community, both for social and professional support. Just from my couple of months here and the great times I’ve spent with fellow scholars in Galway and elsewhere in Ireland, I can see that one of the most unique and attractive aspects of the Mitchell Scholarship is the sense of community and family among the Mitchell Scholars and extended network.