My New Home: Ireland Bound

Posted By: StephPoland
Posted On: September 4th, 2017
Attending: Maynooth University


Where is home for me? I am from Cleveland, Ohio and I am extremely proud of where I come from. I am lucky to have such amazing family and friends who has always pushed me to follow my dreams. Hathaway Brown School is another home for me. My friends and teachers at HB shaped the way I think and made me into a stronger woman. Colgate University is my most recent home, and Colgate Women’s Basketball is certainly a part of my family. Colgate has challenged me in many ways, and has afforded me countless opportunities. Home is a lot of different places for me, but most importantly home is where there is family. Ireland is my new home and my family just got a little bigger with the entire Sport Changes Life community.

Twenty-four anxious Victory Scholars arrived in New York City on August 22nd before departing to Belfast. We all had heard of each other from playing against one another in college and from casually scrolling through each other’s social media when we all got accepted into the program, but we didn’t really know each other. After one week in Belfast together that changed. We overcame our jet lag, we successfully hiked to the top of Cave Hill (a beautiful hill overlooking Belfast), and we began to share our stories about how basketball has changed our lives and why we are all here today. We were only together one short week, but before we all departed to go to our respective universities, I did start to feel a little sense of family in Ireland.

I will not lie, I was slightly nervous when we left Belfast because I was the only scholar attending Maynooth University and playing for the Portlaoise Panthers. The sense of family I began to feel faded as I realized that I was indeed on my own. I began to explore Maynooth and I began to met some great people at the school and within my basketball club. I am actually currently staying at Jim Walsh’s house before I move into my apartment on campus. Jim, who is my contact to the Maynooth Basketball Academy, has gone out his way to make me feel welcome, which is exactly what I needed. Ever since I got to Ireland I have been blown away with how incredibly nice everyone is, which is why my transition has been relatively smooth so far. I am so excited to start practicing with the Portlaoise Panthers and begin my International Peace Building, Security, and Development Practice master’s degree and expand my family a little further.

I believe home is wherever you are surrounded by family, and I am excited to make Ireland my new home. Although I am so excited for this journey, I will always remember where I came from and who has helped shape me into the person I am today.



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