Episode 8: Ellen’s Declassified Ireland Survival Guide

Posted By: EllenGraham
Posted On: January 18th, 2019
Attending: Waterford Institute of Technology

Now that we’re six months into the Victory Scholar Program (sheesh does time fly), I thought I’d make a short list of do’s and don’ts for future scholars looking to apply to the program next year.


  1. Bring a pair of waterproof boots. They weren’t kidding when they tell you that it rains more often than it shines in Ireland. I wouldn’t have survived without my rainboots!
  2. Pack more than a week’s worth of workout gear. I’m not sure how much other Scholars are paying (if at all) for laundry, but at Waterford, it gets expensive quick. Having enough socks/spandex/sports bras/etc. will definitely keep your wallet happy.
  3. Invest in a good portable charger. That has probably been the single best pre-Ireland purchase I’ve made. Having some extra juice for my phone has saved me more than once while I’ve been traveling across Ireland and the rest of Europe!
  4. Budget, budget, budget. If you’re on a tight budget like me, planning out how much you’re going to spend each month and sticking to it (or at least trying to) will make life a lot easier.
  5. Reach out to current and past Scholars. When I was applying to the program I reached out to one of the past Scholars who went to Lafayette. A quick phone call with her gave me great insight into the program and what to expect when I finally got to Ireland.


  1. Don’t overpack. Leave your extra t-shirts and nicer clothes you’re on the fence about bringing with at home. Your closet will definitely expand while you’re over here, and you have to get all of that back to the states! Overweight bags will be your biggest enemy – bring only what you absolutely need.
  2. Don’t stress about moving halfway across the world. I know most, if not all, of the Scholars were anxious about moving to Ireland knowing practically no one, but trust me when I say it’s been one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve had so far. Everyone gets to know each other really well that first week in Belfast for orientation. Not to mention the Irish are super friendly and will go out of their way to make sure you’re happy and comfortable!
  3. Don’t pass up the opportunity to make the most of this experience. Have a free weekend? Go somewhere new. Long day of coaching and/or class ahead of you? Go in with a positive mindset and take advantage of the day. Your schedule will be packed, but you aren’t signing up to sit around in a different country and let this opportunity pass you by!
  4. Don’t procrastinate. The earlier you get things done, the better. Don’t leave those papers, projects, stipend forms, etc. till the last minute. You’ll thank yourself later!
  5. Don’t forget to keep up with friends and family back home. The time difference and busy schedule make it a little difficult, but keep in contact with those that mean the most to you. It will help keep homesickness at bay.

Thanks for reading! 🙂 If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other Scholars!

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