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1990 - 1999 The 1990's

1994 Brendan Ó Sé

Where are they now? Head of Development and Professional Programmes at the Language Centre at UCC ... Read more

1994 Brendan Ó Sé

"Little did I think that when I first entered the Language Centre back in 1994 to do a four-week intensive teacher training course, that it would be the start of a long-term relationship leading to a career in the Centre for over 20 years."


1995 Maria Jose Roig Fabra

Where are they now? Retired primary school teacher, studying drama in Valencia, and also working as a travel tour director, still regularly using her English. ... Read more

1995 Maria Jose Roig Fabra

Maria spent a year’s sabbatical with us, studying English and teaching Spanish to postgraduate students. Maria threw herself into university life, and she fondly remembers deep conversations with fellow students, ‘about politics, music, sex, literature, countries...’ as well as walks in West Cork with the mountaineering society.


1995 Carmen Nesdale

Where are they now? Artist in Cork ... Read more

1995 Carmen Nesdale

Carmen credits her English programme with giving her the confidence to progress to a Bachelors degree in Fine Art. She also talks about learning more than just English at the Language Centre, explaining how she met a young East Berliner who opened a window onto the world for her.

1996 Dr Giuliano da Villa

Where are they now? A medical doctor, Giuliano is an assistant health minister and a world expert on Hepatitis B. ... Read more

1996 Dr Giuliano da Villa

Giuliano credits his English studies at the Language Centre with helping him along in his impressive career, including fifteen years at the World Health Organisation and numerous international conferences. Giuliano’s teacher, Joe, worked with him one-to-one on the English he needed for this very specialised field.

1999 Wei Lan

Where are they now? Consultant Anaesthesiologist, Cork University Hospitals Group ... Read more

1999 Wei Lan

Wei Lan began his relationship with UCC in 1999, when he came to the university to undertake research and develop his career. The Language Centre helped him prepare for the English test he needed to pursue his medical career here in Ireland. Wei Lin is now one of our frontline staff doing battle with Covid-19.

2000 - 2009 The 2000's

2000 Dr Sardar Aziz

Where are they now? Currently working in Kurdistan parliament in Iraq ... Read more

2000 Dr Sardar Aziz

Sardar came to Ireland from Iraq. He says he came to UCC for the language training but then never really left, obtaining his PhD on the crisis in the states of the Middle East in 2011. Sardar’s work has taken him to the heart of Kurdish politics, standing for election and then acting as senior advisor on parliamentary democracy.

2001 Felipe Pastor

Where are they now? Electronic engineer, New York ... Read more

2001 Felipe Pastor

Felipe describes the impact that studying at the Language Centre had on the development of his career. He quit his dream job in Spain, after realising he needed to improve his English in order to progress. He credits his decision to choose the university over a lower priced option with helping him towards his success. He spent two years at the Centre and achieved his Cambridge Advanced English qualification. The immediate impact of this was a five-year stint at a multinational in Shannon, before heading off to make a life with his wife and two children in the Greater New York area.

2002 Vasiliki Mendri (Bessy)

Where are they now? Project Leader and Direct Sales Manager, CCMAS (Customer Contact Management Association) ... Read more

2002 Vasiliki Mendri (Bessy)

Bessy came to UCC on a career break from her job as an English language teacher in Greece. She took full advantage of the Language Centre’s university setting and attended additional lectures in the Department of Linguistics and in her specialism TEFL. She only intended to stay in Ireland for a year, but she fell in love, and her life took an entirely new direction, eventually putting down roots in Enniscorthy, Wexford. 

2003 Emma Connolly

Where are they now? Strategy Officer in the International office, UCC ... Read more

2003 Emma Connolly

In her current role in UCC International Office, Emma reflects on her completion of the CELTA as a pivotal step both professionally and personally.

‘Not only did the skills gained enhance my career path, leading back to UCC where EFL and intercultural communication skills are key to dealing with students from over 100 countries, but the lifelong friendships forged continue to this day, spanning many continents.’  Emma

2010 - 2019 The 2010's

2010 Roberto Trevino Lopez

Where are they now? Food business owner, Mexico ... Read more

2010 Roberto Trevino Lopez

Roberto took an intensive pre-degree programme with the Language Centre. He graduated from UCC with an MSc in Food Business, having completed a placement with Kepak Group and Cork Meat Company. He remained working in Ireland for a year under the Third Level Graduate Scheme. Now back in Mexico, he is using his experience in the Irish food industry in various farm-to-fork projects and he retains a lovely touch of the Cork dialect, ending his story by saying, “Thank God I got the chance to share a piece of my life at the Language Centre and got to know ye all.”

2013 Dr Arwa Alsufyan

Where are they now? Lecturer at Imam University in Riyadh ... Read more

2013 Dr Arwa Alsufyan

Arwa was sponsored by Imam University to do her postgraduate degrees at UCC. Starting with a year’s foundation in English at the Language Centre, she went on to complete an MA in 2014 and then a PhD with Languages, Literatures and Cultures in 2019. Arwa says, “The Language Centre was a pathway to achieving my postgraduate degrees.... the staff were so welcoming and did their best to make us feel comfortable.”

2014 Amnah Alshangiti

Where are they now? Amnah has just returned to her home country and is looking for a job. ... Read more

2014 Amnah Alshangiti

Amnah joined the Language Centre just a couple of weeks after getting married and she describes her honeymoon as ‘the best semester ever’ at the Language Centre. Amna went on to study for a PhD in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience at UCC. She has fond memories of feeling safe and welcome at UCC and in Ireland. She describes the moment of realisation that if she kept waiting for the rain to stop, she would never go out, and taking enormous pleasure from that point in walking the cool pavements with her friends.

2014 Javier Alarcon

Where are they now? Javier is a Marketing Lecturer in University of Jaén, Andalucia, Spain. ... Read more

2014 Javier Alarcon

Javier was a very satisfied summer school customer giving us some amazing feedback describing our high-quality teaching, the wide choice of modules and the great atmosphere for learning. He also mentions the varied social programme and the additional value of all the facilities and services on UCC’s campus. He liked it so much, he returned for a second summer course after his first visit in 2014.

2016 Maria Teresa Linares

Where are they now? Maria Teresa is a freelance translator ... Read more

2016 Maria Teresa Linares

Maria is descended from the O’Sullivans of Bere Island, so coming to Ireland to study English was an easy choice for her. Once here, she packed more into her eight months than most of us do in a lifetime! Among other things, she took trips to Sligo, Kerry, Connemara, Galway and Dublin, and she made a personal pilgrimage from Dundalk to Faughart to walk Brigid’s Way and to learn about Celtic traditions. Back in Argentina she has kept the Irish connection alive. She is an active member of Irlandeses de Córdoba Asociación Civil, an Irish Association, which in 2017 gave her opportunity to meet President Higgins and to tell him all about the wonderful time she had spent at the Language Centre at UCC.

2016 Dr Liu Ying (known as Joyce)

Where are they now? Lecturer in Art History in Beijing Institute of Science and Technology ... Read more

2016 Dr Liu Ying (known as Joyce)

Joyce first came to the Language Centre for a three-month stay as a visiting scholar as part of a joint programme with the Centre for the Integration of Research in Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). She writes that the stay was a “great opportunity for me to reflect on the cultural differences and the identity of myself, as well to see the difference of higher education between Ireland and China.” Joyce returned for two summer visits, bringing friends and her young family with her to take part in summer school family packages, the adults studying at the Language Centre and the youngsters attending summer camps at the Mardyke Sports Arena.

2017 Yusuke Henry Bent

Where are they now? Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS), majoring in Japanese Modern Literature ... Read more

2017 Yusuke Henry Bent

Yusuke came to the Language Centre as part of our partner institution TUFS’ well-established study-abroad programme.

Yusuke says he admires the way the Irish have respect for their own culture and he returned to Cork for a second visit, staying again with the same local host family. He loved Ireland and the Rebel City and still considers himself part of the Rebel Army as a big supporter of Cork City Football Club.

2018 Lindita Jaupaj

Where are they now? Studying for a Diploma in Management Practice at UCC and volunteering for community organisations. ... Read more

2018 Lindita Jaupaj

Lindita came to Ireland as an asylum seeker in 2016. In 2018, Lindita was awarded a UCC scholarship to study management and the Language Centre, under the direction of Elisabeth Okasha, matched this with an English scholarship in order to support her with her studies. Lindita came to the Centre to get help understanding her lectures and completing her assignments, but she also found it helped with her everyday life, and she says this gave her the confidence to get involved with various volunteering projects.  Lindita says her goal is to contribute to Irish society in any way she can, as she has always expressed her gratitude with actions.

2018 Suguru Obuchi

Where are they now? Final-year degree student, Kyoto, Japan ... Read more

2018 Suguru Obuchi

The Language Centre at UCC and Ryokoku University have a close friendship, having collaborated over many years on programmes for visiting degree students.  

He was impressed by the friendliness and inclusivity of Irish culture and has stayed friends with students he met at UCC who were studying Japanese, even welcoming one of them to his home in Japan during the Rugby World Cup.

2018 Hebah Alwaibi

Where are they now? A graduate with an MSc in Information Management and Managerial Accounting Systems, Saudi Arabia ... Read more

2018 Hebah Alwaibi

Hebah credits the “brilliant” teachers at the Language Centre with doing more than just teaching, saying “some of them went beyond that, they motivate you, give you  lessons for life and make sure you do not get bored.”

2019 Dr Marina Zolotova

Where are they now? Head of English Language for Humanities Department, Lobachevsky State University, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia ... Read more

2019 Dr Marina Zolotova

Marina and her colleagues attended a bespoke teacher refresher course delivered by the Language Centre and CIRTL, the Centre for the Integration of Research in Teaching and Learning.

The programme is a product of partnership and friendship, between Lobachevsky State University and UCC, and between the Language Centre and CIRTL. Given the professional standing of many of the participants, programmes like this are tailor-made, enabling cultural exchange and facilitating the creation of ongoing networks of practice and scholarship.

2019 Anthony Baretti

Where are they now? Anthony is an apprentice on the MSc in Engineering (Diplome d’Ingenieur) at AgroTech Paris, France ... Read more

2019 Anthony Baretti

AgroTech Paris is a French institution with a rich 180-year history. Apprentices from the Masters in Engineering programme attend the Language Centre each year in order to improve their English and to have an international experience, studying general English alongside more specialist courses.

In 2019, our Student Engagement Officer, Carolyn organised for Anthony and his colleagues to attend a forestry conference in Mallow as part of our approach to a connected curriculum.

2019 Suane Da Silva Barbosa

Where are they now? Living still in Ireland and working in industry, Suane is planning her next steps and is considering the UCC MBA. ... Read more

2019 Suane Da Silva Barbosa

Suane’s dream had long been to travel to study, and when the opportunity came along, she extensively researched all the options, eventually alighting on Ireland and the UCC Language Centre.

Like all big adventures, it would involve some sacrifices and risks, not least having to leave her husband and son in Rio de Janeiro while she was here. Her experience at UCC has been worth it. She cites the teaching staff and the interesting mix of nationalities among her fellow classmates as being motivational and was pleased to be able to quickly find work while studying.

She now feels confident to move onto her next big dream, to earn an Irish postgraduate degree.

2020 - 2029 The 2020's

2020 Berrin Ozge Yazgan

Where are they now? Studying online at the Language Centre ... Read more

2020 Berrin Ozge Yazgan

Berrin is a long-term student at the Language Centre and has the perspective of working with us both in-person, on-campus and throughout the COVID period, when we had to transfer our teaching online.

She made the transition to our online platform and has continued to work with her teachers to develop and see improvements in her English skills. A lawyer for 11 years in Turkey before moving to Ireland with her husband, she is now planning to apply for a Law Masters programme at UCC

2020 Jinyeob Kim

Where are they now? Working for the Korean Government, Department of Tourism ... Read more

2020 Jinyeob Kim

Jin’s decision to come to Ireland gave him sleepless nights. His company offered him a promotion just before he came and he had to turn it down in order to take up his place at UCC.  His mission in coming to Cork was to improve his English while also conducting a benchmarking study into Korean and Irish tourism.  In the end his decision paid off. Not only did he improve his English and complete his study, but he was offered the promotion anyway.


2020 Francisco Fosser

Where are they now? Working for Ernst and Young in Buenos Aires ... Read more

2020 Francisco Fosser

When Francisco was choosing where to study abroad, Ireland was first in his mind. An active member of the Irish Association in Buenos Aires and the Almirate Browne Association, he has a long-time love of Irish culture and music, and the memory of a girl he had met from Macroom helped him decide to apply to study in Cork.

Both creative and sporty, he writes shorts stories in English. He credits the Language Centre with helping him secure his dream job with Ernst and Young, where he now regularly uses his English working with clients from the USA and India.

Our Alumni Stories

The Language Centre was established in 1994 and has helped thousands of people to reach their learning, teaching and communication goals in English.  To celebrate our 25th year of service, we have reconnected with twenty five of our alumni and asked them to tell us how the Language Centre helped them to get closer to achieving their personal goals. 

Brendan Ó Sé (from Ireland)

Brendan’s story in his own words

‘Little did I think that when I first entered the Language Centre back in 1994 to do a four-week intensive teacher training course, that it would be the start of a long-term relationship leading to a career in the Centre for over 20 years. 

I was fortunate in many respects with this training course. I found in teaching something I really enjoyed doing and from it was able to embark on a career that allowed me to experience living in different parts of the world and then return to work as a teacher in the Language Centre. This was only possible because of the support of the two tutors I had on the course: Richard Masterson and Cathy Gannon. The course had finished, but we kept in contact, and in 1997 I was invited back to the Centre to do the Diploma in English language teaching, and the following year I went on to do a Master’s in Applied Linguistics. In 1999, I started teaching in the Centre and have been here ever since. 

Being an English language teacher, you get to meet people from all over the world and the learning opportunities from these students are fantastic. No two learners are ever the same and no two days at work are ever the same. No matter how I may feel entering a class, I always feel more positive and energised by the time I leave. The Language Centre in UCC is a great place to work. Our university campus is so beautiful and on a sunny day when the place is a-buzz with the students milling around, there is no better place to be.

My role in the Centre has changed from solely teaching. I am now Head of Development and Professional and it is an exciting position. We also have a new Director, Zoe Williams, and in the short time she has been here the scope and potential of the Language Centre has expanded. 

While life in the Language Centre has seen many positive changes in the recent past, nothing could have prepared us for the change that the current Covid-19 crisis has brought. They say that in adversity we learn who we are. I am incredibly proud of what we, as a team, here in the Language Centre have achieved. Continuing to support our students and recruit new ones as we have transferred the delivery of our courses to fully online and while it is an uncertain time, we are confident that we can rise to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.’

Maria Jose Roig Fabra (from Spain)

Maria's story in her own words

"One of the greatest years in my life was the year I spent as student number 95990500 in DAELS (Diploma Adult English Studies) at UCC Language Centre in 1995-96.

That school year I had a sabbatical year from my teaching job in Valencia (Spain). I was a Primary School teacher who wanted to improve her English. It was quite difficult to find the most suitable course for me in British and Irish Universities. Eureka! DAELS was at UCC Language Centre! I enrolled from Valencia with Viviane’s help; she was the secretary at the Language Centre at that time, and I moved to Cork in August 1995.

From that moment, everything went without a hitch and I had great fun.

At the Language Centre I learnt a lot from very good teachers: Mr Dodd, Mr Walsh, Mr French, Mrs Gannon and Mr Masterson. Cathy Gannon and Richard Masterson were not only my excellent teachers, but they also became my beloved friends, with whom I am still in touch. (Photo 1)

I also had a great time with my friends from the University, going to the pub, chatting or doing activities together. I especially remember our Thursday gatherings to talk about politics, music, sex, literature, countries... at lunch time in the canteen. They were brilliant moments. (Photo 2 John, Owen, Tina, María José (myself), Vincent and Katerina)

Moreover, I joined the mountaineering club at the University. They organized beautiful walks around West Cork. Talking about this area, Cork city was (I hope still is) a cosy, lovely and fun place. I was very lucky to find accommodation right in the city centre at Deanshall, which was very convenient and an outstanding place to make friends.

As I was already a qualified teacher, the Language Centre gave me the opportunity to teach Spanish conversation at postgraduate level. This gave me great satisfaction, as I always love teaching.  I really enjoyed the time I spent teaching very kind, clever and friendly students, called Gabnait, Auril, Hillary and Denise. (Photo 3 some of them and myself)

The school year came to an end and I returned to Valencia very Corksick (missing my life in Cork so much).

Life went on (goes on); I carried on teaching English at Primary School in Valencia first and in Andorra later for a while. Then back in Valencia again, I moved into Secondary School as a Spanish teacher. I retired from teaching 2 years ago.

Nowadays, I’m studying drama in Valencia, but I started in the Gaiety Acting School in Dublin in 2018, and I also work as a travel tour director, where I use my English very often. I am very grateful to everybody who has helped me in my English studies, especially at the UCC Language Centre.

My congratulations on the 25th anniversary and I wish all of you at the Language Centre many fruitful years ahead of you helping people to develop their English skills".



Carmen Nesdale (Spanish)

Carmen’s story in her own words

‘In a nutshell I want to describe how a good experience it was to have done the English Proficiency.

After years of rearing the children, and finding myself with more time on my hands, I decided with another Spanish friend to do this course which I felt potentially could open a new world for me.

It was 1991 we met the teacher Goodith, organising the course, for the first time in UCC and I knew instantly this was the course for us. We learned a great deal, and one thing that stays in my mind, is the day we were asked what would we do if we won millions in the lottery, there were people from different nationalities, some people were going to have a castle built, others were going to travel for a year around the world, others were going to buy cars and luxuries, and there was that young man from east Berlin who was doing a post graduate course , and he just said that his only dream was to have an extra room at home for him to study. He had a young family and though the Berlin Wall had just been demolished, the old regime allocated families in dwellings with minimum space, in accordance with family numbers.

This has stayed with me ever since.

  • In September 1993 I enrolled for a Diploma in Social Studies in UCC and finished in June 1995.
  • In 2003 -2004 I took a full-time course in Art at CSN College of Further Education,
  • In Sep. 2008 I enrolled in Crawford College of Art and Design and finished in 2012 with an honour Bachelor of Arts, in Fine Art from Cork Institute of technology.

 Ever since I was young, I dreamt of becoming an artist, but my journey took other paths.

Taking the Proficiency in English at UCC I feel gave me confidence and opened doors for me that I never thought I could.’

Dr Giuliano da Villa (from Naples, Sicily)

Giuliano's story in his own words

"My name is Giuliano da Villa. I was born in Naples on the 16th of March 1935. I still reside there.  I am a Medical Doctor, specializing in four disciplines: Communicable Disease; General and Special Hygiene; Internal Medicine and Endocrinology. I have published 92 works in the English language on Viral Hepatitis B. I worked for the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 15 years, organizing viral hepatitis B vaccination in Italy, Albania, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Bhutan, and the Seychelles, under the programme called Indian Ocean Immunization. I have given many conferences on Viral Hepatitis in several countries, the United States of America, France, Turkey, China, Russia to name but a few.

I was in Cork in 1996 and in 1997, studying English at the Language Centre, University College Cork. For both years my teacher was Joe French, who taught me one to one because I have a deteriorating eye condition. The reason why I studied English was because I needed it for my job in the World Health Organisation. Joe French was an exemplary teacher and he was able to help me improve my English in a short few month during the summer. My English training in Ireland helped both my work and my personal life. The Irish countryside was stunning, and I was able to go on many tourist trips on those days when I did not have classes. Finally, I have to say that my English studies in Cork helped me very much to have a successful career."

Wei Lan (originally from China)

Wei's story in his own words

"My name is Wei Lan. I am originally from China.  I am working as a consultant Anaesthesiologist and Pain Specialist in Cork, Ireland.   

First of all, I would like to congratulate the 25th Anniversary of the Language Centre in UCC.  Secondly, I would like to thank Ms. Carolyn O'Brien and the Language Centre, UCC for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with others.

Having embarked on an anaesthetic career in China, I travelled to Ireland to undertake research and further my anaesthetic career in 1999.   I came to Ireland work as a medical research fellow (Medical Doctorate Degree) in the Surgical Research Department, UCC, in Cork University Hospital.   In order to improve my English language skills and prepare for the IELTS to pursue my medical career in Ireland, I attended the English course in the Language Centre in UCC.   During that time, I met a number of English teachers in the Language Centre and I gained great help from each one of them.  I passed the IELTS in year 2000.   I would like to thank Mr. Joe French in particular, for his fantastic teaching, support and friendship over the years.

I have welcomed the opportunity afforded and completed my training in Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine in Ireland and the U.K..  Currently, I am working as a consultant Anaesthesiologist and Pain Specialist in Cork University Hospitals Group (Cork University Hospital, South Infirmary University Hospital and Mallow General Hospital).   I enjoyed and benefited from the experience in Cork over the years.   Now, I am one of the frontline healthcare workers to provide medical care to the patients during the current COVID-19 pandemic." 

Dr Sardar Aziz (from Iraq)

Dr Sardar's story in his own words

"My name is Sardar Aziz, I studied in UCC in the early 2000s.

I came to Ireland from Iraq for the purpose of living. I settled in Cork with little or no English. I started to learn the language in other places but in order to make it more efficient, I joined the Language Centre. I remember many staff members, Cathy, Sally-Ann, Richard, Brendan. I started with language, but I never left the university fully.  I have many different and nice memories of the college. When it comes to the country, the greenness is my first impression: something very different from the Middle East.  After learning the language, I continued my study in the department of Government and I obtained my PhD in 2011. My thesis was on the crises of the states in the Arab Middle East. I completed my thesis when the Arab Spring started in the region. My conceptual work captured the complexity of the governing system in the Middle East region. Afterward, I stood for the parliament in Iraqi Kurdistan, losing my seat due to the women quota.

In 2014 I got a job as a senior adviser in the Kurdistan parliament: I advised the speaker and I focused on parliamentary diplomacy. I wrote on many governing aspects of the Kurdistan region: political economy, energy, statehood, regional relations, Turkish politics. Currently, I’m working on the relationship between China, Iraq and Kurdistan, an emerging complex relationship that has an impact on every aspect of life in the region, especially in the coming era of big power competition and multipolarity."


Felipe Pastor (Spanish)

Felipe's story in his own words

"My name is Felipe Pastor and I would like to describe how UCC and its Language Center will forever be connected to my life journey in several ways… allow me to share my story with you!

In early 2001 I was a young electronic engineer working for a successful Spanish company with solid experience in electronic design and technical marketing, but with a big handicap: my English was terrible! In order to fix the problem, I decided to quit my dream job in Spain, landed a good job in Cork and started to get settled. In October my girlfriend joined me, and we rented a place in Wellington Road. By early Sept 2002 I came across the Language Center, the decision to sign-up was easy: the slightly higher cost than a private school was clearly justified by the backing of UCC, this decision had a meaningful impact in my life and my career.

For the following 2 years I attended the Language Center and Mr. Joe French was my teacher, he was able to make students feel comfortable in class no matter the topic of the day and his classes were always fun. The group was extraordinarily diverse, even for Cork in 2002! Solid friendships developed out of this experience: I am still in touch with Halvor from Norway and Caty from Spain as well as with Mr. French himself who became my good friend Joe.

By 2003 I obtained an Advanced English Degree from the University of Cambridge, testimony to the quality offered by UCC Language Center. This degree helped me to solve my language problems and opened up new opportunities: in 2004 I joined a multinational company in Shannon where we lived for 5 years. Life moved on and we relocated to the Greater New York area 3 years ago where I live with my wife and 2 kids."

Vasiliki Mendri (known as Bessy) from Greece

Bessy's story in her own words

"My main tutors were Richard Masterson and Cathy Gannon- they were absolutely brilliant and were there for me whenever I needed help and support. I also attended a variety of lectures from the Linguistics course on offer, as well as the TOEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) class. The lecturers and my classmates were all wonderful to me and the facilities around the campus, such as the library and computer rooms, were first class as well.

The plan was to finish my course and go back to Greece... but love got in the way of those plans so I decided to stay in Ireland. After finishing my course in UCC, I moved to Dublin for a year and then to Wexford, where I live to this day. I worked for various financial services and climbed the corporate ladder in an Insurance company, becoming Project Leader and Direct Sales Manager for the whole of Ireland. In 2010 I got a degree in Business from Carlow IT and the same year I was awarded Team Leader of the year at the CCMAS (Customer Contact Management Association), a very prestigious accolade, as it meant that I was chosen amongst colleagues coming from all major companies in the Republic.

A lot has changed in my life since I came to Ireland- I am now happily married and living in Enniscorthy in a lovely house with our three children. My decision to come to Ireland gave me access to a different world full of opportunities and I will always have the fondest of memories from my time in UCC. I sincerely thank you for making me feel part of the community and giving me the support I needed to achieve my goals."

Emma Connolly (Irish)

Emma's story in her own words

"In my current role in UCC International Office, I reflect on the pivotal step both professionally and personally, my 2003 completion of CELTA was at UCC Language Centre. Not only did the skills gained enhance my career path, leading back to UCC where EFL and intercultural communication skills are key to dealing with students from over 100 countries, the lifelong friendships forged continue to this day, spanning many continents.

I had a long-term interest in language teaching, assisting secondary school students throughout my undergraduate degree in Language and Cultural Studies, teaching English part-time in Germany during my three years’ study there, and working as a tutor for the German Department when I returned to UCC to complete my MPhil.

I taught in Cork for a number of years, first French and German in the Irish Post Leaving Certificate sector, and then overseas.

When I returned from two years in China, I completed the CELTA part time. It was a formative experience, thanks to the inspirational trainers, providing strong basis for professional development when I returned to work at Chinese universities, developing Joint Programmes with UK, Candian and Irish HEIs. This in turn led me back home to my current role, where I regularly engage with Language Centre colleagues whose expertise and professionalism greatly enhances UCC’s offering to overseas partners and prospects.

My closest cooperation in recent years primarily related to development of programmes in Teaching and Learning for international faculty. As a grateful graduate of the Language Centre and an appreciative colleague, I wish to congratulate the excellent Language Centre team on this milestone of reaching a quarter of a century and very much look forward to future projects!"

Roberto Trevino Lopez (Mexico)

Roberto's story in his own words

"First of all I would like to thank you for including me in your project for the 25th Anniversary of the language centre.

I went for the first time to Cork during the summer school 2010 where I had the chance to meet wonderful people and start the application for my Master's Degree.

The preparation I undertook was very brief and concise, as I was applying for my master's and needed certain level of English, to be precise 6.5 (IELTS) and 10 weeks was more than enough to get it done. I am very thankful with all the teachers that took part in my success during the summer school period such as Joe French, Noreen O’Mahony, Brandon, Moreen and of course the administrative staff.

I graduated from MSc Food Business under the supervision of my tutor Joe Bogue and got a very nice work placement at Kepak Group and at The Cork Meat Company. After that, I stayed under the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme for a year and developed many different managerial tasks within the Food Industry in Ireland.

Now in Mexico I develop activities regarding Food Industry Projects (from farm to fork) including construction, operational and managerial leadership, continuous improvements, etc.

As a summary, I could tell there is no words to explain the happiness I received from such nice people as you, and by you, I refer to Irish people. Thank God I got the chance to share a piece of my life at the Language Centre and get to know ye all."

Dr Arwa Alsufyan (Saudi)

Arwa's story in her own words


My name is Arwa Alsufyan. I am a Saudi female who was born in Riyadh, on the 14th of August 1989. I did my BA at Imam University in Riyadh in English language and translation and got employed after two years at the same university. I was sponsored by Imam University to do my postgraduate degrees in Ireland. It was when a friend of a friend recommended UCC. So, my family and I decided to move to Ireland for a few years since my brothers wanted to do their graduate degrees abroad. I was happy to study at UCC language centre from September 2013 to the end of June 2014. The staff were so welcoming and did their best to make us feel comfortable. I set my goal to do my MA and PhD in applied linguistics. Fortunately, I passed my MA in 2014 with an honour’s degree and was accepted to do a PhD with Dr. Martin Howard, the Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. I completed my PhD in June 2019. Indeed, the language centre was a pathway to achieving my postgraduate degrees. I am now happily teaching at Imam University in Riyadh. I hope to have the chance someday to pass by UCC and greet the wonderful staff and meet students from all over the world.

Best Regards Carolyn and keep in touch!

It's very good to hear from you.



Amnah Alshangiti (Saudi Arabia, Mauritania)

Amnah's story in her own words

My name is Amnah Alshangiti, I am a 37 years old mom from Saudi Arabia. We are a second-generation emigrant from Mauritania, which is a developing African country with very rich culture. Religious, Arabic literature, and herbal medicine are the essential education in Mauritania. My parents were always encouraging my sister and me to complete our education and have a higher degree. I really wanted to study medicine and participate in the human disease research projects. My best friend advised me to come to Ireland as it has ones of the top best universities around the world. Also, she assured me that it won’t be difficult to live in Ireland as it is a safe place for Muslims and people are kind, which by the way I found it so true. I also was informed that the acceptance in the Irish English school was not difficult, and the classes are very good as many of Saudi students reached their aim IELTS scores in a reasonable period of starting English classes. 

One of my happiest moments was when I received the acceptance letter to study English in Cork from Anita Carroll, I can’t forget how she responded to me and assured to me that I can fly to Cork as soon as I want.  Cork was the very first place to live in out of Saudi Arabia. I still remember my first days when I started to study intensive English lessons. I was extremely happy. When I arrived on the 10th of Jan 2014 I was just married a couple of weeks prior to my flight. I felt like I was on a honey “year” just with English classes instead of Champagne! I still remember my first semester with Joe and Nadine, which was the best semester ever! All UCC language center teachers and staff were well qualified and very kind, I did not face any issues, it was like a dream.

Coming from hot dry country like Saudi Arabia made it a bit difficult for me to discover the rainy Cork. Till one day my teacher Seamus said to us “if you are waiting for the rain to stop to go out, you’ll never do so because it will never stop raining!” Then I started to go out with my class mates. I loved walking along the pavement in cold weather and no burning sun above my head. The green theme of Cork was amazing and it was quiet unlike Dublin which streets and lanes were very busy almost all of the time. I really wanted to stay longer and obtain an admission to study a PhD degree in Cork.

My undergraduate degree was in biology and my master was a technical program in anatomy and histology which were both here in Saudi Arabia. I wanted to be involved in human disease research and luckily UCC was the perfect place for me. While I was studying English, I received an email from another amazing person, Dr. Gerard O’Keeffe, who is going to be my supervisor for the next four and a half years,. Dr. O’Keeffe introduced me to his wonderful colleges, Professor Aideen Sullivan and Dr. Shane Hegarty and that was when I started my PhD journey in Anatomy and Neuroscience department in UCC.  

One important thing I want to mention about my study for UCC is, that I always felt that I am welcome no matter how I was different.  I learned a lot and it’s not all about science it was about life too and how to be engaged and productive with other people who have totally different characters. It was definitely a melting pot! However, the cooked meal was very delicious!

Javier Alarcon (Spanish)

Javier's story in his own words

"My name is Javier Alarcón, I am lecturer at Marketing at University of Jaén (Spain). I took an English general course of four weeks of duration in two times (in 2014 and 2019).

To tell you the truth, I really do think Language Centre at UCC is one of the best English schools I have ever attended. That is because Language Centre is not just a simple school of language, this centre is much more. The teachers are very prepared and friendly, and you can perceive a great atmosphere that helps you improve your English. Moreover, they are not only focused on teaching your English grammar, but they also focus on speaking, listening, writing and more. In this way, you can choose different modules according to your needs (general English or academic English). Several activities are proposed every week apart from the regular lessons and as student of UCC you can profited some privilege in UCC Campus (Library, Gym, etc.)."

Maria Teresa Linares (Argentina)

Maria Teresa's story in her own words

"In 2016 I decided to study English in Ireland. In Ireland and not elsewhere, because my maternal family (Sullivan) was originally from Bere Island, Co. Cork. After a careful evaluation, Cork was my preferred city. And regarding the institution where I wanted to study I had no doubts, no second thoughts: UCC, for its long tradition and good reputation.

UCC offers amazing services that for me were invaluable: the Boole Library, where you can not only read a book or watch a film, you can also work at your ease from Monday to Sunday. The restaurant, with good meals and convenient prices. The Mardyke Arena, my favourite place in the evening. Here I attended yoga classes, went to the sauna and had the opportunity to watch some hurling matches.

I arrived in Cork in June 2016, when the days are long and the weather is mild, when there are plenty of outdoor activities everywhere. One of these events I remember was a summer evening concert on the Quad. I couldn’t help chuckling as I read the recommendation on the ticket: to be warmly dressed, to take an umbrella, a raincoat, a blanket and sunglasses too! Because in Ireland you can get four seasons in one day!

UCC programme included excursions, visits and events on Wednesdays afternoon. This kind of activities were ideal to visit new places, to get in touch with the other students and to talk to them in a spontaneous way. My first Wednesday tour was to Shandon with Aoife Ni Mhurchu, and in the church we were allowed to ring the bells! On another Wednesday, we went to Fota Park by bus. Next to me, Li, a young student from China, was making an origami flower with patience. Suddenly, I found myself making my own flower following her instructions. With some people I met during that year I am still in contact via Facebook or WhatsApp.

On my own I went on a pilgrimage from Dundalk to Faughart, to walk Brigid’s Way, where I knew more about the saint and the goddess. I learnt that the seasons in Ireland are associated to celtic festivals, when I went to Bere Island to attend a workshop on Lughnasadh traditions and customs and some weaving techniques.

The winter didn’t stop me from enjoying what Cork offers: the International Film Festival, the exhibitions at the Glucksman or the Crawford Art Gallery, the theatre plays at The Everyman, the concerts at the Opera House, the activities at the Triskel Christchurch and the sessions in different pubs.

In January I met Cliona Maher from International Office, who invited all the Latin American UCC students to the exhibition “The Irish in Latin America”, inaugurated by President Michael D Higgins on the 26th of January 2017. I had the honour to be there and meet the President of Ireland. Cliona asked some of us to show the exhibition to our Ambassadors. I was assigned to the late Argentine Ambassador, Laura Bernal. Thanks to her, I went in March to Foxford, Co. Mayo, for an homage to Admiral William Brown, the founder of the Argentine Navy.

During the academic year I enjoyed my holidays in Sligo, Kerry, Connemara, Galway and Dublin. I was in Dublin, where I have relatives, for Christmas.

Finally, before returning home, I went to Drombeg to say goodbye and thank you to life, to Ireland, to Cork, to my Irish relatives and friends, who made me feel at home in Ireland and never left me alone, to my new friends and classmates, to the UCC teachers.

UCC teachers left a mark on me and each of them in a different and personal way: Aoife Ni Mhurchu, Brendan Ó Sé, Noreen O’Mahony, Séamas Kirkpatrick, Nadine Carroll, and Kerry Just, among others. But all of them had something in common: they passed on their knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for the language and culture to us.

A nice experience: In a rainy day, I was on my way from home to UCC and a lady I had never seen before stopped the car and gave me a lift to UCC because she said she knew me by sight from there.

In the first month I lived in a UCC accommodation, that was perfect, but unfortunately it was only for the summer. From there, I moved to a house where my housemates were people working at Apple.

 I am a member of Irlandeses de Córdoba Asociación Civil, an Irish Association in Córdoba. We organise cultural activities, one of them is a book club with monthly meetings to discuss books written in English by modern Irish authors. With the support of the Irish Embassy we brought 2018 the exhibition “The Irish in Latin America” to Córdoba and the Irish Ambassador Jacqueline O’Halloran Bernstein inaugurated it. On the 1st of February we held a workshop to learn how to weave a St. Bridig’s cross."

Dr Liu Ying (known as Joyce) from China

Liu's  (Joyce) story in her own words

"The first time I came to UCC was as a visiting scholar for a program of teaching method and English language of 3 months in the fall of 2016. I lived in a victory house in Cobh town by the sea since there was a shortage of dormitory at that moment. So, my first impression of Ireland is made of the tranquil village life of Cobh, the old train to Cork City, and then the ancient stone corridor and halls of Aula Maxima in UCC. This is a place people respect history and nature- the campus extends to a large part of Cork city full of constructions with history and surrounded by green hills and rivers. Time seems slows down, which makes an ideal atmosphere to learn and research, as I miss reading the Irish mythologies and legends  by the window of the Boole Library, or sitting among students listening to their discussions, in the café of student centre. The highlight of that stay is the communication with local peers. I attended their class and was invited to present my own research. This was a great opportunity for me to reflect the cultural differences and identity of myself, as well to see the difference of high education between Ireland and China.

The staff is this program are warm hearted and supportive. I love the weekend outdoor trips organized by them- Killarney, Blarney etc., and the Friday free concerts in the campus, as well as numerous lectures and activities on Irish culture and arts. I enjoyed living here and have collected many books, art catalogs, music and movies of Ireland. So, in 2018 when I heard the UCC summer family package, I came back to Cork with my husband and my 5 years son. We lived in the Castle White student campus this time, where is more convenient for shopping, library and all of the city facilities. Together with us is my friend and her daughter of five years. We adults were learning English at the language Centre, while kids were doing camp in Mardyke Arena. It had been a hard time for the 2 kids in their first camp week, to get used to the new environment. However, they soon got happy because of the Fitzgerald Park next to the Mardyke provides the kids with a wonderful circumstance to kill summer time and play with local children. Also there are festivals in every Saturday in Fitzgerald Park, Fota Wild Life Zoo, as well as various beaches near Cork, which are children's Sunday resorts. It seems “I have been obsessed by the Irish summer”, said by my friends. In 2019, 10 friends with their family came to Ireland with me, taking part of the family package. We rent a van traveling around in the weekends, exploring the sites of interest and bringing the children to more local activities such as golf and tennis. We had a great fun in this "learning holiday" trip".

Yusuke Henry Bent (Japanese)

Yusuke's story in his own words

"I wanted to study in a country where I had never been, so I decided to go to UCC after seeing it on my university’s (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies) website. I learned a lot in the classes, made many friends, and met friendly people in the local pubs and soccer stadiums. I’m still a Rebel Army, c’mon Cork City! I especially admired how the Irish respect their own wonderful culture. I really loved my experience there, and it made me go back again as an exchange student. I would like to thank my host family for all they did for me both times! I’m in my last year of university preparing for my grad school entrance exam, But I really hope to visit Cork again in the future.
Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the Language Centre!"

Lindita Jaupaj (Albanian)

Lindita's story in her own words

"My name is Lindita Jaupaj and I am from Albania. I live in Ashbourne House Glounthaune.  arrived in Ireland in November 2016 and leaving behind everything and everyone. When I came here, I could not speak any word of English and it was a huge barrier for me. A new place, new culture, a new life was the fear of how my life would be like. I had to start everything from the beginning, and needed too many things to learn about the country, laws, systems, possibilities etc. The accommodation where I have lived for four years does not offer much in terms of daily activities.

The first thing I had to do was to find an English class, because it was impossible to   communicate to people. I remember when people spoke to me, from their voice and their body language, I understood that they were friendly and kind, but I did not understand what they were saying to me. My daughter 15 year old used to speak English and she heard that in Cork City there are English Classes, but it was hard to get there as the only way was to go on by train, which was very expensive for me. With someone’s financial support, I went to Welcome English for 9 months, four days a week. I was so happy when I started speaking English.

In 2018, UCC open its doors by offering scholarships to asylum seekers. Without thinking twice, I applied and was lucky to get the scholarship in Management Practice. Inside me, I felt insecure if I had the level of English that University requires, because I knew that it was not enough. I asked for help to attend English classes in the Language Centre. The first person I have met there was Julie Butters, the best, polite and impressive person I ever met. Her positive approach to help me, made me feel very welcome. She suggested me to do an English test, to clarify my English level.  She offered to me the best schedules coordination which were very suitable to me. Initially evenings classes three times a week and she offered me some books which I still use them. My first teacher there was Geraldine, a very kind lady. After seven weeks doing evening English classes I started attending morning classes which were very helpful to me. The teacher who made the classes interesting and teaching with a passion was Seamus. Learning English there was a fantastic opportunity and I am very grateful to all the staff.

In addition to learning English, other benefits, such as socialisation, connections, skills centre and the library, have played a very important role in successfully completing my course and having a better quality of English. After four years in Ireland I see myself as more complete, I have made wonderful friends, who in one way or another they have been with me every step of what I have achieved. I never thought I would be so closely associated with Cork and the people here. I just love it. Cork is cosy, diverse, attractive, offers so many activities and opportunities. You are always Surrounded by generous people that makes everyone feel l home. As for everyone in this pandemic period, it was not been easy especially for people like me who live in an Asylum Centre, because it is almost impossible to keep the social distance. However, I have been very busy researching for my project, supported with a laptop from UCC, sewing mask for asylum seekers, Glounthaune volunteers, and vulnerable people, Project of Migrant Centre and Better Together Cork. My goal is to contribute to Irish Society in any way I can and to build a life with my family here in Cork.

I will always express my gratitude with actions, and I would like to give a hand to anyone who has fallen, and  needs to stand up, and to show that with the  people’s support and desire, everything can be achieved. I love UCC, I love Cork. Thank you for having me here".

Suguru Obuchi (Japan)

Suguru's story in his own words

"Reason why I came to UCC is because my uni's faculty have a friendship with UCC language center for study abroad to study English, and that was only one choice in European countries. That was amazing because it is not famous for study abroad in Ireland, such a beautiful country in Japan so I decided to go there.

My purpose to go there was of course for skill up my English skills, make friends who came from worldwide, and also I love football (soccer) so I really wanted to go to stadiums and watch football around the Europe.

My first impression of Ireland was everybody was 'friendly'. They treat me without any stereotype, and no one make me sad by discrimination or something like that. In the pub, everyone talked me a lot about Ireland or Japan, even if sometimes I couldn't understand Irish accent. The wonderful thing was it no matter age, elder person, teenager, baby.

I went to Dublin for the FAI cup final that CCFC competed in with some Japanese friends. Result was sad. However, we excited, and I was felt like I became a one of member of Cork City FC's fans.

One of best memory (IDK is it memory but) is I could make wonderful Irish friends Aaron and Eli in UCC. they are studying Japanese in there. We keep in touch even though it was almost 2 years ago we met. Aaron came to Japan for watching rugby world cup, then he stayed my place. I couldn't imagine that I made such a kind friend in Ireland before I went there.

Anyway, I miss life in Cork City. Hopefully, I wanna go back in the future".

Hebah Alwaibi (from Saudi Arabia)

Hebah's story in her own words

"One of my dream was obtaining MSc Information Management and Managerial Accounting Systems, Business College, UCC, now this dream is a fact.  Although, I was like any international student struggling with IELTS exam and like the most students who come from Arabic speaking country (writing part) was a nightmare. After I joined UCC language centre in 2018  for 6 months ,my writing was getting better and better until I finally achieved 6.5.It is true that time and effort are essential to get there but without getting help from experts you might spend more time or lose your motivation . At UCC language centre I encountered not only brilliant English teachers, some of them were beyond that, they motivate you , give you lessons for life and make sure not to get bored".

Anthony Baretti, France

AgroParisTech is a French public Institute with a rich history that spans over 180 years. Its forward-looking approach is aimed at addressing the main global challenges of the 21st century:

  • Feeding the population in a sustainable way
  • Protecting natural resources
  • Fostering innovation
  • Developing the bioeconomy

AgroParisTech flagship programme, Master of Science in Engineering « diplôme d’Ingénieur » is a 3 years Programme offered through an apprenticeship track. Apprentices have to master English and international experience is compulsory. UCC is a masterpiece in our progamme. Each year our students come in UCC for a few weeks.


"I found the English courses at the University of Cork very rewarding. The normal timetable is from 9am to 1pm for general courses and from 3pm to 5pm for courses more related to our professional fields. It was very well organised! We were with other students and workers from all over the world. The professor and the teacher are very friendly, I improved my level of English and I was very surprised because I understood better than I thought.

The week I was in Cork, it was "Science week" at UCC.  Carolyn O’Brien our Student Experience Officer organised a trip to attend a Forestry Conference organised by Teagasc which took place in Mallow, a small town near Cork. We met John Casey, a Forestry Development Officer and learned about the history of the Irish forest. In addition, John told us about a new project in Mallow. He wanted to create a new park under Mallow Castle and plant oak trees. So we went to the park and talked about forest management. It was very interesting.

Throughout the week, we were in a very nice host family. The family was very nice, curious and welcomed us perfectly. The city centre of Cork is also very nice.  So it was a very good experience and thank you again!"

 Sylvain Baby Deputy Director, apprentice programme AgroParisTech

Anthony Baretti, apprenti ingénieur AgroParisTech

Dr Marina Zolotova (Russian)

Marina's story in her own words

"In March 2019, my colleagues and I attended a teacher refresher course in University College Cork. Our program was a collaborative one with both the Language Centre and the Centre for Research Teaching and learning. The programme included practical workshops, lectures and extremely fruitful networking opportunities throughout the University. These courses were demonstrated by Brendan O Se, Aoife Ni Mhurchu and Kerry Platts in the Language Centre and Dr James Cronin in the Centre for Research Teaching and Learning."


“Our goal for coming to Ireland was to get acquainted with UCC and the methods of L2 teaching used there. We had a very interesting tailor-made course combining lectures and practical classes. We are completely satisfied with the program. We achieved our goals. We look forward to continue our collaboration with UCC in the future"

 Dr Marina Zolotova, The Head of the English Language for Humanities Department


“I particularly valued the opportunity to learn new on-line sources. I can now use this in my teaching practice” Elena Ganyushkina


 ”I enjoyed the classes on teaching phonetics. I conducted a workshop for NNSU teachers of English demonstrating these new ways. Yulia Karpova


“It was a very precious experience from not only the educational point of view but also from cultural perspective. We would like to invite the scientists from UCC to Lobachevsky University to participate in our scientific conferences and hope to attend other educational programs organized by UCC”

We want to thank our host families who made our stay in Cork very pleasant.  Great memories with Benita White.

with gratitude"

Marina Zolotova, Elen Ganyuskhina, Yulia Karpova

Suane Da Silva Barbosa (Brazil)

Suane's story in her own words

"My name is Suane Barbosa, I'm 37 years old and I'm from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I was still 36 years old when I decided that it was never too late to make my dreams come true, and my dream at that time, and since I was a teenager, to be honest,  was to go on a student exchange program.

After I've done extensive research, it was pretty clear that not only my destiny would be Ireland but also the UCC Language Centre would be the best place to embark upon this adventure, which included having to leave my family, husband and a son in Brazil for a while.

The beginning of my journey was during the Summer School Program, which made my immersion in learning English language and Irish culture much more efficient, fun and enjoyable. Among the most important reasons, the distinguished teaching staff as well as the great mix of nationalities motivated and encouraged me to keep working hard to learn everything that was given to us and also to take part of the additional activities out of the class, such as trips, walking tours and lectures.

As a result of my time at the Language Centre I could not only improve my skills in English language and make new friends, but it also helped me to get a job in my working field even before I had finished my program. Nowadays, I'm still living in Ireland, working for a Irish company and I feel more confident regarding my English.

My next step? I dare to dream bigger; I wish that someday I can take a Postgraduate or MBA at UCC and keep learning and developing new skills".

Berrin Ozge Yazgan (Turkish)

Berrin's story in her own words

"My name is Berrin Ozge Yazgan. I’m from Turkey. I’m 36 years old. I’m a lawyer. I moved to Ireland with my husband for his work. I live in Cobh/Cork with my husband now. I started English Language classes at the Language Centre in January 2020. My goals are to improve my English, and I would like to apply to a Law Master Programme in UCC. Also, I would like to work in Ireland for a part-time or full-time job. In Language Centre, when I observed my classes, teachers and staff, I feel very positive and confident. Especially, teachers and staff are very helpful and nice people. I liked the face to face and group education. In the meantime, I think I improved my English very well and quickly, also I met different people from different culture. On the other hand, I attended extra activity classes (the communicative class, the book club, etc.). They contributed to the improvement of my English as well. After Covid-19, the Language Centre switched to an online system. I continued too. In this time, I especially improved my listening and reading, as well as my skills on Teams software. The Language centre has been a great experience for me."

Jinyeob Kim (known as Jin) from South Korea

Jin's story in his own words

Dia Duit ,  Hello

"My name is Jinyeob Kim, (but, would please call me just “Jin” and It's easier for you to remember me) and I’m from South Korea.  I’m glad to write my life and experience in Ireland now. I was so excited about coming to Ireland for the first time to study an English course and to make a report about benchmarking tourism in Korea against tourism in Ireland. This is my research project. I had a dream to live in Ireland a long time ago.  Now I am finally realizing that dream. To be honest, I traveled to Ireland for a week six years ago. Then I was fascinated by the beautiful nature of Ireland and Irish people who are so friendly and kind. I was looking for a chance to come back, and now I have one and I can go there again. However, I had a big problem with going to Ireland. That is I was right in front of the promotion In my company. I had to choose between promotion and Irish training in Ireland. I couldn't sleep for many days because of the worry. In the end, I gave up my promotion. and then I chose training in Ireland. My colleagues around me were very worried about this decision. It has been my dream for a long time. I didn't regret the choice. After the decision, my mind became brighter. I arrived in Ireland with joy and excitement. But two months later, I heard the good news from the company that I was promoted. I never didn't expect it.  And he has received congratulations from lot of colleagues and family members on my promotion. I was a lucky man with both Irish education and promotion. After all, my choice was the best choice.

My impression of Cork, UCC

At first, I thought I wanted to live in Dublin, But soon I chose Cork City, Ireland's second largest city, rather than the complex, crowded Dublin.
Cork is smaller than size, but I think it's more Irish. I think I'm more adorable. The first impression of the UCC was very satisfactory. The building of UCC was so antique and the green grass on the campus was very beautiful. It is probably a fantastic campus where many students dream. I took a picture of a wonderful UCC and showed it to my colleagues, friends, and family in Korea. Everyone said it was beautiful like a picture and envied me going to UCC. The school gym is free of charge and has good fitness equipment, swimming pools, and playground


UCC library

The Boole Library, which is widely used by students, is a four-story building with a reading room and a variety of books on each floor, and multiple printers are installed on the first floor called a copy center, enabling them to be printed out if necessary. In addition to the main restaurant in the school, there are cafes and convenience stores in each building such as the student center, so you can have a simple meal. The student center of the two-story building has various amenities such as banks, bookstores, beauty salons, souvenir shops, pubs, etc., and the information desk on the first floor has resident staff to ask questions about the location of the school building, and through the large bulletin board installed on the wall, we can check the sales and purchase of used books, information on events such as various Society, and part-time job openings.


A teaching style

There are many opportunities to participate in the class with a small number of students, so it is a method that deals with various areas of speaking, listening, writing, and reading. Every Monday, students have time to test or present presentation tasks and present presentations on what they learned in the previous week, and students are given joint tasks in groups, so they have to discuss and make tasks together. I think the teaching method is effective because it is participatory.


UCC Korean Society, UCC Mountaineering Club

As a UCC student, I joined the UCC Korean Society and UCC mountaineering club and have been engaged in after-school activities. Not only Korean students participate in Korean Club but the majority of Irish students are here, and they are interested in Korean culture such as K-pop, dance, foods etc., so there are various programs such as making Korean food, wearing Korea traditional clothes (Hanbok), learning Korean, watching Korean movies, etc. as activities within the club, so I have many opportunities to meet new students naturally and use English. The mountaineering club has two programs, and the indoor rock climbing in the gym and often takes a chartered bus to go hiking nearby on Sunday. Students of various nationalities can take advantage of the English I learned in class while hiking together and experience the beautiful nature of Ireland. It is economical because you can participate if you pay only 10 euros for transportation.


Festival, Halloween Day a parade

I knew for the first time that the origin of Halloween was Ireland. Maybe that's why Halloween Day was so special in Ireland. Since September, street shops have been full of fun Halloween decorations. The scenery was not seen in our country.
 When I heard there was a parade along the downtown street, I also dressed up as Halloween and took to the streets to see the parade.

Despite the heavy rain, the Halloween parade was held enthusiastic. Young students, young people, middle-aged people, the elderly and even the disabled in wheelchairs, all participants in the event were really joyful and happy to promoter their Halloween festival and parade. whole city is a crucible of the festival. The crowds of tourists are busy taking pictures because they will not miss out on strange costumes and colorful parades of performers. The successful festival parade may have resulted from the pride that all the people of Cork have joined hands to prepare for the festival and participate in the event.


Festival, St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2020

When I was in Korea, I wanted to participate in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Ireland. I was so happy that such an opportunity was given this year. I applied for volunteer work at the Cork Community Art Link to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. . I was very happy to be part of the parade.  We painted and decorated floats for many days. I also practiced the rehearsal day . I had looked forward to participating in the parade. But five days before the event, all of the events were canceled due to fears of a coronavirus infection. It must have been an unforgettable memory for me in Ireland. I had been waiting for a long time, but I was so sorry.


At first, it was difficult settling into a different culture ............... 

The first time, I came to Ireland, the hardest thing to adapt to was English language. The local people's English pronunciation and accent that I learned in Korea were different, so it was difficult to understand.
Next, I was going to get a rental house. I have sent mail several times using a “” website that seeks rental house, but I have received a reply that all renral house has been contracted. In fact, I came to Ireland with my daughter and lived together. I had to get a house in a hurry. In the meantime, I received an invitation email asking me to come to see the rent house and I went there with excitement. But lot of people were already waiting  in line to see house. I can't find this in my country. I found that there were many immigrants in Ireland and there were no high-rise apartments, so there was a shortage of housing. Fortunately, the real estate company gave me a chance to live in a rental house. I felt really good. Fortune seemed to me to go on.


Different Irish food

I like potato dishes, potato is famous in my hometown. In Ireland, potatoes are used in almost every dish. Potatoes give you less calories and more satiety. Irish Stew is my favorite Irish food that is native to Ireland..


I found the English Market where I could buy...................

Among the famous tourist attractions in Cork is the English Market. I sometimes visit this place because I can see people living in old traditional markets vividly.
Especially in the English market, hot dogs have a unique taste that you can't taste anywhere else.


You studied live in UCC from to ... date,

I arrived Cork 17th August 2019. I went to UCC from 19 th  August in 2019 and I plan to continue until July in 2020. After class, I will go back to my country in August in 2020.

When the Covid 19 pandemic broke out.  Be stuffy because at home all day due to the risk of infection.  How did you feel about that ?

I never thought the coronavirus would spread so rapidly around the world.  I remember the announcement Irish government suddenly on March 12, was ordered to close all schools. In order to prevent the spread of infection.  All lectures are after the online video and from class.

First, People must stay at home from midnight tonight until Easter Sunday, April 12th in all circumstances except for the following situations Above all, the racism crimes to Asian people that have been reported these day in the West are the most worrisome. I also have to worry because I am living here as an Asian and foreigner. I felt heavy on my feet going to the mart to buy groceries for the time being at home. What if you go outside and get infected from COVID-19 ? Will there be any racism crimes to Asian people ? With a lot of worries about what to do when the store is out of stock, people found a mart close to home early in the morning. It was not long before I realized that it was my excessive concern.

It may have been because of the early hours, but few people were seen in the city and there were passing cars only occasionally.  In the mart, there was employees who took out the expired food. there were a lot of toilet paper, but eggs and some foods were not found in the corner. There were reportedly problems in the distribution process. there was no racist people being harmful to Asian people. In the midst of this, it is a lot of comfort to and encouragement from Irish friends and acquaintances, even those I have known here. I'm just thankful and grateful that everyone seems to be really worried about me.

I felt stuffy because I had to spend all day at home because of the risk of infection. But once a week, I went to the mart to buy something to eat, and sometimes I went to the park to get some fresh air.

I spent my time as usual. I watch the latest news on the Internet. Repetitive routine is a little boring. But these days, I am studying English by rewatching the old American drama “Friends.” I've seen it a long time ago. And I cleaned my house, did laundry, and went to the supermarket to buy food on weekends.


Were you worried?

I'm most worried about infection. It's a pity that you have to stay at home for fear of infection. And I wanted to see more of the world while I was in Ireland.
I wanted to visit not only Ireland but also other European countries in Europe.

I wanted to see the famous tourist attractions and historic places that I saw in the book with my own eyes. But now the coronavirus has made it impossible for us to travel anymore.

Do you have family in Ireland?

No, my family lived in my country. now I live alone. I lived with my daughter until February this year. My daughter learned English while she was here for 8 months.
I made good unforgettable memories living in Ireland with my daughter.


How was the transition from live classes to online classes? 

Live lessons may be much more effective, but there is no choice for now. For now, I think this is the best way to do. Sometimes when the network connection is bad, the class is interrupted, but that's not a big problem. I am very satisfied that I can study English with my teachers and Classmates in this way.


Did you work on a phone or laptop?  How was that?  How are your online English Language classes?

I usually use a Laptop equipped with a camera. I think the online system is well established. The teachers are working hard to prepare and teach the lecture as well as the live lecture.


What else happens apart from English Language Classes? Communicative class ? 

Yes, Rob’s Communicative class is good to learn about the wide culture of Ireland. I was very interested in Irish history, music, dance, and food etc, and I would like to thank Rob for preparing a lot for this class. It was a good opportunity to understand what I didn't know about Ireland before coming to Ireland through this class.


Book Club?

I don't know much about it because I didn't participate.


Drop in chat with Student Experience Officer Carolyn.

Besides this online consultation, I had consulted once in the past. I talked about my worries about Irish life and classes, and she listened to my worries well and helped me a lot in Irish life. I recommend more students to visit Carolyn for help instead of worrying about it alone.



After this training in Ireland, when I’ll go back to my company, I’m looking for a position new department as an administrative public official.  I’m happy to work at my company. I am studying English instead of working now. I heard that the Winter Youth Olympic Games will be held in my hometown (Pyeongchang) in 2024. We successfully hosted the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. There will be a new department in my company for these games in the future. I would like to work to new position for a this department. I hope I can continue to use the English I studied in Ireland.


The ending

Finally, I would like to thank O'Brien Carolyn for giving me the opportunity to write about my Irish life and school life.
And thank you to the UCC language center teachers who gave me a lot of interest and teaching. They were all kind and competent teachers. I will miss them when I go back home.
Life in Ireland, which I had dreamed for a long time, came true. but I still feel like I'm dreaming.  I will never forget my life here. It's time to slowly go back to my hometown. I haven't met my family, friends, and colleagues for a long time. I miss them a lot. I also think of a lot of Korean food.

The Covid 19 pandemic is suffering here in Ireland, my country, and everyone else around the world. I hope things will get better soon and return to my previous routine. I hope everyone meets in good health.  Thank you again for all the people who have been interested in me.

I really look forward to seeing you again."


Francisco Fosser (Argentina)

Winner of Language Centre photography competition.  Francisco is an active member of the Irish Association in Buenos Aires and Almirate Browne Association. Francisco writes short stories on Irish Culture on their behalf to practise his English.

Francisco's story in his own words

"I am very interested in the Irish Culture and am a member of the Almirate Browne Association in Buenos Ares. We celebrate St Patrick’s Day each year with lovely Irish music, people travel from different cities in Argentina for this occasion.

I wanted to travel abroad to study English, I was doing some research, and remember that in 2013 in my hometown in Argentina I met a girl from Macroom in Cork, doing an internship in Teaching English  who recommended UCC and Cork city lifestyle.

I studied in the Language Centre in 2019 and returned in 2020 after winning a photography competition.

I have found it very interesting to learn English at UCC Language Centre, the methodology and content are destined to catch interest from each student. Apart from Language there is a multicultural and global vision that makes for an interesting place.  In my case, you gave me the opportunity to reach the next level to develop in life and I am grateful to UCC in general.

I was successful in achieving a new job in Ernest and Young in Argentina working with clients from Argentina, the US and India. My learning in the Language Centre helped to secure my dream job".

Language Centre

Lárionad Teanga

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