UCC Love Stories: Summer 2023

In the first instalment of our new series, Alison O’Mahony tells the love stories of couples Zaheera and Peter, and Eva and Hauke, who entered UCC to pursue their studies – and ended up finding love.

22 Jun 2023

The Doctors Say ‘I Do’

Starting university is an exciting step into the unknown, and a world of endless possibility. This certainly proved to be the case for Zaheera and Peter, who met and hit it off in October 2008, at the beginning of their undergraduate degree. Having both enrolled to study medicine – an impressive feat in itself – their endeavours to achieve their dream job led to them meeting their dream partner.

The couple’s first date took place in a local Thai restaurant, as they attempted to fit in dinners and coffees around a busy lecture schedule. From there, the couple’s romance was a whirlwind; after four months of dating, Peter proposed to Zaheera in a picture-perfect moment on Valentine’s Day 2009, in Barcelona. A proposal story perfect for the Hallmark movie treatment!

Peter and Zaheera went on to exchange vows in August 2010, in the beautiful surroundings of UCC’s Honan Chapel. To this day, the historic chapel is a space that continues to draw the couple back to their cherished time on campus. Following their nuptials, the newlyweds travelled almost 20 hours to Kerala, India to celebrate at a reception with Zaheera’s extended family.

So, where are they now? After graduating together in 2012, Zaheera and Peter spent a period travelling around Thailand – where they reminisced on their first date by taking a Thai cooking class! The couple went on to undertake paediatric and GP training, eventually returning to Cork, where they now live with their two children.

Peter and Zaheera’s love story proves that there is purpose in dreaming … who knows, you may find the partner of your dreams in your next lecture!


From Cologne to Cork

UCC is not only the scene of countless love matches between local students – it has also been at the heart of love stories from around the globe. One such story begins in 2015, when German native Erasmus students Eva and Hauke came to UCC for what they believed would simply be a year studying abroad. Little did the couple know it would be the beginning of the rest of their lives together.

The story of Eva and Hauke is the perfect example of a rom-com ‘study abroad’ romance: you travel to a new country with the anticipation and excitement of meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures and, perhaps, new romantic interests. One romanticisation you wouldn’t associate with this scenario, however, is ending up in a relationship with someone from your home university – as was the case for Eva and Hauke! And if this wasn’t coincidental enough, the pair even shared a module back home in Cologne but had never crossed paths until their Erasmus. UCC must have had a deal going with Cupid!

At the beginning of their year abroad – during which they studied modules including English Literature and Irish History – Eva and Hauke became close friends, meeting regularly for chats in UCC’s Student Centre café. It was not until the pair completed their exams in semester one that they had their first date, with every meeting before this being deemed nothing more than a casual ‘hang-out’ between friends. After sharing a few laughs and a few drinks in Cork’s Oliver Plunkett bar, Eva recalls her first kiss with Hauke – in the ‘drizzling rain’, on the corner of Oliver Plunkett Street and Parnell Place.

The milestones, however, don’t end in UCC. After completing their Erasmus studies, the couple returned home to Cologne. Although it was difficult to go back to their everyday lives after a thrilling eight months abroad, Eva and Hauke’s relationship remained strong, with the pair moving in together in 2018. According to Eva, Hauke is not only her love but also her ‘food buddy, sports partner, and best friend’. The thrill-seeking couple continued the jet-setting nature of their relationship, travelling to Vancouver for six months shortly after moving in together. The following year, both Eva and Hauke graduated from their respective degrees in their home university, in Cologne.

Currently, after seven happy years together, Eva and Hauke are set to return to the scene of their love story! The couple is planning a trip back to Cork this year, arranging a characteristically action-packed bike trip along Ireland’s west coast.


Would you like to see your UCC love story featured in our next issue? We would love to hear from you! Email jane.haynes@ucc.ie for more information.

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