My first week in Galway

Student Blog

'My first week in Galway', a Japanese student experience

Posted 09 April

Hello everybody!

My name is Ayaka Hikimoto, I am from Japan and I am studying English in Galway, more precisely at GCI  (Galway Cultural Institute) for one month.

At the time I am writing this blog, I have been living and studying in Galway for one week. In this article, I'd like to share my first impressions about Galway, GCI and my life here.

Galway City

Galway City

Galway and GCI

Galway is a beautiful city situated on the west coast of Ireland. When I arrived in Dublin, I took a bus from the airport and the travel journey was about 3 hours to come to Galway. 

The school, Galway Cultural Institute, is situated near the city centre of Galway. It is very easy to get to city centre from GCI, it takes about 25 minutes by walking. The weather in Galway is very busy: rainy, sunny, snowing, cloudy and sunny again... all in one hour! It's really surprising, but it is also something new for me. I think it's one of Irish styles which guide books don't tell us, but you get to enjoy every minute of it!

Galway actually reminds me a lot of the place I grew up back in Japan. I moved from my hometown in order to study at a university in a big and busy city in Japan, so when I arrived to Galway I felt like home again. The ocean, the scenery and the way it looks, it all reminded me of my hometown and I felt secure and safe.

Spanish Arch Galway

Spanish Arch Galway

Studying at Galway Cultural Institute

To be honest, I was very nervous on the first day of school, because it was the first time for me to go to an English language school alone. However, teachers and staff in GCI are very nice and friendly. They were very helpful and offered support with anything which I was worried about. 

I have two classes every morning on week days. The classes are very interesting and it is all new to me as there is a lot of new things to learn and to speak with students from various countries in the class. In my opinion this is a very good thing because I am used to the school system in Japan where there are less opportunities to discuss about various topics with other people in English. So I'm sure that these experiences will improve not only my English skills but also my thoughts and my opinions concerning various topics.

You can also enjoy the view of beautiful sky and bright ocean from some classrooms of GCI. How special it is for ocean-lovers!


View from the classroom

View from the classroom

After classes, GCI organises school activities everyday. There are lots of kind of activities that students can choose from: walking tour, reading/conversation classes, movie night, comedy class, whiskey/craft beer tasting tour, Irish slang/dancing class, etc. I love those activities because I can get the time to relax and I can also make new friends from all over the world who are studying in GCI but in different classes than mine. 

My host family

Since I arrived in Galway, I have been living with a lovely host family. They treat me so kind just like a real family, so I haven't felt home sick at all. And they make me various Irish meals, I really love them! I should learn how to cook Irish food because I would like to cook some of them for my family in Japan ;)

My Host Family and other GCI students

My Host Family and other GCI students

Amazing food from the host family

Amazing food from the host family

So, that's my first impression on Galway and GCI after my first week here. I just started to explore the city centre, cafes and of course pubs! I'll introduce my favorite places or things here next time. During the weekend, I plan to go on a trip outside of Galway, maybe to Aran Islands or Cliffs of Moher, some of the most interesting landmarks in Ireland. I cannot wait! 

Lastly, I'll finish writing this article with some comments for Japanese.

こんにちは!引本彩華です。 どれくらいの日本人がこの記事を見つけてくれるでしょうか。 読んでくださり本当にありがとうございます。 ゴールウェイとGCIは、英語の勉強をするために素晴らしい環境です。 個人的な感覚ですが、この街は横浜に似ていると感じます。 学校のすぐ目の前に海があり、幅広い国籍と年代の人が集まっています。 放課後や週末には、パブストリートやショッピングモール、歴史的な建造物を楽しむことができます。 自然と都会が混ざった、散歩が楽しく住みやすい街です。 アジア人が少ない語学学校で英語の勉強に集中したい人、 マイナーな国のマイナーな街で人と被らない経験を得たい人、

様々な年代・国籍の人と話したい人、 エド・シーランの「ゴールウェイ・ガール」を聴いて興味を持った人、 湘南や横浜・横須賀・鎌倉が好きな人なら、必ず気に入ると思います。 わたしはここに来て一週間ですが、既にこの街と学校がとても好きです。 もし質問などあれば、フェイスブックやインスタグラムで声をかけてくださいね! そしてまた記事を書くので、ぜひ読んでくださると嬉しいです。:)

Quay Street Galway

Quay Street Galway