Part of the community: The exchange students who have come to Árdscoil Phádraig in Granard.
All the exchange students have almost the same reasons why they make an exchange year: to have new experiences, to learn the language, to get more self-confidence and independence and to meet new people.
When an exchange student tells everybody before leaving their home that they are going to spend four to ten months abroad, the most frequent question is: “Who are you going with?” and they are shocked when they answer that they are going alone.
Being alone is one of the worries of all the exchange students, including the ten exchange students from Italy, Spain and Germany who are attending Ardscoil Phadraig in Granard.
They hope to have a nice host family, to understand the language, to find friends and to not get too homesick.
But as they arrived in Granard, they realised that their worries were superfluous; everyone was friendly and greeted them when they walked through the town.
They were impressed when at school they didn’t feel like “foreigners” because the Irish students immediately accepted them into their group.
It’s funny to see an Irish student trying to teach an exchange student Irish slang like “What’s the craic?” or “Well”.
As the exchange students played Gaelic Football the first time, it was so hard. To be honest, they were very bad, but nevertheless the team said: “Nice solo!” or “Good kick!”.
They felt part of the community when they received their library and SuperValu cards and when the people in Lus Na Gréine opened their arms and made them feel welcome.
The best part of this experience is to find out that they’ll never be alone and that it’s possible to feel like home in another part of the world.