University of Limerick’s International Society

The University of Limerick’s International Society Welcomes New Members

The University of Limerick International Society is one of the most active and welcoming societies at the University of Limerick.  Comprised of energetic students from across the globe, this society aims to integrate visiting students, through a multitude of trips and social events around the Emerald Isle.  This spring, we will tour the Ring of Kerry, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, explore Galway and the Aran Islands, and hike the remarkable Wicklow Mountains!

I had the pleasure of meeting our President when she came to “collect” me from the airport and “deliver” me to the UL Campus.

Today’s Interviewee

Hannah Knittle, President, University of Limerick International Society

“I came to UL and was like this is it, this is where I’m going!” – Hannah Knittle

Hannah Knittle, President, UL International Society, has dual Irish and American citizenship.  Hannah was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and is here on a Joint Honours Program, set to graduate with dual bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Politics in August, 2020.  Hannah aspires to earn a Masters in Psychology in Ireland, and then pursue a PhD in Scotland.  In addition to being a dedicated student, she is also a UL International Student Guide and volunteers to help children with autism.

Hannah’s welcoming spirit, hard-working nature, and generous heart reminded me of the essence of UMass Law, where our motto is to Pursue Justice, and we are diligently dedicated to helping others.

I am impressed with humble leaders like Hannah, and I hope you enjoy this interview!

Getting Involved with the International Society

“I got involved first as a member, and really enjoyed going on trips.  Then, I met the President, and began my Committee work as Treasurer.”

Hannah’s diligence earned the society a massive budget increase, benefitting all members.  I’ve personally witnessed her selfless nature when she recommended other students for awards.

International Society Members Exploring the Emerald Isle

Committee & Student Resources

“Upon arrival, the international society immediately made us feel welcome. We were greeted right away and they were very comforting and supportive through the moving in process.” – Natalie Treco, USA (BS in Biology, UW-Green Bay, 2022).

“We always aim to help.  Most of our Committee members are international students, so there is always someone who knows exactly how you feel if you’re missing home.  It may seem like a small thing, but it helps to know you’re not alone.”

UL resources are abundant.  Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing provides counseling and weekly classes.

The UL Chaplaincy Service is available for reflection, comfort, support, and hospitality.   The International Office, UL Student Life Welfare Officers, Academic Officers and Committee members are also available.

If you’re ever struggling or have a question, feel free to message the UL Int Soc Facebeook.  Hannah genuinely reflected, “I will always try to answer questions.”

“I love how every semester people from all over the world that have come to UL join the society, and I get to help in showing them Ireland, but they also end up showing the world to me. I love hearing other people’s perspectives and feel like I’ve gotten a broader world view by being part of this society.”  Jordan Cassells, Ireland (Bachelor of Laws, UL School of Law, 2021).


What is your favorite thing about Ireland?

“The lifestyle.  Ireland is more laid back and it makes me feel at home.  It’s easy to relax.  I love traveling around. There’s 50 shades of green.”

Do you have a favorite Irish saying?

“There are a lot.  My favorite one is ‘what’s the CRAIC?’ – it can be used as ‘what’s happening?’ or ‘how’s it going?’

‘We had good craic’ means you had a lot of fun doing something.”

Upon initial arrival, she was told,  “There’ll be tea and biscuits and good craic.”  Looks like Ireland delivered!

Hannah, Traveling with the International Society

What do you wish you knew before you came to UL? 

“Time management – how to prioritize studying and socializing. In high school, I’d go from classes to theatre and then home and had a lot more structure.”

Where is your favorite place in Ireland?

“I love so many places!  My favorite is Ballyseede Castle in Tralee. Co. Kerry . I visited it in my first year in college and knew I wanted to get married there.

Real dogs live in the castle – it’s a real castle!  The rooms are beautifully grand and there are beautiful trees along the driveway.  It’s gorgeous, green, and silent.  It’s amazing, I love it so much!”

Have you met anyone special here?

“I’ve met many special people.  Everyone in my degree program has to do an Erasmus and I met my fiancé in Scotland.”  Fun Fact: 27% of Erasmus students meet their long-term partner while on Erasmus.

Congratulations on your engagement and on recently completing your Final Year Project (FYP).  What an accomplishment!

At a Committee Meeting, Hannah reflected, “I need to work with kids, kids are my favorite thing on the planet.”

Will I get an invitation to your wedding?

“Probably,” said with an Irish wink!

Our UL Bride-to-Be already has the Ballyseede Castle booked, and only time will tell if I get to see the amazing couple tie the knot next April!

Thank you for taking the time to share some valuable UL resources and Irish insights with us, Hannah!

To learn more about the University of Limerick International Society, check out our YouTube Video, follow us on Instagram, and connect with us on Facebook.

Cheers to our amazing International Society students from around the world!

What’s Next?  For our continued exploration of Ireland, I will share with you some tips for adjusting to life on the Emerald Isle as an Exchange Student.  Open-mindedness is crucial, but if you are sarcastic and can appreciate humor, you will likely find yourself quite at home here.

Dia Dhuit, Ireland!

Linguistic Sounds

“Dia dhuit!” – an Irish Gaelic hello.  What does it sound like?  Well, I’m still attempting the accent, but you can hear it here.  Accents vary county to county, so if you find yourself in Ireland, wanting to say hello in Irish, rest assured your best attempt will likely be met with grin and a wink.  Much thanks to Finn Lannon (Masters in Marketing and Psychology, 2022) for igniting my interest in learning this incredible language!  Go raibh maith agat.

An Unexpected Homecoming

Céad míle fáilte – A hundred thousand welcomes!  The People of Ireland are extraordinarily friendly.  There’s a cultural belief that to make a friend, one must be a friend.

Every interaction is an opportunity to make a new friend and set up a time to have a chat!  Blessed with the “gift of gab,” the Irish love to chat, especially over coffee or tea and biscuits.

Our plane arrived early and we were greeted by the loveliest of rental car agents.  It felt almost intimate, like we were home, coordinating taking a family member’s car out for a spin!

My brother was thrilled to drive a manual on the “opposite” side of the road, and we ventured off with the spirit of children on Christmas morning.

The Magic in the Air

Burren National Park

We watched the sun come up as we explored our new surroundings. More arrival pictures available here.

Ireland is known for lush greenery, but I’ve been most fascinated by the mystique of the grays.  The way the sunlight tilts in just between storms,  the clouds offer a conversation, and the sky flirts from above… All so mysterious and intriguing.

I’m an ocean lover, so forgive me please if there are more posts of water with grays and blues, than of fields of green.  It would be remiss of me if I did not make a valiant effort to show you the greenery, but I’m confident we’ll get to that as spring approaches and we take to the golf courses.

Breathtaking Innis Beach

From the Skies

This may surprise you, but it rains quite a bit here!

Blarney Castle

Much like the Irish, who do what they want, when they want, the sky opens when it wants and how it wants.

For the first week, my brother and I noticed the ground was always glistening, although it rarely rained.  It was a bit puzzling, but we focused our attention on appreciating the gorgeous weather and taking in the breathtaking views!

We explored Shannon, Galway, Cork, Blarney, Buttevant, Bunratty, Limerick, the Cliffs of Moher, the Burren National Park, and even enjoyed a weekend in Dublin sans rain.

What a welcoming vacation for us!

Cliffs of Moher

One of my favorite moments was an unexpected stop at the ruins of an Augustinian Abbey, Ballybeg Abbey, founded in 1237, dedicated to St. Thomas.  Located on the bank of the Awbeg, close to Buttevant, there was light in the air and the feeling of history in our hands.

After my brother returned to the states, the weather got real.  I’ve watched it rain, snow, and sunshine with a purpose from the dorms in Thomond Village.  The skies even brought hail to my laptop through an open window in our International Criminal Law module!

As my Irish friend, Saiorse Forde Juneja (Bachelor of Arts, 2023), says, sometimes it “lashes out at you” and you’re forced to face the truth: there may be little to no value in your umbrella.  Cheers!

What’s Next?  Tune in for a special segment on the University of Limerick’s International Society, and an interview with our current President.

Island Preparations

Formal Travel Necessities

RFID Blocking Passport Holders are Essential

International travel requires a balance of pre-departure planning with excitement of setting off on a new adventure!

The UMass Dartmouth International Program Office (IPO) offers comprehensive pre-departure briefings.  They emphasize the importance of health management; safety preparedness; registering foreign travel; and, understanding one’s expectations, balanced with those of both home and host schools and countries.

The IPO coordinates with expert counselors, nurses, and school administration to ensure students are prepared for the culture shock that typically ensues – inside and outside the classroom.  How to Deal with Culture Shock while Studying Abroad offers valuable insights.

For those interested in exploring #UMassDAbroad opportunities, check out While Abroad to discover the support you might receive while traveling!

A Surprise!

I was delighted to discover a month-long break in between law school finals in the States and Orientation Week in Ireland.  (Hello, Sleep!)

At UMass Law, our amazing Law Enrollment Center team and myriad advisors keep us on schedule – we select and enroll in courses months in advance.  Fun fact – when you’re an exchange student in Ireland, it may take weeks before your courses are finalized and you have access to syllabi.

My Ireland Advisor reflected I was the first student to ask for homework during orientation.  To my colleagues in the States, Ireland definitely has some best practices we might consider adopting!  And, to my esteemed Professors, I hope you’re pleased I’m prioritizing academics.

Embracing the Upcoming Departure

My family is close and we were grateful to enjoy the holidays together. After the New Year, I snuck off to work in Washington, D.C. before returning to the northeast for final preparations.

Everyone asks about packing, and the truth is that it can be a fun, family affair!  My brothers helped load my storage unit with everything I wasn’t taking – demonstrating their most advanced Tetris skills and brotherly patience.  Such gems!  They also helped me settle on hiking boots over snow boots.

I wanted to bring more stilettos than the scales allowed, and, since one brother was traveling with me, I snuck an extra pair of heels into his bag when he wasn’t looking.  It’s all about the strategy!  (Travelers – I highly suggest investing in a luggage scale. Thank you, Mum!)

My Irish accommodations did not allow me to bring my ragdoll, Ninja.  He would love the view of the River Shannon I currently have, but I am confident he is enjoying his time, helping my friend study law well into the night.  Support from friends and family is crucial, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude that he is safe, happy, and well cared for.

Ninja would adore Ireland

Golf clubs were prioritized, but what did I miss? Sheets, dear readers, sheets!  After almost two weeks of searching, Nuala at Strawberry Beds on the Dingle Peninsula set me straight!  So thankful for the new, crisp, white Irish linens.

Strawberry Beds, Dingle

Wheels Up

Airport navigation was easy.  We flew Aer Lingus.  The flight crew was friendly and we found the Irish clovers on the aircraft wings and earbuds delightful!  Upon arrival, the immigration officer at Shannon Airport was welcoming and offered suggestions on Ireland golf courses.  In transit, my golf clubs were misplaced.  Luckily, we were reunited in Cork City, the following day.

The best part about the departure was the arrival – the moment my brother said, “We’re in Ireland!”   – Cheers!

Touring the Cliffs of Moher with my Brother

What’s Next?  Look for an entry on some of the fun we had during my brother’s visit and how welcoming the University of Limerick and the people of Ireland are!  I also have a special segment planned for you, highlighting our robust International Society.

Greetings from the Emerald Isle!

Welcome to International Law from the Emerald Isle – a blog about academics and exploration as an exchange student in Ireland.

I am Shea Hazel, a Public Interest Law Fellow (PILF), and Juris Doctor Candidate, 2021, at UMass Law.  I am presently studying International Law and Human Rights at the University of Limerick School of Law – an incredible opportunity to broaden thinking and awareness of global perspectives on complicated legal issues.

As a blogger and correspondent for Spring 2020, it is my goal to share some insights with you into what life is like as an exchange student in Ireland.  I love learning about new people and will be interviewing some of the amazing locals on this beautiful island.  Your engagement on this blog, on twitter, and on Instagram is welcome and encouraged, to include any questions you’d like me to find answers to for you.

It’s my wish that you find this fun, informative, and possibly feel a bit more motivated to pursue one of you own dreams!  Especially if it is joining us to #pursuejustice at UMass Law!  Cheers, and.. here we go!

Hello from Ireland!