Catalina’s experience as part of the High School Programme in Ireland.

We recently caught up with high school student Catalina García Facorro. Catalina is enrolled in 3rd year at St. Tiernan’s Community School, which is located between Dundrum and Sandyford. St. Tiernan’s Community School is a wonderful mixed gender school. Here is what Catalina has to say about her time in Ireland

Catalina García Facorro
St. Tiernan’s Community School

1. What tips would you give to international students considering studying in Ireland?

Be open to everything, don’t say no to plans. Enjoy your time in Ireland because time goes by very fast. Don’t be nervous, you will end up sorting out everything. Enjoy.

2. Can you share a memorable interaction with Irish students that made you feel more connected to the community and your school?

A memorable interaction with Irish students was in one of the first days of school, it was the tryouts of the basketball team, and all the Irish girls were very nice to me and helped me to understand everything. I have been friends with them since then.

3. What subject or class do you enjoy the most and find most interesting?

My favorite subject is PE (physical education), because I have learnt how to play new sports and make new friends.

4. What clubs and extracurricular activities does your school offer for students to participate in?

Debate club, basketball, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, football, GAA, homework club, Gym, Lego club…

5. How have engaging in these activities enhanced your overall experience?

If you engage in these activities you will meet new people that will became your friends. Sometimes you get the opportunity to participate in tournaments or competitions and you can spend great time and at the same time learn from Irish people.

6. What aspect of ISI Dublin’s High School programme do you value the most?

The trips during the midterm breaks, you can visit places that sometimes are harder to visit and at the same time you go with people that maybe you didn’t know but you can become great friends.

7. Did you feel well-supported by the coordinator at ISI Dublin throughout your time there?

I felt well-supported by the agency.

8. Can you tell us about your experience with your host family during your stay?

In my first three host families I didn’t have a great experience, but in my actual host family I am having great experiences and I feel much more welcomed.

9. What advice would you offer to someone considering studying in Ireland?

Don’t be nervous, you will end up sorting out everything.

10. How have you immersed yourself in Irish culture beyond your studies?

Try to talk and ask questions about the Irish culture to ad many Irish people as possible. If you can, be involved in your host family, therefore you will immersed yourself in the culture.

11. Have you had the chance to improve your English proficiency while studying in Ireland?

Yes, even if it isn’t your main priority you will definitely improve your English. I am now preparing my C1 Advanced with the help of the English classes of ISI.

12. What are some of your preferred places to visit or activities to engage in during your leisure time in Ireland?

I liked to go to Dundrum Shopping Centre with my friends after school, during the weekend I tried to do something different or visit a new place. I also like to go to Grafton Street and listen to the buskers or go around the city centre with my friends.

13. How does your school assist international students academically, particularly those adjusting to a different educational system?

In my school, they won’t adjust or make any changes to help you but they will always answer your questions and try to help you as much they can. But you are the one that have to adapt to the new educational system and ask for help. However, if you want or need to talk with someone more personally you can talk with the person in charge of the international students in your school.

14. How have you coped with the weather in Ireland, especially if it’s different from your home country?

You just try to get used to it and if you need to, buy new warm clothes for the winter and an umbrella.

15. What strategies have you employed to form friendships and acquaintances both within and outside of your school?

In school don’t be afraid to ask or talk to the other students and outside school try to go as many plans as you can and therefore you will meet more people.

16. Have you sampled any traditional Irish dishes or explored the local food scene? What are your favourites?

I have tried different local dishes and my host family has cooked some local food for me but my favorite one is the typical fish and chips.

17. How does your school prioritize the well-being of its students, including access to healthcare services?

In my school, we receive different talks about well-being, we have a well-being week. If you need to talk about your well-being there is a teacher in charge of that role, you can go ask for help or if you just need to talk with someone.

18. Do you envision staying in Ireland after completing your studies, or do you plan to return to your home country? What factors influence your decision?

I’m going back to my home country, because I need to finish school but I will probably try to do an Erasmus or study in Ireland again.

19. What would you say to someone who’s considering studying in Ireland?

Don’t be afraid just go for it. You will have great, new and unique experiences.

We hope Catalina’s feedback has been helpful to you!

Please find the gallery below shared by Catalina.