Máirín Rua, Veterinary Medicine

Interview with Máirín Rua Ní Aodha from Ireland, studying Veterinary Medicine

What do you like about studying at the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences?

I absolutely love the international atmosphere in the English division. My classmates are from all over the world and it has been a pleasure to get to know them. I also really appreciate the opportunities that are there when I seek them, I have been able to practice handling and riding horses, vaccinate sheep, milk cows and handle snakes because of the staff and groups in the university. Most of my professors are approachable and helpful and really inspire interest in their subject. The facilities in the university are also very good, I am proud to go back to Ireland and tell everyone of my experiences here. I also really appreciate the hard work of our Vice Deane in listening to our concerns and improving the English Division.

Why did you choose the course you are studying now?

I have always been interested in Animal Welfare and veterinary medicine gives me the technical expertise to be a grounded and authoritative advocate for animals. I really enjoy the challenges of this course and the combined practical & theoretical nature of it. I wanted to understand the inner workings and psychology of animals so I could provide better conditions for them. I also wanted to stretch my mind, I have always enjoyed science but my real talents lie in the arts and communications. So a course of this nature forces me to think in different ways and change my perspective. It also builds my memory, if I can remember 50 chemical formulas for Biochemistry I can do anything!

What do you like about living in Wrocław?

Wroclaw is a dream city for me. It is beautiful, full of life and has a fantastic arts scene. As a student finances are tight and living in Wroclaw means I can have a wonderful quality of life on an Irish student's budget. I have really enjoyed scoping out all of the arts and literary centers around the city, I have met so many fascinating people and discovered artistic movements which are totally different to what I've seen in Western Europe. Wroclaw is also a great base for further explorations, I have been all over Europe for conferences, internships and jobs.

What are your dreams and plans for the future?

I plan to continue to develop as a scientist and a vet. I also plan to continue writing, both as a journalist and a poet. This year I will conduct an epidemiological survey, and with the help of my professor learn how to write scientific reports for publication. I will continue to build my contact with welfare organisations such as Veterinaire sans Frontiere and Eurogroup for Animals. I will try and visit as many farms and animal breeding units as possible in the next year to see what conditions are like in practice and begin thinking how things can be changed or improved.

What are you passionate about?

I am crazy about dancing, I currently train 3 times a week in an Irish dancing academy ( Irish spin) in Wroclaw. I have had a fabulous time travelling around Poland to compete, we will even be competing in the World Championship in Glasgow this year! I also love body painting and costume making, every Halloween is my time to shine and I'm proud to say I've yet to enter a costume competition I didn't win! Juwenalia was a new thing to me but is a delight!

Describe a funny story from your life in Poland or from your studying experience.

In my first year here I didn't realise that Halloween is not really celebrated in Poland. As a hardcore Halloween fan, I was going to costume parties all week, and my idea of a Halloween costume is not a Disney princess......needless to say I was covered in fake blood. At this time I was still living in the dormitory. Unfortunately just as I was leaving to go to the party one of the cleaning ladies happened to be cleaning the corridor on my floor. The lights at my end of the corridor were broken that week so the poor woman turned around to see a zombie covered in blood coming out of the darkness! She stopped, screamed and ran. Of course my first instinct was to call after her and reassure her everything was ok, but because I had fake rotten teeth and blood in my mouth all that came out was a gargled shout. Needless to say she started running faster. That wasn't the end of my evening......when I got home after the party it was a different lady working at the reception than when I had left. With all the blood and gore I was unrecognisable and she refused to give me my key. I had to ask my room mate to come down with make up remover and my ID before I was allowed back in. A night I'll never forget!

Are you engaged in any extra-curricular classes, students' activity groups?

Yes! I am very involved with IVSA. I am the organiser of the debate group and also set up lectures in English. I also train occasionally with the Polish folk dancing group in the university.

What is the best thing about your country or nationality?

The arts culture in Ireland is second to none. We are a nation of poets, musicians dancers and visionaries. I have cycled through my city covered in body paint, I have played the harp on the top of bell towers. Cork is also one of the friendliest and tolerant cities I've ever been in. The people there are creative and diverse.