Multicultural dimension enhances student life in Kilmallock

Coláiste Iósaef in Kilmallock has, over a number of years, welcomed students from several European countries such as Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Slovakia. These international students have travelled hundreds of miles to experience the Irish education system and Coláiste Iósaef  has been delighted to provide them with a valuable learning experience that leaves a lasting impression. These are the experiences of two Italian girls who are currently in 5th year at the college:

Rosanna’s experience
‘When I was still in Italy I was so anxious about coming here for one year but I was at the same time excited to challenge myself staying a whole year far away from my family and my friends; far away from my life.
I didn’t know anything about Ireland when I was in Italy, I had so many questions, what would my host family be like? Would they be as nice as my family? Would I like the new school I was going to?
I cried a lot the day before I came here first, I cried hugging my Mom and my Dad, waving goodbye to my friends and watching all the special places that I was not going to see again for a whole year and for few seconds I just wanted to stay at home.
When I arrived here, Misha and her mam Jackie were waiting for me and then they took me to their house and it felt like home from that moment on.
I didn’t pick the school, the family, the town, the agency did everything and I really appreciate what they did and what they are still doing for me.
I really like my school, it’s so different from the Italian one and for this reason I found it difficult the first week but then I got used to it and have made lots of new friends.
There are few differences between this school and the school in Italy. First of all, in Italy we don’t have any uniform (and I’m glad for it), I just have to attend five hours for six days (from 8am until 1pm so everyone can go home and have the lunch with the family all together).
I have the same classmates for five years and study the same subject every year staying in the same class with the same teachers. In Italy we don’t change classroom and the teachers have to walk into every class. The school has no journal and everyone has to buy his own personal diary and we use it just for our homework.
I am so happy that I made the brave decision to come here. My English has improved so much, what I say and what I write. I am meeting new and different people every day and, I am making new friends and I am growing up as an adult. I am growing into a more mature and confident adult.
I am very lucky to be an exchange student in Ireland’ –
Rossana Dinisi

Monica’s thoughts
Before I came to Ireland I didn’t know if this experience would be as awesome as the time I have spent in schools in England.
I was in Listowel from September to Christmas and had a really good experience there as it helped me to grow. The family I stayed with were very nice and the school was completely different from my school in Italy. The school was an all girls establishment, they had a uniform, they followed a very different timetable and the different subjects and system were all completely new to me.
After Christmas, I decided to move to a different type of educational establish-ment, a mixed school as I had heard lots of good things about Coláiste Iósaef.
Now, I’m in County Limerick, living in a town called Kilmallock. I love my family, my new school and my friends. I feel part of the family and have everything I could wish for. Above all, I have two new parents and two new sisters. Actually I don’t miss my home because I feel this is my home. The school is amazing, even if we have to wear the uniform. In Italy we do not have to wear uniform as and can wear our own clothes to school. I like the teachers, I’m allowed study some subjects that I study in Italy and now I have lots of new friends, not just exchanges students like in Listowel but lots of Irish friends as well. This has given me the opportunity to improve my English. I like Kilmallock even if it’s really small but I’m sure that when you feel good wherever you live – it’s your home’ –
Monica Cacciatore