Enjoy a full campus experience in Ireland’s “City of Culture.”
St. John’s University is proud to announce its latest addition to the Discover the World Europe program: Limerick, Ireland. Students participating in this unique three-country program benefit from our new collaboration with Mary Immaculate College, a vibrant Catholic college on 25 acres, with a 500-seat theater, student union, cafeteria, and a sports and recreation complex.
Students reside a short 20-minute walk from campus in the Pery’s Hotel, located in the historic Georgian neighborhood of Limerick City. Students will be able to immerse themselves in the local culture while having access to a full university campus with sculpture trails, state-of-the-art auditoriums and an active international student population.
The hotel is within walking distance to the Limerick Museum, the Limerick City Gallery of Art, King John’s Castle, and Saint Mary’s Cathedral.
Director of the International Office, Mary Immaculate College
Holly Cowman is the Founding Director of the International Office at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), having managed the office since its establishment in 2013. She has worked at MIC since 2007. Holly herself was a student at MIC. She completed a BA in Media & Communication Studies and Philosophy and an MA in Philosophy & Literature. She also has an MA in Film Studies and is currently completing an MA in Psychotherapy. She is a proud Limerick native and loves to show visitors - particularly newly-arrived international students - around the historic, riverside city and the surrounding region.
Holly's love for travel began when she studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a year during her BA degree. There she studied History of Cinema, History of Art and History of Philosophy. During that year she was an extra in the movie Hannibal and did promotional work for the British Institute. She used the opportunity to travel throughout Italy and Greece and to develop her language skills.
Holly's experience of studying abroad had a direct impact on her career choice. She now advises students from MIC looking to study abroad as well as international students coming to study at MIC. Holly considers study abroad to be the most beneficial part of college life and she is looking forward to playing a part in facilitating enriching, life-changing experiences for students from St John's University at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Holly is a member of Mary Immaculate College’s Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the High Level Group on Internationalisation of Higher Education in Ireland, which is convened by the Irish Government’s Department of Education & Skills.
International Relations Executive, Mary Immaculate College
Ben Finnegan joined the team at the International Office in Mary Immaculate College in the early summer of 2016 as International Relations Executive. Prior to that, Ben worked for over a year in Dublin City managing marketing campaigns for large and small scale businesses both in Ireland and abroad. Ben also worked for two years as Student Union President at his alma mater where he was the chief spokesperson and representative for 11,000 students. As well as representing the students at a local, national and international level Ben was also responsible for the management of the Student Union Center, its staff and commercial entities.
Ben completed a BA in Business and Spanish and also completed a Higher Diploma in Digital Marketing. Ben has lived, studied and worked in Spain and believes that all students should try to immerse themselves in another country’s culture before graduation as it opens the mind to a completely different perspective on life. From the age of 15 he started to engross himself in Spanish culture and spent the summer months living with a Spanish family in Madrid as part of a student exchange. This marked the beginning of Ben’s love for travel and was also the foundation to becoming fluent in Spanish.
Ben studied in Salamanca where he took a keen interest in the languages of Catalonia and the Basque Country. During his time in Salamanca he successfully initiated an Irish heritage project where he was able to convince the Lord Mayor of Salamanca to include the City’s Plaza Mayor in the Global Greening initiative during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The event received international coverage and Ben received congratulations from the Irish Prime Minister, the Irish President and the National Tourism Board of Ireland. Ben credits his study abroad year for many of his career successes to date and believes that it distinguishes his resumé from others. He is now a key member of the MIC International Office team and is always on hand to help with any student query no matter how big or small. Ben recently became a board member of the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS), an advocacy and support service for international students in Ireland, and has since been elected Chair of the Board.
Ger Cahillane has spent her career in civil and public service, and has worked in the Education sector for 26 years. Ger first joined the IT department at MIC in 1998, where she provided intensive support to students with IT issues and queries. Ger then moved to the Erasmus office, supporting students on Erasmus and Study Abroad Exchange programmes with all aspects of settling into a new environment, from the academic to the household. Ger now supports MIC’s non-EU students at all stages of their transition to life at MIC, and continues to provide unsurpassed pastoral support to students throughout their time at MIC. Ger also supports MIC students in realising their plans to study abroad.
She willingly offers her expertise and guidance in a wide range of matters, from the application process and documentation requirements, through travel arrangements and finding accommodation, to settling into college life. Ger's door is always open to students who are looking for advice, support or simply are in a need of a friendly chat, and Ger has remained in touch with many international students who benefitted from her guidance during their time in MIC over the years. Ger is a key member of MIC’s Student Wellbeing Committee.
Ger thoroughly enjoys getting to know MIC’s international students and learning about their home countries and cultures. She is currently taking Arabic & Moroccan culture lessons from one of MIC’s international students. She also enjoys hearing of the travel adventures of international students while they are in Ireland and loves to recommend things to do and places to visit in Limerick and around Ireland. At home, Ger is a big animal lover and enjoys gardening in her spare time. Ger also greatly enjoys visiting her son and daughter, who both live abroad.
Breeda has completed a BA in Language and Cultural Studies in the University of Limerick and also completed a Diploma in Human Resource Management. As part of her degree, she completed an Erasmus exchange in Aix en Provence and this highlighted the beginning of her love of travelling and working with students. After her degree she took a year out to travel around the world and she worked in Australia for approx. eight months. After this she returned to Ireland and worked in Dublin for ten years, in Human Resources for over six years and a Dublin University for over three years, before returning to the West of Ireland, where she is from. She is delighted to be back working closer to home and to also be able to promote the lovely city of Limerick to the St John’s University students on the Discover the World program. She is always available to answer any query no matter how big or small and thoroughly enjoys accompanying the students on excursions and field trips and looks forward to the continued success of the programme at Mary Immaculate College and meeting enthusiastic students who are eager to learn and explore Irish culture!