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"I won a scholarship to study abroad through an organization in Belfast called  Business Education Initiative. There are 150 students from that program studying in the United States, from Georgia to Iowa. I was given a choice between Wesley College in Iowa and The College of New Rochelle. I selected CNR and I think I made the right decision."

Ailsa Friel
International Exchange Student
School of Arts & Sciences
The College of New Rochelle


Where are you from in Ireland, Ailsa?

I'm from a little town called Creeslough in Donegal. That is in the northwest of  Ireland. However, I've spent the last 3 years in Northern Ireland where I attend college in Belfast.


Tell us something about your family.

Well, there are seven of us all together. Besides my mother Mary and my father Columba, I have one older brother Cian, who is graduating this month from Galway University. I have three sisters -- Etaoin, Caoimhe and Laoise. Etaoin is also studying at Galway University. My other two sisters are in high school back home. I miss them all so much, though I am in constant contact via email and phone, but that just isn’t enough. It’s always lovely to see a person’s face, isn’t it?


What is your hometown like?

Creeslough really is only a village. It is very small and very beautiful. The name Cresslough means “belt of lakes,” and it is precisely that: lots of little lakes dotted around the area. It is also very near the sea, less than a five minute drive to the beach. County Donegal is famous for the abundance of unspoiled and breathtaking beaches. Donegal is also steeped in culture, wild and rugged, and full of secrets and history. You should come visit us.

Tourism is our only real industry. We depend on the tourists for our livelihood. Most of the tourists are from Northern Ireland. They see Donegal as a save haven from all the troubles in the North.

We still farm around Cresslough, but less and less, as the local farmers are finding it too difficult to compete, and many of the farmers are finding it is more profitable to sell their land to developers.

I've never lived on campus before so this is very different for me. In Belfast I'm about a forty-minute walk from the college. We don't have a campus or dorms. Students rent or lease houses in and around the city. I find I am getting so much more work done by living on campus here at CNR...




Tell us a little about how you become a student at CNR?

I won a scholarship to study abroad through an organization in Belfast called Business Education Initiative. There are 150 students from that program studying in the United States, from Georgia to Iowa. I was given a choice between Wesley College in Iowa and The College of New Rochelle. I selected CNR and I think I made the right decision.


How long will you be staying at CNR?

I arrived at the campus on the 31st of August and will be departing on the 22nd of May. So, it is a full academic year.


What is your major?

Back home I am a Fine Arts Major.  However, the BEI programme is business orientated, so I am obligated to take four business subjects per semester. So at The College of New Rochelle I am a business major.


Are you living on campus?

Yes, I'm staying in Ursula Hall.


What is your impression of the campus and of New Rochelle?

I've never lived on campus before so this is very different for me. In Belfast I'm about a forty-minute walk from the college. We don't have a campus or dorms. Students rent or lease houses in and around the city. I find I am getting so much more work done by living on campus here at CNR because there aren't as many distractions, although I'm sure I'll be finding plenty of distractions soon enough. But for me being in college in America is very different from what I'm used to in Ireland, but change, I find, is always good and gives a person a different outlook on how things are done.

Go raibh
mile maith agat!

A thousand thanks on to you,
and to The College of New Rochelle
for welcoming me so warmly
into your college.



What are your career plans?

After I complete my degree I'd like to do some traveling for a year before I go ahead with my masters. I hope to do my masters in either London or Edinburgh. Eventually, I want to teach art at the university level and also exhibit my work at the same time.


When will you graduate from college?

I will be graduating from the University of Ulster in Belfast in June 2007.


Ailsa, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview.

Thank you, and as we say in Irish. Go raibh mile maith agat! A
thousand thanks on to you, and to The College of New Rochelle for welcoming me so warmly into your college.



To find out if  CNR is the right choice
for you, please contact:

School of Arts & Sciences
Office of Admission
The College of New Rochelle
29 Castle Place
New Rochelle, NY 10805
914-654-5334 
email: admission@cnr.edu



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