Leaving home for university – one Irish woman’s journey

By Grainne McCool

“It only took three suitcases, two boxes and a lot of goodbyes but I made it,” says Hannah McGilloway of her big move from the small Inishowen village of Gleneely in Co. Donegal to university in Aberdeen, Scotland.

“All summer, moving to Uni seemed like it wasn’t really going to happen so I never gave it much thought – then it crept up and bit me,” she says. “

I was very settled with my job, my friends and my boyfriend so messing all that up to move to a different country just didn’t make sense.

But it all became real in September for the young Donegal student 

Hannah, aged 20, had just finished a two year diploma in Business at the North West Regional College, Derry and was quite comfortable living at home.

Having had a keen interest in fashion for many years, the diploma in Business was very much a detour for her. But it was all part of her education and her pathway was being paved out.

Hannah McGilloway has left the small Donegal village she grew up in for a new adventure at university in Aberdeen
Hannah McGilloway has left the small Donegal village she grew up in for a new adventure at university in Aberdeen

“D- Day arrived and I packed up my things and headed off to Aberdeen,” she says.

“Emotions had been running high all that week with the pressure from packing and also leaving my loved ones.

The nerves started to set in as I got closer to the airport and not just because I am an anxious flier.”

Hannah had never been to Aberdeen before and had no idea where she was going or whom she would meet en route.

My first encounter was a lovely taxi man who empathised with me because he had two daughters who were both away at university and he thought I was very brave to take off on my own.

She fell into conversation with him and said he settled her before landing at Woolmanhill.

“I then gathered my things from his car, said thanks to him and was most grateful that he didn’t charge me the full fare. Here I was getting ready to start my new life.”

Hannah is now four weeks into her living in Aberdeen and admits to feeling settled and happy with her decision to move there.  

“I threw myself completely out of my comfort zone but for all the right reasons,” she says.

“I have gotten to know my way around the city, made friends and found a part time job. I feel there can only be more positives to come from this adventure.”

Hannah has recently started a blog to share her university life experience and can be found at theblissfullya-wear. She says that this blog will be a representation of herself, her student life and her love of fashion.

“I hope to get my personality across in each piece that I write,” she says.

“I hope to blog at least once a week for now and then more often once I’ve broken into the world of blogging and found my bearings.”

For now, Hannah is also concentrating on her studies and her new life in Scotland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.