My Story: Great work experience
Elizabeth Hogan combined her two favourite Leaving Cert subjects when she opted for food science and health at the University of Limerick (UL).
As a pupil at Cashel Community School, Co Tipperary, Elizabeth "loved home economics; I was good at it and I understood it easily. I also liked how it crossed over a little bit with biology, and the food and diet part was definitely my favourite", she said.
Now in her fourth year, Elizabeth (22), from Dundrum, Co Tipperary, recently returned from an eight-month co-operative education placement at Dairygold's powder manufacturing plant in Cork. UL's Co-operative Education programme sees about 2,000 students placed annually with a network of over 1,600 employers. About 30pc of the placements are secured internationally, primarily in Europe, North America and Asia. UL has one of the largest such programmes in the European Union.
While with Dairygold, Elizabeth worked in the quality department, where they make powder for infant milk formulas. "It was great, and it shows you a light at the end of the tunnel because you see that people actually use what we're learning in the real world," she said.
There are 50 students on her course, and they have gotten to know each other well, often going on class nights out together.
Elizabeth has enjoyed her course so much that she is considering pursuing further education at UL in a few years' time. "I particularly like that we've had a lot of the same lecturers throughout, and at this stage I know them all fairly well."
She also loves the facilities at UL, particularly the college gym.
"It's easy to use, it's inexpensive, and because there are so many people, there are loads of different classes you can do."
Elizabeth shares an apartment on campus with students whose disciplines vary from music to equine science to business, and she likes mixing with people from all different courses.
"The social scene is what I've enjoyed the most here. I have loads of friends and I've met so many new people."