A Day in the Life at Minerva
So I went to Minerva Schools at KGI for my undergraduate degree. Minerva is quite a unique university experience. It combines four years of world travel (to San Francisco, Seoul, Hyderabad, Berlin, Buenos Aires, London, and Taipei) and an international student body from over 60 countries, with rigorous, interdisciplinary study using the science of learning.
I lived in each city for 4 months, and while travelling the world, kept a private journal detailing my experience of a typical day in my life in each of the cities. Now, I'm sharing a brief highlight of my adventures through these "Day in the life" journal entries. Enjoy!
San Francisco, United States of America
September 2016 - April 2017.
"I'm in San Francisco... Wow! I'm really interested in the political culture of protests and riots and all these movements that have started in San Francisco. I really like discovering the different neighbourhoods which are all so incredibly different from each other and yet are still all essential to San Francisco as a whole. My favourite neighbourhood is the Mission which is very influenced by Hispanic culture. I love the food, the parks, the free yoga classes, and the people that make me feel like part of their family. A typical day for me is as follows... Wake up, Go to FIIT with classmates, take classes in the morning at a cafe with friends, explore the city for a few hours with classmates, do readings in another cafe, eat dinner with friends, supper clubs//minerva talks//10:01s at night before bed! Every day is filled with a new adventure and I adore it here!"
Seoul, South Korea
September - December 2017.
"Here in Seoul, I have gotten involved in a civic project organized by Minerva with an organization called Liberty in North Korea that helps refugee from North Korea to escape and settle in South Korea. But I also love exploring the differently themed cafes in the city and going to “Jimjilbangs” (Korean-style spas). I really enjoy going to these traditional bathhouses to relax after a stressful week but they are also a great way to understand the balance of work-life discipline and self-care that is very important in Korean culture. I also LOVE all the cute cafes!"
January - April 2018.
"Here in Hyderabad, my day differs immensely depending on what day it is!
If it’s a Monday or a Wednesday, I get up early and go work at the Neuroscience lab at the University of Hyderabad! I’m currently researching the relationship between Bilingualism and Attention; studying how unconscious priming affects language selection and the effects on the brain!
If it’s a Tuesday, I have a day filled with meetings - my favourite being with the Feminist Collective to plan Fem Fair, an annual weekend organising by students to raise awareness about feminism and gender equality issues both in Minerva and within the cities we are living in! I’m currently working with a civic partner to use art and theatre as a medium to portray gender equality in Hyderabad by directing a student-made play!
If it’s a Thursday, I explore the different cafes in Hyderabad with classmates; my favourite has been the organic open spaces!
If it’s a Friday, I work with Voice4Girls, an NGO that reduces social inequality surrounding gender by training adolescent girls from rural India to take control of their own lives through access to education and critical skill-building in activity-based summer camps
And finally, if it’s the weekend, I spend my time exploring the old city’s incredible architecture and culture or relax at the Botanical Gardens with my politics book!"
September - December 2018
"A day in the life... Genuinely, working a lot. I'll wake up, go exercise somewhere; rock climbing, swim or yoga, and then have my morning coffee. I'll venture to a cafe somewhere in the city and get to studying - I quite like working in cafes. Then classes, and working on assignments, cooking dinner, then I like to unwind with a nice bath or by watching Netflix. In Berlin, I feel a lot more at home than in the other cities. Culturally, it’s still very different to Ireland but it's European enough to make me feel that familiarity to connect with it. Berlin as a city has very chill vibes, which makes me feel more relaxed than other cities, which helps me to cope with the stress of the academic year. I love biking everywhere, and how easy it is to exercise. I try to go to yoga daily then head to a cafe to study - I miss the cafe culture in Seoul but it’s nice to feel so comfortable in my apartment that I can stay home all day and still feel good. Plus I have a bath in my apartment which I love. It’s great for self-care - I've been experimenting with bath bombs and different soaps which has been super fun. I’ve also hosted fun murder mystery dinner parties in my apartment with my friends! For me, Berlin is so easy to live in that I’ve had less urge to travel. I’m happy just being where I am and enjoying my time here."
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Janurary - April 2019
"A typical day in Buenos Aires starts with my morning routine. I'd get up, grab a coffee to go from the cafe next door, then head to the park to read for 30 minutes. Coming back I'll make breakfast, and start my readings for the day. My classes are in an excellent schedule timing-wise, so I go to Zumba in between them which is so much fun! Being able to dance and exercise has been really important in giving myself a break from the intensity of academics. If it is a Friday, I'll go to Barrio 31, the slum in Buenos Aires, as I'm working with the Department of Justice and Gender to write an impact evaluation. I've got involved with some really incredibly NGOs while I'm here; from the Department of Justice and Gender to TECHO, where I built a house over a weekend. If I had sum up Buenos Aires in 3 words it would be; Sun, Independence and Impact."
London, United Kingdom
September - December 2019
"London is one of my favourite cities, which was unexpected as I'm from Northern Ireland so assumed London would "too familiar". There definitely are similarities but also such a faster pace of life that was exhilarating. I share a flat with my 3 best friends and it has become a haven. From Sunday roasts to wine Wednesdays (where we'd drink Rosé and watch British rom-coms) to afternoon teas! I love the city and I love how at home I feel. A typical day in London looks like this: I'd wake up, make a green smoothie, head to my favourite cafe "Bench Cafe" which was filled with natural light and standing desks to get some work done then head to Camden Market or South Bank for some delicious street food, then I'd go see a show on the West End! I'd queue up earlier to get cheap tickets and ended up seeing over 22 shows during my time there! It was incredible! Also, I was in London during Brexit which was crazy! I went to multiple protests and spent my time talking with MPs at Westminster!"
January - April 2020
"A day in Taipei... It usually looks something like this. I'll grab a coffee in the morning, take class then grab some lunch. The food here is wonderful! Dumplings, scallion pancakes, bao, noodles - yum yum yum! Afterwards, I'll grab some boba and walk to the library at NTU. It's a 30min walk so I'll listen to one of Klara's podcasts (they're brilliant!) or jam out to some music! Then I'll spend the rest of the day at the library! This semester, we're partnered with National Taiwan University here in Taipei and have access to their campus. It's so beautiful and I head to the libraries daily. This semester is all about my capstone. It's my last semester and I'm getting ready to complete my degree and my time at Minerva! It's been crazy and incredible. I'm really grateful to have had this opportunity!"
Looking back, a year after graduating, I can honestly say that attending Minerva was the best decision I've ever made. Four years of travelling the world with my best friends, every day an adventure and learning opportunity, and I'm so grateful to have had that opportunity.
Thank you Minerva, for everything. There's no place I'd rather be.
Minerva Schools at KGI, Class of 2020
To find out more at Minerva, click here.