Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Final Thoughts

As our time in The Netherlands is coming to an end, I feel sad but excited to be going home. Throughout our time in Eindhoven, we were quite lucky regarding Covid 19. We got to experience life back to “normal” as masks became a thing of the past (excluding public transport and hospitals) so that was nice but scary as we became so use to it the past two years. However, the lifting of most restrictions then caused problems later on and we were then suddenly immersed into a minor lockdown- meaning all non-essentials would have to close at 8 o’clock. This was not a major problem until the curfew was brought back to 5pm. This affected most of our social life as most places were not opened until 12pm then closed 4-5 hours later. It was also anxious not knowing if a full lockdown would be implemented and it felt that we were waiting for each announcement every Friday. Thankfully, it only affected our last month! 

We had an amazing time and got to experience moving to a new country with a great location. The Netherlands has such an apt location that you can visit any country via bus, train, or plane for an excellent price. Whilst in Eindhoven, we visited Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Brussels, Rome Ciampino, Paris, London and flew back home once. If you do go to The Netherlands, I’d highly recommend this if you have the money as you won’t get the chance again. The workload in Fontys is minimal so it is a great opportunity to use your academic semester to your advantage! 


Finally, the college was interesting- it had a mix of multiple cultures and learning to get along with other cultures was an experience I won’t take for granted. The Dutch are quite direct, so getting use to this was challenging as for the majority- Irish people tend to beat around the bush. I believe this skill will stay with me for life as I begin my adventure into employment after college.

Thank you for reading and I hope to have offered some insight into living & studying in The Netherlands.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

The Craic in Coleraine 💫

 Hi lads, its been a while since I last wrote and oh my god so much has happened since then. Our student life in Ulster University has unfortunately come to an end, and with so many memories to take home. The course work involved picked up a lot since my last post. We finished our food product development project and ended with a final product to bring and present to the industry heads in a slightly nerve wracking PowerPoint presentation. We finished our Sensory Analysis Project along with carrying out our own analysis tests on our products and analyzing the data we received for our report . We also got the fantastic opportunity to work with a fabulous company called Chef in a Box developing healthier versions of their ready made meals designed for the elderly. I was on the mission of developing a vegetarian and vegan curry, which I was quite happy with the end result. 

We said goodbye to some fabulous friends that we lived with who were also Erasmus students from Switzerland and Germany, along with plenty of day trips to Derry for that ever so needed Penney's haul. They also have a huge O'Neill's that sell cheap jerseys (I got a Wexford one for £20) and would also highly recommend the Gate Bar and Bistro for some lunch and some fab cocktails. 

I also represented the University in Tetrathlon, which is a sport consisting of horse riding, shooting, swimming and running. It was an absolute blast meeting so many people from different colleges and universities across the country and will definitely be going back next year representing WIT. With a sports membership to the university you also get access to the gym on campus so that's also a win.

Several trips to Belfast have been involved aswell, going go see Jax Jones live in Limelight and the Belfast Christmas markets were highlights, along with some great spots for shopping. 

Overall,  I really enjoyed my experience in Coleraine. I made some really good memories with some fabulous people that I will remember for the rest of my days. Here's to even more memories as I plan to do my placement in the Ramore Complex down the road in Portrush so Coleraine isn't getting rid of me yet!

Christmas in Coleraine

 Hi everyone 

Coming to the end of the semester means the arrival of presentations, assignment deadlines and exams. We have one exam in January in applied sensory science and quality control with the focus being on the quality part of the module as the sensory science was covered in the finding report of the Finnebrogues meat-free sausages. Having already completed an exam worth 30 % in nutrition, the seven of us from Waterford had a different assignment that the rest to complete. Instead of doing practical classes with them, we got to work with ‘chef in a box’ to develop a healthier version of their g existing dishes for the elderly market. I worked on the mushroom stroganoff, in making the sauce consistency better as well as making it look nicer in the packaging, we made to put our research, modification and justification into a report that was sent back to them. The product development was graded based on the groups 6000-word report and our presentation. The panel really like my groups healthy fruit crumble bar and taught the level nutrition we were able to put in while it also remaining tasty was impressive.

Everywhere is decked out for Christmas, with the university putting up their Christmas tree in the main lobby and fairy lights hung all around the student accommodation office. The university made a real effort to make the environment as festive as possible with free hot chocolate, carols and a Santa run happening during this time when assignment deadlines are approaching. Sadly, due to the rise in covid cases the classes Christmas party/ lunches had to be cancelled as it wasn’t possible to organise a safe event.

Coleraine has lightened their tree although there was no real light ceremony due to stormy conditions, the town has a very Christmas feel to it with the blue/sliver colour scheme around the whole town as well as in Portrush and Portstewart. The lights made the are feel very warm and welcoming, while not being over the top and tacky. Sadly, even with the temperature being baltic up here, no proper snow fall came to us while here, there was a few flurries but nothing stuck. The festive feeling emulated in Derry city as well with their lights and massive beautifully decorated Christmas tree beside the glide hall where Santa was waving at everyone who passed. 

Signing off 


Sunday, 12 December 2021

An update from the Netherlands

Hi everyone,

Since my last post restrictions have started to come into full effect here, a 5pm curfew is now in place so everywhere closes at that time. My life now has pretty much consisted of going back and forth between college and home, being unable to do a whole lot else.

This has been very disheartening as obviously I’m not getting the full experience I should be but there’s not much that I can do to change that at this point.

College has been ok, with the majority of work being group presentations the workload is relatively light and I’ve found it quite enjoyable to be diving deeper into the more theoretical and marketing side of our course

I’ve found that I’ve been really been missing home at this point, while there’s been many things over here that have been great, I’m missing the simple things from home like a chicken fillet roll.

The past 4 months have been the longest I’ve ever been away from home and its been life changing. I feel that I have grown so much as a person, I’m much more independent than I was before, with this being the first time I’ve ever really lived away I had to learn how manage money a lot better than I had been and dealing with all the issues that came up during my stay was challenging but having dealt with them I feel much more well-rounded.

I’m currently writing this as I’m packing my suitcase to go home for Christmas, while I loved my time here I cannot wait to get home and see everyone, Ill be returning here in January for exam week so this isn’t a  true goodbye just yet but with the majority of my time here being done its hard to leave and not feel emotional, I will definitely be returning here in the future.

Signing off,



Hi everyone, Adam here,

So much has happened since I last wrote, some of my friends from home came to visit me in the Netherlands. It was really good to see some familiar faces at the halfway mark of my duration here. While they were here we did some pretty  great things although on the first day we just caught up and had some well needed sleep.

The next day we decided to go on a trip to Amsterdam as its one of the places I’ve wanted to visit the most since first coming here. It was a 2 hour train journey up but it honestly flew by and the city itself was amazing. We were going to see some of the main cultural sights such as the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh museum but due to restrictions both were booked up until December. However that’s not to say things were uneventful, while en route to get some food I ended up being pulled into a street performance where a gymnast flipped over myself and 4 others.

After this we were then curious as to what do now and ended up finding a museum about sex which was entertaining to say the least, it was essentially a walkthrough every facet of sex and had some robotic demonstrations which was something I definitely was not used to aha.

To top the day off we went to the Amsterdam Dungeon which initially I thought to be a house of horrors kind of thing ended up being an interactive horror show where we would walk through different areas and be told about different horrific events in Amsterdam’s past by talented actors.

Finally we ended up going to a club for a few drinks before we had to head home.

The next day we went to an arcade and tried glow in the dark minigolf which also offered cocktails and ended the day by going to the notorious party street in Eindhoven as one last celebration before they had to fly home the following morning.

Now that all the issues regarding my house amongst other things have been resolved I’m having a really good time.

Signing off for now,


Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Hello from the other side

Hi, this is Debbie. It has been four months since I came to Coleraine. From the unfamiliar environment at the beginning, I have grown a lot here. This exchange experience brought me a lot. I learned how to go to a new environment and tried to get familiar with it. In the class, I learned how to work together with my team members to complete the final work. Fortunately, we have several good lecturers who give us patience and understanding and encourage us to express our opinions confidently and bravely in class. In the speech at the end of the semester, I gradually gained confidence to give speeches, express my ideas and understand more about the development direction of product innovation. In our product innovation class, we need to use food waste to complete a healthy food for children, which is undoubtedly a big challenge for us. It is not easy to make nutritious and healthy snacks that attract children with food waste. We started with a number of ideas and decided to make Apple Crumble Bar. This idea was also reflected in our final product, which was recognized by the teachers. It was the first time for me to develop a new product, so I was very interested and experienced different fun. We were also lucky to participate in the fast food design of Chef in Box, preserving traditional meals and beautifying them more. This is undoubtedly a very good opportunity for me to experience the fun of product research and development. I can't help but quietly list it as one of my future employment directions.

As for the life here, I think it is not so boring as I imagined. I can have a drink with my friends in the bar and chat about the recent events. Or when you are free, go to the seaside to blow the sea breeze and relax. Going to a movie with a few friends and going bowling is fun. Take a walk-away trip to a nearby city or Belfast where you can shop, eat what you want and enjoy the atmosphere. By the way, the Christmas atmosphere here is already very strong. You can see some Christmas trees here and there. The entrance of the school is also decorated with Christmas lights. Everything is so beautiful and desirable. So, don't hesitate to come.☺☺☺☺

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Farewell to Coleraine



Eimear here again from Coleraine. Its Christmas time here and its magical. There is Christmas trees and decorations everywhere, even in the college! Everyone is out and about, meeting up with friends and enjoying the festive atmosphere in Coleraine and the two seaside towns of Portrush and Portstewart.

A lot has happened since my last blog post. We are in our final week of college now and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of my time here in Coleraine. I have since completed my product development module which was good fun and I learnt a lot from developing my own product from the waste products from certain companies around Northern Ireland. Two weeks ago, I also got the opportunity to work with Chef in a Box, a ready meal company, in university and it really opened my eyes into the ready meal market, specifically for the elderly. I was given a recipe and ingredients for a turkey and ham dinner and was asked to make the appearance and taste of the dish better, bearing in mind that it was being targeted towards the elderly. Overall, there are so many opportunities here which open your eyes to many aspects in the food industry.

With Christmas just around the corner, I decided to make the most of attending different Christmas events in Northern Ireland. I decided to go to a few Christmas markets. One in Portrush, Portstewart, Coleraine and Belfast. My favourite was the Christmas market in Belfast. It was a huge market filled with everything from food to jewellery, soap, perfume, candles, clothes and handmade ornaments. There was great festivity around that day and the Christmas lights were shining.

There are also lots of amazing restaurants around the North Coast. Portrush is a nice place to go for a night out with friends for dinner and a few drinks. It has many restaurants such as the Ramore Restaurants, Coast and Urban Restaurant. There are also many beaches in Portrush which are nice to go for a walk on during the day.

During my time here, I have also visited Derry, The Giants Causeway, Malin Head, The Dark Hedges and Dunluce Castle.

Myself and my friends planned two nights away in Belfast where we did some shopping, visited the Titanic and St Georges Market and also went out for a nice meal. We also walked around Belfast and made our way to Queens University and the Botanic Gardens. We returned to the Botanic Gardens a few weeks later and it was all decorated for Christmas. 

Overall, I really enjoyed my time here in Coleraine. I was able to experience studying in a different university and also have fun with my friends. I would recommend coming to Ulster University in Coleraine to study. Everyone is so friendly and there is so much to do and see around the North Coast.


Until again

Eimear 😄

Monday, 6 December 2021

Bye Colerain


So far in Colerain living here has being going really well. We are going out to lots of different places like restaurants, shops very enjoyable I can say. The town of Colerain is now getting ready for Christmas. They're putting up all there Christmas lights and decorations. All the shops are looking very festive, and the town is getting really busy, which is nice to see. A really nice café that I found that I have enjoyed eating in is called culture coffee they serve lovely teas, coffees and lovely hot chocolates and loads of individual different desserts like a biscoff rocky road or a cookie pie and more, that are all lovely. In the town of Colerain there is a market that goes on every 2 weeks that is amazing, with lots of food, drinks handmade crafts and more. The dates it is happing for charismas is Saturday 27 November Saturday 11 December Saturday 18 December and it starts a 9am-4pm in Coleraine town centre. 


At the moment in the course, it is very interesting we are helping out a company called Chef in a box designed the readymade meals. It has been a real experience because it is something different that we're not just using industrial kitchens, we have to use kitchens that everyone can use at home. with the ready meals I really got change the recipes and make it healthier and even look better. I was doing up the fish pie, but there was also a beef dinner, pasta bake, turkey and ham, a curry and a beef stroganoff. All amazing dish's that we helped on and we can put on our CV that I worked with chef in a box. 

we also maid a little friend when we were up here and we named her franklin😺

 In our class or product development, it has been so much fun designing a snack for kids that is using products that are Waste. The waste product that we are using is the chickpea juice. I have very much had a very warm welcome from everyone here, especially the lectures. They have all been super helpful. There always telling us where we have to go and if you have any problems that we can talk to them about it and that really have good things to say. I can say for a fact that my experience here in Colerain has been amazing and I have made so many new friends and I know my friend and I have really made the most of our self's up here. I would definitely recommend come up here to anyone who is think of it. from Joan 



Final Memories of Coleraine


                                                     Final Memories of Coleraine

Hi there, its April again here from Coleraine, its nearly Christmas time and the lights are on and shining brightly. All the trees are decorated, and the Christmas jumpers are out. The town of Coleraine is filling up with people shopping and getting ready for Christmas. Living in Coleraine during Christmas time is magical especially being able to experience it with my friends.

Every second Saturday there is a Causeway Specialty Market which was established in 2006, and operates on the second Saturday of every month, with several extra markets throughout the year, in the events space at Coleraine Town Hall in the heart of the town. The Market operates from 9am to 4pm and can accommodate 52 traders of which 36 are permanent stall holders. One of the several extra markets is the Christmas market, which                                                                 is taking place in Portrush, and I look forward to going.

There is also Christmas events and markets in Belfast throughout the month of December, where I have enjoyed eating new food, tasting new drinks, and watching personalized wood carvings. The picture of this chopping board was handmade, and the owner said that she gets the wood from her brother in Whales. It was the personal touch and the creativity that made me buy this chopping board and plus it will make a great souvenir.

I last finished up on briefly explaining about my product development module. As a group we were asked to create and produce a plant-based product for children using some waste products. The waste products that we had to work from were aquafaba, oat flour, apple pulp. Our first idea was to make an apple flavoured yoghurt pop or an apple flavoured marshmallow, but that had recently changed. We came into some difficulties with both and decided to lean away from the marshmallows and instead we came up with a new product. That new product is a plant-based chocolate pancake shaped into a llama and is served with a strawberry and chocolate dipping sauce. We name our product Llama and friends.

Finally, I want to finish up by telling you that Coleraine University has made many opportunities real for me, for example I got to work with a ready meal company “Chef in A Box” which was a great experience which now I can put on my CV. There are no words on how to describe how nice my lecturers were, they went up and behove to make sure that we had everything. One of our lecturers even sent myself and my friends out for dinner. Overall, I rate my experience 10/10.


Sunday, 5 December 2021

                          Noma - Part 3 
As I am at the end of my time here in Copenhagen I have been reflecting quite a lot on everything that has happened and everything that I have experienced with my friends and colleagues. It has been quite the emotional rollercoaster to be quite frank, saying goodbye to old friends and hello to newer ones. One thing that is for certain, is that I have loved every single second of this experience and never want it to end! 

With Dani and I being now the longest servings interns at Noma we are held slightly responsible for teaching and training the new batches of interns into how we operate at Noma, by showing how to clean ants, to plating dishes, all the way to showing some how to weigh out ingredients. It gives what we do much more meaning, by discussing where we’ve come from personally, getting to know a person and then bringing what you’ve understood into your teaching techniques by either being more compassionate or giving them a push. I have been put on another section since my last blog post with me now being on Section 2 with some amazing chefs, Nacho Domenech, Alvaro Sanchez and Mega Paitung. The dishes that are on this section is the Reindeer Penis salad, a dish of Plum with pollen, elderflower, quince and parsley, a pumpkin, strawberry and cabbage dish, and lastly the oregano and mushroom dish. It is quite a hectic section with us going flat to the floor from 8am to 10pm, however it is such great learning of efficiency and organisation. For example, last Saturday we started at 7am to clean Reindeer Moss and did not finish until half eleven. The work ethic that is instilled into you over here is simply astonishing and makes me excited for what’s next. 

With Copenhagen falling deeper and deeper into Winter and colder times, the ingredients we see change almost every week, for example instead of plums we use roast quince, more reliance on ferments and pickles, also the buying in of bulk ingredients such as pine for oils and vinegars. Compared to the Summer season it is a whole other world. During my time here, the projects have begun again. This is when the chefs are split into teams to create new dishes based on advice from the Test Kitchen, I really can’t say what they’re testing but it already looks incredible! There has been such a dramatic change in the social scene here in Copenhagen with more people meeting at each others houses or cosy cafes for a lovely hot meal or coffee rather than going to a bar or to a park. When I visited Hart only a few days ago it was an amazing view, seeing people wrapped up in blankets drinking tea or coffee chatting and just enjoying the vibes of Copenhagen in Winter. Since the 12th of November Christmas markets have been put up where you can buy delicious sugared almonds, mulled wine, beer (of course) and plenty of tasty food cooked over open fire. According to my room mates there’s a tradition of drinking mulled wine or hot chocolate and whiskey together whilst walking the Wintry streets of the city and taking in the sights. The fashion here is also quite amazing with people really embracing the cold by wearing massive coats, designer hats and honestly whatever goes and is counted as fashionable. 

Noma has been a life changing experience in more than one way. I’ve learned so much about organisation, leadership, skill, hard work, drive, compassion and passion. I really believe since I arrived in Copenhagen I’ve been lucky enough to grow as a chef and as a person. Words don’t come close to describing what it means to me to have done this experience, met the people I’ve grown and worked with, and all the memories that have been made. Just pure gratitude. I really must say I’ve had the time of my life over here and I’m very excited and driven to get back here in the future for a trial in Noma or elsewhere.