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Megan Lanigan is an SETU graduate who has undoubtedly made the most of her time at the university. During her four-year stint, the Wexford native experienced Canadian culture while completing her Erasmus at Humber College, covered all things social media for the newly re-established SETU Surf Club, and received a commendation at SETU’s Final Year Marketing Awards. Now a marketing and communications graduate ambassador for the SETU marketing office, she feels her college experience has now come “full circle”.

Megan's time at SETU

I am originally from Gorey, Co. Wexford, but I decided to move to Waterford city over four years ago to study a BA (Hons) in Marketing & Digital Media at SETU. I was a recipient of the President’s Scholarship 2019, which provided great support to me throughout my degree and allowed me to be involved in community in SETU through work as a student ambassador. I was social media manager of the re-established SETU Surf Club in 2021, which was also a highlight of my college years. I also had the incredible opportunity to move to Toronto, Canada in my final year to study abroad for one semester, which was an experience I will never forget. Throughout my course, we were encouraged to excel academically through the Dean’s List Awards and the Final Year Marketing Awards, where the top-performing students were awarded for their hard work. The awards night in the final year was a highlight for me as I received a marketing commendation, and most importantly, got to celebrate the completion of our final year with my lecturers and classmates.

Choosing the right course

I discovered a love of marketing while studying Business for my Leaving Certificate as I loved the idea of being able to combine theory and creativity. The BA (Hons) in Marketing and Digital Media stood out to me as the course content combined all areas of marketing while maintaining a base in vital business subjects like management, law, accounting, organisational behaviour, and economics. The final two years focused more in-depth on marketing, with classes using software like Canva, Adobe Suite, Google Analytics, and WordPress. Another attractive element of the course was the flexible semester in which you could decide to either study abroad or complete a work placement – I chose to study at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.

Our final year group projects involved creating and presenting a full marketing campaign for a real company in the industry. We worked with Carrick-on-Suir Credit Union and University Hospital Waterford on two separate campaigns, which was really rewarding as these projects helped encapsulate a variety of marketing elements covered throughout the four-year course.

University highlights 

The highlight of my college experience was studying abroad in Humber College, Toronto, Canada. If you had told 18-year-old me when I had first moved to Waterford that I would move even further from home, across the pond to spend a semester studying abroad in Toronto, I don’t think I would’ve believed you!

I had never even visited Canada before, but it had always been somewhere I wanted to visit. The thought of moving alone to a country I had never been to, so far from home, was really nerve-wracking, but I am so glad I went as it was the best decision I’ve ever made! I spent four months living in residence at Humber College studying their Digital Communications programme. There I had the chance to experience the Canadian way of living and studying. I made a great group of friends who were also studying abroad from countries like The Netherlands and Sweden. We even rented a lake house outside the city during October break and had an unforgettable trip which included hiking national parks, songs by a campfire, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The whole experience flew by as we balanced our studies with being tourists - from Blue Jays baseball games to a class trip to Niagara Falls, to seeing the Maple Leafs play ice hockey, and experiencing a (freezing cold) Canadian winter, the whole semester was an experience I'll never forget!

Waterford as a place to study

Within a few weeks, I felt like the city was a home away from home. I remember being so nervous to go to my orientation day back in first year, but the staff at SETU are extremely accommodating and welcoming, and I settled in well. Since then, I haven’t looked back, and now that my degree is complete, I have moved to Waterford permanently. The city itself is ideal for students as there is a great atmosphere, especially coming up to Christmas during the Winterval Festival. I love the fact we are so close to the Comeragh Mountains and the seaside towns of Tramore and Dunmore East. The location also gives me loads of opportunities to indulge in my favourite hobbies: hiking, sea swimming and surfing. Overall Waterford is a great student city, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to enjoy a balance between your studies and social life.

A fulfilling experience

Looking back now as a graduate, it is really fulfilling to see how much I have grown and learned through my experiences as an SETU student. My journey has come full circle now as I have returned to SETU, but not as a student, but as a staff member! I am currently working as a marketing and communications graduate ambassador in the SETU Marketing Office, and this role has allowed me to put my knowledge into practice. I am now involved in the promotion and marketing of our courses and student life to prospective students.