Erasmus Testimonies

UCC Judo have been extremely lucky in the past few years in terms of the talent acquired from both home and abroad. In this section of the site are the stories of just a few of the students we’ve had the honor of having at the club and the role UCC Judo played in their time in Cork.

Willem Van Ransbeeck, Belgium. September-December 2017

Hi David,

a short write on my time at UCC Judo

My Erasmus period in Cork had many fantastic and memorable moments, and UCC Judo is definitely part of that. As a visiting student, it was not easy to get in touch with other Irish students. Joining a sport club is the best way to do so, and UCC Judo is the best example of that.

I met members of the club first on UCC Sport Day, where I accompanied my roommate Alexis Rosa Moya, a Spanish judoka. I met coach David and captain Aobh and they convinced me to join the first class. I would not regret this decision. The warm welcome of the Irish judoka’s and especially team captain Jack was something that really made me want to go back and eventually stay in the club throughout the semester.

UCC Judo is a club that is perfect for new as well as experienced judoka’s. I had already practiced judo some years ago, and after some lessons with the other new members, coach David encouraged me to train with the more experienced members. They were very open and friendly to new and beginning members and really helped me to improve my skills. Especially the one-on-one combats were a way to learn a lot.

There was not only the sporty aspect, but also the social. The club held several social activities which created a very pleasant atmosphere and made me go the training sessions with even greater pleasure, because you knew you would be among friends.

I am very grateful to everyone at UCC Judo for making my Erasmus experience even greater and make me rediscover judo.











Alexis Rosa Moya, Spain. September – December 2017


I trained with UCC Judo Club 1 semester and it was a very good experience because I had the opportunity to meet new people and learn Judo. People of the club were very friendly and kind and usually there were meetings at night to drink beer and have fun. I recommend a lot to practice with these wonderful people.








Danel Intxaurrondo, Spain. September- December 2017

Dear UCC Judo Club,

First of all, I must say that the Erasmus period in Cork has been one of the best period I’ve had in my life. This, largely, was because I joined the UCC judo club.

At the very beginning of my adventure in Ireland, I felt scared and alone, but I didn’t doubt on joining the judo club. There I met other Erasmus students that were going to be great friends for the rest of my life, but also local students.

I have no words to say how grateful I am for the help and support given by David, Jack, Aobh, Ciara… well, given by everyone.

I would like to highlight the fact that we competed in Dublin and Derry, and those were two of the best experiences I’ve had in the Erasmus. In Derry, I want to give special thanks to David, because he drove us to the Giants Causeway, and without him we would never visit it.

To summarize, I would encourage everyone, even if they are not judokas, to join this great club because they will feel as if they were surrounded by their own families.

Thanks for everything,













André Araújo, Brazil August 2015 – May 2016

From august of 2015 to may of 2016, I studied at UCC as a
visitor student. During this period, I was part of the UCC Judo
club, which turned to be a experience much better than I had expected.

The guys from the club were quite receptive, friendly and
respectful. David Holmes, the coach, is very open to new
opinions along with being a great judo coach.

I also met different people at the club, which made my
experience at UCC much richer. In the beginning of 2016 I
traveled to Derry to compete at the Intervarsities. This
turned to be a great weekend not just because of judo, but
also the experience of traveling with the team and meeting
new people in Derry. The club also organizes some nights out,
that are great for visiting students to make new friends
and have a better experience abroad.

Thus I strongly advise any student of UCC, especially the
visitors, to take a look at the Judo club. This can make your
experience much better.











Francesco Massardo, Italy August 2016 – May 2017

I’ve been practising judo since I was six. It has always been a big part of my life, especially in the last seven or eight years. That’s why when I decided to move to Cork for my Erasmus adventure, the judo club I would have found there was one of the things I mostly looked forward to know.

After the six months I spent in Ireland I must say UCC judo club was far better than anything I could expect.

I found a perfect ground for meeting new friends, new cultures without losing my sport career. Dave, the coach, couldn’t be more kind to me: he never stopped looking after me and helped me in getting more comfortable with a new experience; moreover every mate, from the captain to the most experienced judokas, without forgetting the beginners that always took my advice in great consideration, always made me feel I never lost the unique
club friendship that I was so afraid to lose.

In those six unforgettable months I experienced many competitions, both in Ireland and NI, outside trainings, a wonderful intervarsities success and many funny moments, even outside the tatami.

Again, I couldn’t have wished for a better adventure.













Miguel Sanchez, Spain August 2016 – May 2017

My name is Miguel Sánchez. I’m a Spanish student who spent a great Erasmus 2016-2017 year in
University College Cork, Ireland. I have hundreds of things to say about this year, but I will explain why I’m so proud and happy to have chosen UCC for my Erasmus. So, why UCC?

First, because of international people. I come from Madrid, a 2.5 million inhabitants city, so what could I expect from Cork? Lucky me when I discover that the life in the city goes around UCC. The
high number of international students hosted by UCC create the best atmosphere to feel integrated: hundreds of people came from other countries in your same situation. It makes Cork a
recommended city for everyone who want to spent some university years there.

Second, because of the services. The infrastructure of UCC is absolutely complete, from the international departments, to the Sport Centre, Library, Health Centre, etcetera. You feel really
safe when all this services are given by the university, and it solves one of the main points when you choose your international destiny: the services and facilities.

Third, because of the culture. Cork is a really cultural city, which is so stimulant for any student. It gives you the opportunity to have a complete international student, with alternative and opened
environments. There is always something to do. And it is great as well that the university, UCC, adopts also an open-minded attitude and participates in creating this context.

And last, but not least, because of the local people. And, for me, this means UCC societies and clubs. It is absolutely amazing how so many association can be managed. In my opinion this is the best showcase for the university and one of the best ways to integrate foreigners not only with other foreigners but with Irish people. This is not always an easy issue when you go abroad, but clubs and societies obliged you to share time with local people as well and this is perfect for integration.
For me, the last part has and own name: UCC judo club. I was lucky to join the because they become one of the best parts, if not the best, from my Erasmus. They became my real ‘Irish’ Erasmus and I feel so lucky to have lived that. Quickly I’ll explain why it was so good. First, the welcome was not only about words but about facts. They were so opened form the very first moment, from the sensei and the captain to the whole team, not only in the trainings but in social meetings as well. Second, the judo level. I was surprised by the fact that a University Club is fighting in the top national level not only in university competitions, but in both university and senior championships. The possibility to compete at the highest level in the country was an important incentive. And third, the European University Games. I never have thought that I would be able to go to this kind of competition, even more in other country. It was surprisingly to see how the club fought for putting a team in that competition, included myself. The European University Games were the best Erasmus’ end I could imagine. It collected the best elements form my Erasmus: representing UCC with both international and Irish friends in the best year I have ever lived.








Alexandru Bogdan Romania Sep-Dec 2015

When I first chose Cork as my destination for the Erasmus scholarship, I was thinking about how everything will go there. I was excited about the “new” that I was going to find, but as almost any other human being I still had reservations about leaving the “old and familiar” for the 4 months

First days since my arrival and I heard out about the societies and clubs event. I found it very nice and interesting, because in the city I’m studying there aren’t any activities like these related to the university. This is one of the reasons I gave up Judo. But here I am again, having the chance to do
Judo through UCC.

Lacking training and minus a judogi I was a bit unsure if I should really go, but I’m glad I did. The people I found there were simply amazing. They made me feel like I was home. It’s so hard to describe in words. I love Judo so much and finding a group that also does that was the perfect setup.

I had the same feeling as the one for which I started doing Judo in the first place. Everyday I was walking to UCC for the courses, back home, and then again to Mardyke for the training (10 km everyday) and I did this even after I twisted my knee one night. I wanted to be there every single day.

In my first competition for UCC in Derry with Luke Hickey and our coach David Holmes we contested the three man team event. The last fight in the Derry team competition showed that Judo is also a sport of mind. Making a strategy for it and winning it by 2-1 demonstrated that you can lose a battle, but you can win the war. Dave fought alongside us and brought the trophy back home by beating an opponent way heavier than him. Team spirit, strategy and motivation are strong qualities that judo promotes.

The Irish Judo Championships, was the first time I was fighting for something else than me and my family. I was also fighting for the people I met there. I wanted to win just so I can bring back a gold medal for all the people that supported me in this journey. I’m glad I was to deliver the result that
UCC Judo club deserved.

Judo is more than a sport, it’s a way of life. Let it train your soul and you will be amazed by the person you are going to become. The most important lesson I learned from it is that: no matter how hard something is, no matter what others tell you and no matter what the odds are there is always a way, so be strong and never give up. It’s all about the mindset. When I started, everyone was telling me to quit because I was losing all my contests, one month later I became National Champion.
People told me I couldn’t open my own company, because it is too hard, and I did it. If you listen to others you will always live as much as others say. If you listen to heart, sky is the limit.
I think that with extraordinary people like Dave, Judo is having a bright future there and will continue to grow. Thank you Dave, Katie, Luke and all the others again for the amazing time and for being my family while I was there.