I loved Ireland and every experience associate with my exchange! I am a 24 year old Civil Engineering student and went on exchange in my third year in Semester 2, 2012.

Boring stuff first:
I found it difficult finding approval for engineering courses and was also very daunted by completing 6 subjects. In terms of engineering courses I chose a couple of 4th year level engineering courses that looked interesting, relevant and had no pre-requisites and had them approved as advanced electives (even though there wasn’t an equivalent at UQ). Also get approval for 4 engineering courses and then choose random electives for the other two (because only 4 courses will get signed off from your degree at UQ so there is no point doing 6 engineering courses). I normally spend a lot of time studying while at UQ but I found the workload to be less at UCD and managed to travel away from Dublin every weekend for the first 9 weeks of semester.

Fun stuff:
Dublin has such a good vibe and the night life is a blast. There are some fun clubs but my best nights out usually were at various pubs with live music (mostly in Temple Bar which is always packed). I highly recommend you attend some of the weekend trips away with Erasmus Students Network (ESN) or UCD International Students’ Society (ISS). I travelled in Europe pre and post exchange so while I was in Ireland I travelled internally and saw so many beautiful places. The top locations would be Galway, Connemara, Ring of Kerry, DINGLE, Cliffs of Moher and Belfast. Some of the smaller towns have been the best because the pubs have got great atmosphere and often have quirky interiors such as Foxy John’s in Dingle which is a pub and hardware store all in one room!
I stayed at Belgrove College which was great but I think the best choice for on campus accommodation would be Merville College because it has the best location, is the closest to the bus stop and Tesco (supermarket) and has 5 room apartments which is better than Belgrove (3 rooms) because you are not as limited if you have a bad housemate!

I met such incredible people while on exchange and I warn you that you will find it hard adjusting to living back in Brisbane after exchange but I would HIGHLY recommend you do everything you can to go on exchange because it is such a nice break from mundane Uni and you will have so many memorable experiences. One of the best things about exchange is that you somehow manage to fit in so many activities and adventures into such a short amount of time and you achieve so much more than you would normally in the same time frame.

Top tips:

  • Join societies in O’Week and actually attend their events because the Irish are great craic! I joined the equestrian team and the surfing club, which was a great way to meet locals. Surfing in Ireland sounds pretty miserably cold but it actually was awesome surf and the weekend trips away are serious good fun if you like drinking, surfing and socialising.
  • If you are interested in the gym then join on your first couple of days at UCD (prior to O’Week if possible) because they have a safety induction that can take a month to get into!
  • Eat a chicken baguette from Tesco when you are hung over (so cheap and delicious)!

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