Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science

Academic experiences

I have recently finished studying for a semester at University College Dublin.
I studied a variety of courses including four science courses and two arts courses.
The science courses were necessary for progression in my degree and the subjects included biochemistry, genetics, cellular biology and physiology.
In general I found them challenging and interesting, fairly similar to the second year science courses I’d taken at UQ but with a smaller practical component.
I would have preferred more emphasis on the practical side rather than the theory, in hindsight I should have enrolled in some of the available purely laboratory based modules.
The theory and laboratory courses tend to be separated, unlike at UQ.
I continued studying French while at UCD and I found the course very well organised and challenging.
I also took a course called Ireland Uncovered, which allowed me to learn more about Irish history and culture.
A full subject load at UCD is comprised of six subjects, but the workload is similar to a full time load at UQ.
Additionally I liked that it enabled me to continue studying a language alongside my science courses.

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Personal experiences

Embarking on exchange allowed me to meet people from all over the world, with a range of cultural and social backgrounds.
I met people who speak a range of languages and it encouraged me to continue my studies of the French language.
While at UCD I also learnt the basics of the Irish language.
I spent time exploring Ireland, including major cities Dublin, Galway and Cork as well as spend a weekend in Northern Ireland and travel to other locations in Europe.

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Accommodation

I lived at a college on-campus.
This was a completely new experience for me and for the most part a very enjoyable one.
I became close friends with one of my roommates and I got on well with the other two.
Living in college allowed me to meet new people at social events.
It made getting to class a lot easier and I became familiar with the university campus and the surrounding area quite quickly.

Budget

I found budgeting difficult at first and so I kept a spreadsheet that allowed me to keep track of my spending.
I had a monthly budget of 700 euro, which sounds like a lot but I spent over half of this on weekend trips around Ireland and Europe.
I also had extra money for unforeseen expenses, such as when my laptop needed fixing.
Accommodation, flights and other travel plans were the major expenses and I kept many of my travel plans flexible so that I could scale them down if I needed to save money.

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Academic development and employability

Prior to exchange I was a fairly motivated and dedicated student but in some areas I lacked a lot of confidence.
Going on exchange forced me to learn how to interact with people from a range of social and cultural backgrounds, as well as adapt to new situations and deal with any problems that arose.
It has given me a broader sense of how the world works in terms of the differing political and social environments, relationships between countries and the general opinions of young people from different parts of the world.
Meeting people who speak more than one language has inspired me to continue my pursuit of a second language and instilled in me a desire to travel more.

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Highlight

I loved actually having the opportunity to live in another country, as you learn so much more about the culture than when you are a visitor.
However if I had to pick one highlight it would be all the lovely people I met while on exchange, both the Irish students and other exchange students from all over the world.

Top tips

Plan ahead!
It has taken me so long to sort out subjects and plan the rest of my degree (definitely worth it, but I wish I’d thought about it more in first year!)
Also start saving as early as possible, so that you can travel and make the most out of your experience.
I also wish I had taken the opportunity to challenge myself and study in a non-English speaking country so that I could learn another language, but being in an English-speaking country certainly made it easier to adjust and settle in.
 

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