Bachelor of Education/Arts, 3rd year
Bachelor of Education/Arts, 3rd year

Academic experiences

As a BEd/Arts student, the only subjects I could do while abroad were Advanced electives from my Arts majors of History and Sociology.

At UCD, six subjects is the equivalent to our full-time load at UQ, but only four actually counted for me, so my course related subjects consisted of Medieval Irish History and a course on Alexander the Great and Macedonia, both of which I really enjoyed, as well as a contemporary Sociology subject and one called Animals and Human Society - which was probably my favourite course I've ever taken at University, hugely recommend it!

The last two subjects I took - which I didn't get credit for - were two especially tailored for exchange students, and I would definitely recommend everyone going to UCD to take!
They were Ireland Uncovered and Discovering Ireland, which focused on the general history of Ireland and on its landscape.
Both were easy to do and great experiences, especially Discovering Ireland - which consisted of two fieldtrips around Ireland and field notes as the entire assessment!

Even though it looks like a bigger workload than we're used to, it really wasn't that difficult to manage six subjects.
I did quite well even though I was distracted by all the awesome opportunities being on exchange offers you outside of the classroom!

Jordan and I at the Cliffs of Moher!

Personal experiences

I honestly had an amazing time on exchange, from meeting a whole bunch of fantastic people and forming life-long friendships, to travelling to some of the most amazing and beautiful places in the world.
Whatever country you go to, get out and explore it - either by yourself, with friends or family, or with the help of the societies who are all there to make your experience as magical as possible.
Oh! And keep an eye out for cheap Ryanair flights - they're up constantly and the Australian dollar is super strong in places like Spain and Portugal, which you should definitely go and visit!

Accommodation

I lived at Merville college in the same apartment with my boyfriend - so if you are wondering, it's actually super easy to coordinate getting into the same room with someone else who is also going into on campus accommodation at UCD.
We even had the luxury of setting up one of our rooms as a bedroom and the other a study by moving some furniture around!

Our roommates were lovely and we all got on really well, it was easy to coordinate things like sharing chores and using the kitchen.
UCD was fantastic at organising buses that would take us out to Ikea for all the bits and pieces we needed, and by the time we split the costs between 5 roommates it only cost us about $20 each!
Make sure to sort out your own space in the fridges and cupboards, and organise Tesco delivery to your apartment asap!
Online grocery shopping was amazingly convenient and Tesco's website and delivery system was super easy to use as they're delivering to the UCD buildings all the time.

We loved Merville and I couldn't recommend it enough.
You have to share bathrooms but only with one other person, and with the money we saved we were able to pay for a trip to Spain, Portugal and Hungary in our mid semester break!
It's located close to the bus stop and to university, and is home to the office and Centra (which is super important if you love late night snacks, but bad if you're trying to watch your weight).
One thing to keep in mind though is that birds do tend to bust into Merville apartments and Merville apartments only, for some reason, but they're easy to defend against if you make sure to close the windows when nobody's home!

Budget

I feel like everything cost about the same as Australia.
After we'd paid upfront for our accommodation, my boyfriend and I were able to live week to week really easily on our Youth Allowance ($420), and then just depend on our savings for travel!
Groceries per week cost about 80 euros for the two of us, though budget for a bit extra to spend on Ben and Jerry's at Centra (especially if you're at Merville) and an enormous delivered pizza from Pizza Max every weekend when you stagger home after a big night out!
Transport is a surprising cost so make sure you keep an eye on it, you have to pay 2.80 euros every time you use the bus either in exact change or with your Leap Card, and that can stack up if you're travelling in and out of town throughout the week!

To save a little more money, if you want to travel before, during or afterwards, we managed to get discounts on Airbnb accommodation ($20 off each time) and on our Eurail passes (10% off) by joining the Erasmus society for $2!

Academic development and employability

Going on exchange gave me the opportunity to see more of the world and of all the other people and cultures who live in it.
Especially in my Sociology subjects, I felt like UCD offered courses that were far more located in our contemporary world than anything offered at UQ.

Highlight

Every weekend, my boyfriend and I explored city and the coastal suburbs of Dublin simply by catching a bus out from UCD.
I don't believe we could have spent this time any better, as we loved hiking along the coastlines and experiencing all the natural beauty the town has to offer.
We would highly recommend going to and hiking through the national park at Howth (we went twice!), along the coastal road from Dalkey to Killaney, and over the cliffs of Bray to Greystones.
Honestly though, go to Howth.
Standing on the top of the peninsula and gazing out over Dublin was one of the highlights of our entire trip (the entrance is behind the golf course!).

Top tips

Just do it!!!!
It was without any doubt the most amazing experience of my life, and if I could go back I'd do it in a heartbeat!
Enjoy the time off work and travel as much as you can.

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