Ireland is a brilliant country to choose for a semester abroad. I went in semester 2, 2012, during the second year of my Bachelor of Arts. As well as History I was able to study folklore which is not on offer at UQ and it proved to be a fun elective. Assessment put more emphasis on exams than research essays, but coursework was otherwise very similar.

Living on campus is super convenient, especially if you’re used to commuting. There are loads of buses to take you to and from Dublin city in the space of 20-30 minutes. Taxis are also cheap and plentiful. Living on campus is also a sure-fire way to make quick friends, many of whom will be other international students and keen to explore with you.

If you can reach all four corners of Ireland and Northern Ireland you will have covered the best attractions and seen some cities outside of Dublin. The people of Cork have the best accent! Be sure to visit Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands off the west coast near Galway. There are guides available to drive you to all the best crumbly forts and majestic cliffs. Also take the time to discover Dublin and walk along the Liffey River. On a nice day make a trip up to the seaside town of Howth or the monastery and lake at Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains.

There are some decent clubs in Dublin but their strong suit is pubs. Temple Bar is a good place to start and try to work your way out into less touristy areas as well. You will meet some great Irish people in these pubs and one may become a life-long friend who’ll invite you back to his family’s goat farm!

5 Top Tips:

  • Have your courses organised before you leave Australia and try not to change once classes have begun. Unlike UQ Arts, if a course is full they don’t open extra classes so there will be a mad rush to secure places.
  • Take the bus south to Stillorgan to do your grocery shopping at either Lidl or Tesco. The Centra on campus costs more and has less of a range.
  • Join the ISS and ESN communities for their weekend trips to Galway, Cork and Belfast/Derry. These groups also do welcome barbeques and some great parties throughout the semester.
  • Once you’ve covered Ireland, look at doing a weekend trip to an interesting European city. If you travel with Ryanair and stay in a hostel this can be highly affordable.
  • When faced with something new and exciting say ‘Sure, it’ll be grand!’ and make the most of your experience!


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