Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science

I only hope that someday, somewhere, I can experience such enjoyment again. Dublin utterly changed me: exchange was more than I had ever hoped it could be and I would wish it upon anybody. I met people who will be close friends for life and encountered a city that astounded me with its beauty and friendliness. A city with fairy lights and bunting along the streets was promising from the start, but it completely outdid itself. Dublin is a town where buskers vie happily for attention on Grafton Street, where daffodils bloom in their thousands in spring, where bicycles veer fearlessly around cars, and where music streams out of pubs late into the night. We exchange students discovered an incredible place that buzzed with atmosphere; Dublin is fun, friendly, historic, and lively. I know I’ll be back.

As for the practicalities of exchange: I lived with my twin sister in the city centre. (Like us, a couple of other people chose to go on exchange with someone they knew – it made the big decision easier for me). We chose to live in the city (off campus) to ensure soaking up as much of the Dublin culture as possible, and we loved it. My sister and I each paid about €2500 for this living arrangement, which is very similar to what the college students paid.
I believe I got to know the city better than those who lived on campus as the main attractions were right outside my door. However, the colleges are also a great living situation. Most of my friends lived in Belgrove College whilst some were scattered across Glenomena, Merville and Roebuck. Colleges are highly social places (a lot of fun for me to visit!) and obviously very practical for getting to classes. There are benefits for both choices – either way you will have a ball. If you live in the city, make sure you get to all the college social scenes, and if you live at college, make sure you see Dublin city centre as much as possible.

UCD was a great university and has a very good biomedical science program, which was one reason why I chose it. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that it’s so welcoming for exchange students. Join ESN (exchange student network) and go on all the ESN camps you can – these were always excellent craic. From pub crawls and mountain climbing to cultural site-seeing, you will have a ball. There are lots of social events at the start of the semester for exchange students, and these were fantastic for making friends. I enjoyed having a perfect exchange network. It was the people I met that really caused this experience to be so overwhelmingly memorable. We found that we made friends with each other much more than with the locals.

Be sure to go to lots of Irish pubs while you are in Dublin! Dawdle through St Stephen’s Green and the Temple Bar area. Get out of Dublin some weekends: take advantage of cheap Ryan air flights to European cities, and take trains and buses all over Ireland (I loved Cork and Galway). Soak up the Irish craic, the company of new friends and the city’s beautiful sites. A little bit of study needs to be done but you are there to have a cultural experience; when you get home you want to be telling stories of you and your friends’ fun and mishaps, not the assignments you completed so well in Dublin!
Have a completely grand time. You will love it.

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