In a song on the radio, in an accent on the TV, in thousands of photos memoires are preserved of the most incredible experience of my life. My Semester in Dublin, without a single piece of doubt was an extraordinary journey that took me further than I would have dared dream. Ireland is a remarkable place to spend a portion of your life, and it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. The people are entirely unique, they are friendly and welcoming despite many of the challenges and hardship that define their past and present.

I met most the extraordinary human beings, which have enriched both my experience in Dublin and my life. There is something truly magical about exploring the world with people who were not so long ago complete strangers, but now you sit together in courtyard in Barcelona eating ice cream under a night sky or on top of a cliff watching clouds move across the sky with a breathtaking view before you. In all the challenges to get to Dublin, it was all worth it for the friendships I made, the wonders of the world we witnessed together.

I’m a third year Bachelor of Arts student and I studied Literature and writing at UCD. It was brilliant studying those subjects in a country who had so much pride in their writers. The submission system was basically identical to UQ but getting marks back was really different. We weren’t given criteria sheets, just questions so find out from your tutors what you are being assessed on. 40 % is a pass, and although you are required to do six subjects, the workload was roughly the same as a semester at UQ.

Dublin was not nearly as expensive as it is made out to be, but I still came home penniless. There is a marvellous airline called Ryan Air that will take you to Stockholm, Sweden for 40 Euro return. Take advantage of being able to pop over to another country on the weekend for basically nothing, but be wary of the airline. It’s more than a bit dodgy. Do not board the plane in Austrlalia without your travel insurance being sorted – you never know when you will get a bout of bad luck. I unfortunately was in a car crash, got sick and had my wallet stolen but it was all okay because of the insurance. In regards of sickness, 11 UQ students headed to UCD and in the second week there, more than half of us got sick, thanks to climate change, freshers week and jet lag. UCD has a really good student health care; so if you do get sick, go to the doctor straight away, so you spend less time in your bed feeling like death and more time exploring. Make the most of every minute, hour and day because before you know it you will be back here wishing you were still there.

Roebuck Castle Catered is the place to be, its brand new, modern and quite luxurious compared to other residences and worth the extra cost. Also the dining room is a perfect place to meet some life long friends as you dig into your potatoes. You will also live in apartments of 12, which is a fantastic way to meet people from all over the world – there were 10 nationalities in my apartment alone! Remember that accommodation is as hard to get as the perfect tut time, so wipe out your entire day when booking opens and don’t move from the computer until you have it. The Irish student population is really alive, is something happens within the country or in the university that doesn’t go down well, or that seems unjust they will march, protest and create awareness entirely united.

Societies are a large part of the UCD experience. The law society brought us James and Oliver Phelps aka Fred and George Weasly, LMAFO played at the student bar the dance council filled the corridors with spontaneous outbreaks of dance routines. Sign up for ESN (Erasmus society) and make sure you get a place on every single trip. They took us to Galway, Cork and Belfast and my adventures with them and the hundred plus other internationals as we explored the Aran Islands, The Cliffs of Mohr and the Giants Causeway were definitely the highlights of my trip. Pack your bags two weeks in advance before you leave and than every day, take things out! Get the bags as light as possible. Clothes are really cheap in Dublin thanks to a golden place called ‘Penny’s’, and if your going in winter, buy your coats once you arrive. Also if you are not a drinker, Ireland is not the place for you. It is their lifestyle and culture and you will need to get used to drinking on a Wednesday night and going of to class in the morning (the Irish don’t tend to drink on the weekends) and there is nothing in the world like a traditional Irish pub. The atmosphere within them is amazing. Strolling down the temple bar, in the afternoon sun (it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone says) with live Irish music pouring out from the many pubs is just one of the everyday wonders you will experience. The first and last days of the semesters are designated drinking days and do not be surprised when the first drinks are started as early as nine – they call it Black Monday for a reason. Christmas in Ireland is entirely different to Australia. Picture streets lined with fairy lights throughout the city, incredible window displays and carollers brightening the cold streets with their tunes. It is such a magical atmosphere you will almost find your self re believing in Santa. You can not go to Ireland without going to Wicklow, Galway, Howth and without religiously making the most of every moment.

At the end of the day, it will no be the Arann Islands that you remember but who you rode around them with on the old fashion horse drawn carriage, who you sang Galway girl with in the Porterhouse Pub with and who you now miss, as our lives continue on opposite ends of the world. So right now, in this very moment, choose a university, and prepare yourself for an adventure that you will never be able to convey in a few humble words.


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