I went on exchange to University College Dublin in Ireland and studied predominantly arts electives. This gave me the freedom to choose courses on the unique history and culture of Ireland but also Europe. Particular courses included ones on the history of modern Europe, Irish Celtic studies, Irish folklore and Greek myth. It was fascinating to be living and travelling in the same area as my studies and really added an extra dimension you can only achieve through exchange.

I really enjoyed my time in Ireland even though a semester is so short once you’re actually over there. I meet so many great people from all over the world that truly made me feel like I was on exchange. It was difficult to get used to being away from home especially not knowing anyone but the experiences more than made it worth it. I cannot recommend exchange (to Ireland or anywhere you wish to go) enough! I’d never lived out of home so it can be challenging to learn to live with others but that just makes the experience more enriching.

In terms of expenses you can look up the up-to-date cost of on-campus accommodation on the UCD website. On top of that food and other necessities can be as little as around €60. It was interesting to find a lot of other exchange students (many from Europe, Asia and America) say Ireland was very expensive but I found it similar to Australia. Bus tickets from UCD-City are €2.15 one way. Textbooks will depend on your subject. Then you simply need to factor in what you want to spend on Travel, souvenirs and so on.

Top 5 Tips:

  • Live on campus – makes class, socialising etc. much easier and the less stress the easier it is to enjoy your experience in another country.
  • Go on every Ireland trip the societies offer – when I was there ISS (International Student Society) and ESN (another exchange student society) both offered three similar trips to Galway, Northern Ireland and Cork. All great ways to see the country, experience the culture and make new friends and well within anyone’s budget (approx. €100 for a weekend trip).
  • In connection with the above join the ISS and ESN societies because they are the big exchange groups and offer countless opportunities to explore UCD, Dublin and the Irish culture. For example, trips to parliament house and Irish sporting events.
  • Take Ireland Uncovered, a course specifically designed for exchange students. A great course that really introduces you to what makes Ireland, Ireland.
  • Travel outside Ireland before or after your exchange as it’s quite difficult within semester with everything else going on and you probably won’t want to leave Ireland once you arrive! But Europe is definitely worth exploring once you’re all the way over there.

If you decide to take the plunge most importantly …. Enjoy Yourself!

 

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