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

Academic experiences

At UCD, I studied a combination of second year and third year gender studies and philosophy courses.
I completed six subjects as that is a full load at UCD and is considered comparable to four subjects at UQ.
I found that six subjects was probably a little more work than would usually be the case doing a full load at UQ but it was definitely manageable.
For me, the course content was of comparable difficulty to that of UQ.
However, the assessment at UCD was definitely more oriented towards exams than assignments which is not what I have experienced in my Arts courses at UQ.
I found it difficult doing philosophy exams rather than philosophy essays as different skills are involved.
I found the lecturers at UCD to be wonderful.
In particular, my philosophy classes had a smaller number and we had to speak to the lecturer individually when collecting assessment.
I found this daunting but it really does make you feel involved in the course as the lecturer knows who you are and wants to help.
Overall, I would say that the grading system at UCD is slightly easier than at UQ.
Everybody I knew on exchange last semester passed despite being a little less attentive to our studies than would usually be the case.
I definitely found that I got better marks than expected even though I was trying to fit in traveling and meeting people into my usual routine.

Kissing the Blarney Stone

Personal experiences

The biggest highlight of my exchange was the people.
Everybody at UCD was really welcoming.
About ¼ of UCD students are exchange students so the other people in class are used to new people coming and going.
They were super kind and having people to ask questions about procedural things (i.e. Where do I hand in my assignment, how do I use the library, etc.) made transitioning to a new university a lot easier.
I also became really close with the Australians from UQ who were on exchange.
We didn’t know each other prior to exchange but we became really good friends and I’m so glad I will have them here in Australia with me.
Travelling was one of the other amazing experiences of exchange.
I really recommend trying to see as much of Ireland and Europe while on exchange.
Ireland isn’t exactly central to continental Europe but with Ryan Air flights, it is definitely accessible. Getting to see other parts of the world is eye opening and a lot of fun.

Accommodation

I lived on campus in the Glenomena building.
I would definitely recommend living on campus for people considering an exchange to UCD.
It makes arranging accommodation prior to being in Ireland really easy.
It also means that you are close to UCD and don’t have to spend money on transport.
It’s also a good way to meet other people.
Living in Glenomena meant that I had my own bathroom but shared a kitchen and common room with five other people.
I was really happy with my choice and found it easy to share a kitchen.
However, I know people who lived in different on-campus accommodations and had different kitchen and bathroom arrangements, and everybody I know was happy with their choices.
It really doesn’t matter which one you pick.
The only downside to living on campus is that security is pretty intense.
Obviously this has its benefits in terms of safety.
However, on certain days throughout the year, there are lockdowns where only people who live on campus are allowed in and where you aren’t allowed to have any friends stay over.
These limitations could be a little annoying at times but these minor inconveniences were definitely outweighed by the benefits on living on campus.

Dingle is one of the most southern towns in Ireland. It is in the 'gaeltacht' (areas where Irish is still spoken) and is delightful!

Budget

Everybody in Europe says that living expenses in Ireland are very expensive.
I think this may be true relative to the rest of Europe but it’s pretty similar (if not cheaper) than Australia.
I had a weekly budget of 150 euros that I rarely exceeded but this didn’t include any traveling expenditures.
If living on campus, I’d recommend going to the Tesco at Dundrum to do any big shops, to buy non-perishables and more expensive items.
However, there is also a smaller convenience store called Centra that is in the on-campus accommodation.
It’s more expensive than Tesco but I found it better to buy my vegetables at Centra as things would often go off if I bought perishables in bulk from Tesco.
When first arriving at UCD, I would definitely recommend talking to the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) as they may do a sale of cutlery and kitchen items.
I managed to get all of my kitchen items for about five euro from them and this saved a lot of money.
I would also recommend going to Penny’s.
It’s basically equivalent to Target or Kmart but cheaper and they have a huge range.
They are super useful when trying to get all the basics for your new accommodation.

Academic development and employability

Participation on exchange has enhanced my employability and academic development as it has made me more self-reliant.
Going on exchange was the first time I’ve planned and paid for an international trip by myself.
I now know that I can trust myself to take care of the details and that I can rely on myself to solve my problems.
I think this increased confidence and self-reliance would be a boon in an employment situation.

My first and last Guinness!

Highlight

The memory that stands out the most in my mind is my road trip of Ireland.
A group of Australians from UQ rented a car and drove around Ireland.
It can be hard to rent a car in Ireland depending on your age and driving experience but, if possible, it is definitely worth it and a great way to see Ireland.
The Irish countryside is so beautiful and the country is small enough that you can see a lot of it in a weekend or a few days.
I would recommend going down south to Blarney Castle and the little village of Dingle.
I’d also recommend the Connemara area and Galway.
If you can’t hire a car, there is a pretty good Irish bus system that goes all over the country and will get you to most of the big towns and quite a few little villages.

Top tips

My advice to other people would be:
Travel early on in your exchange.
I didn’t go overseas until mid-semester break and I regret not taking advantage of being in Europe to travel more.
It’s also better to travel earlier before assessment starts building up.
Go to the GNIB super early in the morning to get your student visa.
It took me six hours of waiting in the Garda office and I got there at 8:30 in the morning.
There is a little pastry store in Dublin called Queen of Tarts that is amazing.
Go there and eat their apple crumble and/or carrot cake!
The milkshakes at the burger place called The Counter in Dundrum are also the best things I’ve tasted in my life.
The caramel and pretzel one is to die for.
I also recommend going to all the ‘touristy’ stuff in Dublin, particularly Kilmainham Gaol.
It explains a lot about Irish history which I think is interesting and important to know when on exchange in Ireland.
 

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