I am a third year Journalism/Arts student doing an arts major in peace and conflict. I chose to go on exchange to University College Dublin in the Republic of Ireland. Whilst on exchange I did advanced arts electives towards my peace and conflict major.

I found it challenging at first adjusting to a new university, in particular having to balance six subjects instead of four. However being a peace and conflict student I found it interesting being able to do subjects such as Conflict in Northern Ireland and then being able to visit places like the peace wall in Belfast. It really did bring my studies to life. The university website at my host university was very well developed and made enrolling in these subjects alot easier. The international office staff at UCD were also very approachable and helpful.

The main thing I got out of my exchange was the friendships I made with people from all over the world. I learnt alot about myself whilst travelling beforehand and whilst living on campus. The Irish people are amazing and very welcoming and I encourage anyone thinking about going on exchange to consider Dublin, it really is an amazing city. I definitely consider myself to be more independent, confident and focused on my future goals after having completed my exchange.

The main expenses for me were little mundane things that just seemed to add up, in particular food. I would definitely advise anyone going on exchange to work out a very detailed food budget regardless of whether or not they choose non-catered accommodation.

Whilst in Dublin I opted to stay at Muckcross Halls Residence. It was catered accommodation and was situated ten minutes away from the University College Dublin’s main campus. I enjoyed the location immensely because it allowed me to live in an actual Irish neighbourhood and gave me easy access to supermarkets and the city. The college had around 65-75 students staying there and by the end of the semester everyone felt like family. The facilities were great, rooms were fine and the only thing I wasn’t overly fond of was the amount of potatoes served at mealtimes.

Five Top Tips:

  • Get the 30 day rambler bus ticket – it gives you unlimted bus trips per day for 30 days and makes travelling around Dublin alot cheaper and easier
  • Avoid the nightclubs around Temple Bar if you can – definite tourist trap
  • Join as many International Societies as possible in particular ERAMUS who organize trips throughout Ireland for exchange students
  • If you like shopping try Grafton Street
  • Buy a sturdy umbrella!!

 

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