I travelled on exchange to University College Dublin in my second year of my Bachelor of Arts. The entire exchange experience was life-changing and ridiculously fun, from what I learnt to the people I met to the places I saw. No matter where you go, exchange is something that I couldn't more highly recommend to anyone who can do it.

While I was in Dublin I took subjects towards my extended major (Peace and Conflict Studies) which I enjoyed immensely. UCD has a great range of subjects in political science and international relations. As you take six subjects instead of four, there is a greater range of topics to choose from. While in terms of study load it is similar to UQ, there are still quite a few differences. Assessment tends to be more concentrated into fewer assessment items (especially final exams that are often worth the most - beware of 100% exams!), you don't receive any real criteria sheets and the grading system is more than slightly bizarre. However lecturers are very approachable and willing to help out a bewildered exchange student.

On exchange, it's generally not the places that you go, but the people who you share those experiences with that you remember. Some of my most memorable experiences were shared with the people I met in that first week of exchange, from the pints of Guinness we shared in a pub listening to 'Galway Girl' to road-tripping around the Ring of Kerry one weekend. I also joined the UCD mountaineering club which took me climbing and hiking around Ireland, from weekend trips to the Mournes to scaling Bray Head one sunny Sunday. The sports clubs are only €15 for a year (and the societies €2) so it's a great way to get out and meet (especially Irish) people.

Essentially, try to say yes to as much as possible and force yourself to join in on things you might not usually do - you might only get one chance and you almost certainly won't regret it!
 

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