If you are reading though the UQ Abroad testimonials it means you are considering going on exchange and you have read all the clichés like “once-in-a-lifetime” and “the best thing I have ever done” and I cannot stray from that as my exchange experience was really once-in-a-lifetime and one of the best things I have ever done!

I studied for a semester in 2012 at University College Dublin (UCD) on the Emerald Isle. I was in my second year of a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science and International Relations. While at UCD I studied more Political and IR subjects and also did an American History elective and an Irish History course offered to international students only. I found UCD, especially the international office, very welcoming. UCD is run a bit different to UQ, which was sometimes good and sometimes a bit challenging at the beginning (like finding the buildings and mastering the library and printing services) – but I am sure anyone could get into the swing of UCD after the first few weeks, as I did.

I stayed in a college residence and that is where I made most of my friends. I would recommend to anyone going to UCD to stay at a residence, as it is the easiest way to meet people.

I found living in Dublin and Ireland very fun and interesting. There is so much history and character to that small, green island. They also know how to have a lot of fun (the ‘craic’) usually with a drink in hand! Aussie’s and Irish get along very well.

There is so much more I would like to say but do not know where to begin – I guess you will just have to go over and experience it yourself! University exchange was the best months of my life and I have made friends I will keep for life, and who I am up to the late hours Skyping!

My Top 5 Tips: 

  • Use the UCD International Office and their events; they are there for you and to smooth over any challenges. Also join the ERASMUS club and the International Student Society – they both host great events and weekend trips, which are fun!
  • Hit the ground running! Use Lonely Planet or whatever to find things to do and start organising your weekends and spare time with sightseeing. Whether it is just a museum (which are all free in Dublin) or a trip to Galway, Cork or Belfast – don’t wait around and put things on hold as there is a lot to see and do and time flies! Maybe even create a ‘to do’ list and invite people you meet with you.
  • Get into Ireland a week or two beforehand. This way you can get over the jet-lag, get to know the public transport and fun drinking spots. I did and even went into the countryside and started to get the feel of Ireland before classes started.
  • You are on Europe’s doorstep! I managed to have weekend trips in London, Oxford and Budapest (DO BUDAPEST) – so make the most of that and be on the lookout for fares on sale.
  • Say ‘yes’ and get out of your comfort zone, even if all you want to do is sleep and recover, keep going – it’s a great way to meet people and have no regrets!

 

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