Charlotte - University College Dublin

B Economics/Laws (Hons)
Semester 1, 2019
The BEST uni experience I could have had!

Academic experience

I completed a full-time load (6 subjects) while on exchange. Even though it sounds like a lot, there was still plenty of time to do everything I wanted to do like travelling every other weekend, going to social events, etc. I did have 4 final exams that were worth 100% though, so even though most of the semester was relaxed, it did get a bit rough during study period! 

The subjects I did were Employment Law, International Law of the Sea, Sports Law, European Human Rights Law, Game Theory, and Economics of Financial Crises. I would most recommend these last 3, especially Economics of Financial Crises. It was an interesting course to take particularly as it was taught from an Irish and EU point of view. I also took a free 6-week course in the Irish language which was a really fun way to engage in the culture! There’s no assessment or anything, Bord na Gaeilge just love the language and want to promote it! 

Lastly, I would say to definitely be prepared with heaps of different subjects to submit for your study plan as I had to complete another plan last minute because of clashes and changes with course offerings, and this was pretty common. I also had to do a lot of the following up with registration with the law faculty at UCD myself over the phone. The staff are really nice and helpful, but the process can just be a little slow.

Personal experience

Friendships is definitely the number one thing I valued about going on exchange. It’s all about the people you meet to share all the amazing experiences you will have at UCD and when you travel! That being said, I also loved the personal autonomy of living out of home in another country and I loved exploring Dublin by myself. 

I think Ireland was the perfect place for me to go on exchange. I loved the Irish culture -  it’s relaxed, friendly, and they love their fun/craic as well! Ireland honestly became like a second home. It’s also the home of Ryanair, a budget airline, meaning that there were heaps of cheap flights you could get to connect you to the rest of Europe. One of my favourite trips was to Germany and Poland, where a group of us went for mid-sem break.


I lived on campus which I definitely recommend if you can nab a spot. The university gives out a date for when accommodation opens up, but not a time, so you have to be lucky enough to be on the website at the right time. I lived at Merville Residences which was perfect. It’s one of the cheapest spots but it’s still really close to campus and it is closest to the local store. Living on campus made it so easy to socialise and I had great housemates who became really close friends as well! If you can’t get on campus accommodation, be sure to try some of the other student accommodation. It really is so fun living amongst other students.


Dublin is expensive, which I don’t think I realised before I went there. Be careful about eating and drinking out a lot especially in the first few weeks or months while you’re there and you feel like you have a lot of money. For groceries, I'd say to go to Lidl or Aldi for the best prices. Try to plan what you'll eat too so that you don't end up buying heaps from the campus convenience store. Also, visit countries in Central/Eastern Europe! They’re relatively cheap and heaps of fun.


The biggest challenge for me was probably budgeting. I would recommend not spending too much on unnecessary things at the beginning - pints of Guinness can really add up quickly from a single night! Be mindful of what you spend, but at the same time make sure you have saved enough so that you don’t need to miss out on too many things because experiences are so much of what makes exchange great! 

I also found it a bit tiring at the beginning of semester going to so many events within a small space of time, but it was worth it in the end because you get to meet so many people!

Professional Development

In terms of my personal development, I think I learned to be a lot more independent, organised, and to get out of my comfort zone more often. I think learning to adapt to a completely new environment is good for both personal and professional development, and on exchange you learn to adapt to a new academic and cultural environment.


There were so many highlights but some were St Paddy’s Day in Dublin, the mid-semester trip to Germany and Poland, and just day-to-day things of living on campus! Spontaneous catch-ups at the apartment, baileys hot chocolate nights, watching new episodes of Game of Thrones with friends - it really can be the little things.

Top tips

My top tips would be try and live on campus, go to as many events in the first few weeks as possible, try and meet some locals, take advantage of Ryanair, do St Paddy’s Day in Dublin, go on a Belfast Black Taxi tour, and go for a night out at Flannery’s!