Pallavi - University College Dublin

B Engineering/Arts
Semester 1, 2019
It turned out to be everything I wanted and more – do not hesitate to apply!

Academic experience

At UCD you must take six courses, however as I had troubles finding courses that didn’t clash with each other, I applied for a reduced load and undertook five courses. I found most of my courses using the UQ Credit Precedent system, so my courses had been pre approved for credit transfer. Unfortunately many of my course schedules clashed with each other and as UCD doesn’t record lectures, I was unable to enrol into some of the courses I wanted to take. In the end there were only three courses I was able to enrol in for UQ course credit – PSY30140 (Advanced Social Psychology), PSY30290 (Applied Health Psychology) and MEEN40430 (Professional Engineering Management). I also took two exchange electives, which were created for exchange students – ARCH20170 (Discovering Ireland: Landscape) and IRST30150 (Ireland Uncovered). I definitely recommend making sure you have heaps of options for courses to enrol into, in case you end up having clashes like I did.

Despite having more courses, the workload is much easier at UCD and a passing grade is only 40% for most courses. However UCD assessment guidelines are a lot less structured than UQ courses, which took some getting used to, and the lack of tutorials means that the work is very self-guided – which is something to be prepared for.

Personal experience

Exchange was above and beyond what I could have ever expected. Connections are formed fast, and I was pleasantly surprised by how close I formed friendships in such a short amount of time. I was lucky enough to be able to travel during and after semester with the friends I made on exchange, and I know I will cherish the memories and connections we made for life.


I lived on campus, in student residences and it was one of my best decisions! I lived at Merville, and shared an apartment with three other students. Merville is one of the cheaper accommodation options, as you share a kitchen and two bathrooms with your housemates, but this was totally manageable and did not take away from the experience at all.

I definitely recommend living on campus – it really enriches the social experience and it was a nice change to not to have to commute ages to class every day. UCD feels like a mini town – on campus there was a gym, a convenience store, a bar and cafes, and you’re constantly surrounded by heaps of other exchange and Irish students! Being at Merville was great, as it was a hub of activity – we were right next to the convenience store and the main bus stop, so people were always coming and going. On campus accommodation was in high demand, so you have to be vigilant to secure it. I recommend trying to find a few people who are also attending UCD in your semester (the UQ Abroad Facebook page is a good way to find people!) and starting a group chat with them so you can discuss and share information pertaining accommodation.


Dublin was surprisingly one of the more expensive European cities. My two biggest costs were probably accommodation and travel – however I travelled a lot after semester, so this will vary with how much travel you choose to undertake.  Accommodation was my most expensive cost, at around $6000 - $7000. Even though Dublin is expensive, it’s possible to keep costs low by budgeting and shopping at Aldi and Lidl, and cooking at home whenever possible. The university societies also hold heaps of events with free food, so get around those whenever possible. For going out, I recommend downloading the apps ‘Guestlist’ and ‘Vipsy’, which will allow you to get into certain places for free, or for a reduced price, on different days. If you do not possess a European passport, then be sure to budget for your student visa, which was €300 (around $480 AUD). Be aware that the houses do not include pots, pans or kitchenware, so the first month can be expensive, as you have to buy this. Be sure to arrange shopping trips with your housemates so you can share as many kitchenware/utensils as possible.

I kept travel costs low by taking advantage of Ryanair deals whenever possible (some deals I scored included $50 round trip tickets to Scotland and a $18 flight to Toulouse), staying in hostels and travelling by Flixbus when in continental Europe. I definitely recommend exploring Eastern Europe if possible, as your money will go further there.


The process of organising exchange was one of the biggest challenges for me. As I am doing a dual degree I had to liaise with both the EAIT and HASS faculty to organise my study plan, so waiting for their responses was a bit stressful. I also had to change around subjects in my degree in preparation, to ensure I would have enough electives available. However, exchange was definitely worth all the work and preparation involved, so don’t let this deter you!

Professional Development

Being thrown into a totally unfamiliar environment without knowing anybody meant that I had to learn to adapt quickly and make friends fast. As a result I feel more independent, more equipped to handle unpredictable situations and more confident in my ability to connect with different people from all walks of life. Additionally, the process of planning exchange and travel really exercised my organisational and time management skills, which are so important both personally and professionally.


Everyone says this but it’s genuinely so hard to pick a highlight, as the whole six months were incredible! I travelled a lot around Europe, and it was pretty surreal to be able to hop on a bus for a few hours and get off in a different country. 
•    Spending St Paddy’s Day in Dublin
•    Nights in with the gang; when we had wine and cheese or hot chocolate and UNO nights
•    Spontaneously deciding to go Odette perform in Dublin

Top tips

•    Make sure you make the most of all the events the university runs in the first couple of weeks, as it’s a great opportunity to make friends! That being said, make sure to take care of yourself, and don’t be afraid to have some chilled nights in as well.
•    Try and get Fridays or Mondays off – 3 day weekend = more time for travel!
•    Get an account with Citibank – it’s free and there are no international transaction fees, no account fees and no ATM fees. Organise this early though as you have to wait a bit for them to send you the card. 
•    If you’re not a beer drinker, but determined to be able to finish a pint a Guinness before you leave, then train yourself by putting a splash of Ribena in it until you get used to it and can finish it alone.
•    Don’t pack too much – you accumulate so much stuff there (shopping in Europe is way better).
•    Exchange goes so fast, so make sure you leave time to explore Ireland – it’s a beautiful country, so make the most of it!