Mia - University College Dublin

B Social Science / Arts
Semester 2, 2022
Saying yes will allow you to make connections and friendships with people all over the world.


I was motivated to partiipate in a global experience as I have always been interested in traveling the world, and Europe in particular, and the exchange program gave me the opportunity to travel while undertaking my studies. I was also interested in the application of my degree in other countries and how different countries discuss and teach the social sciences, which I hoped would benefit me after my degree when entering a career.

Personal Development

I gained a lot through this experience and grew a lot as a person. I was quite a shy and quiet person prior to the experience. Being in another environment that required me to speak up and be more outgoing benefited me very positively and allowed me to become more outgoing and make more connections and friendships throughout my experience. I was able to explore Ireland quite in-depth while on exchange and got a taste of what it would be like to live there long-term. The Irish approach to the teaching of my degree and subjects was also quite different which enabled me to gain a new perspective and look at things a little differently than how I have in the past.

Academic Development

Academically there were some significant differences and challenges in terms of the assessment with there being fewer assessments however each was weighted quite significantly. I managed this quite well though by planning out my days and still had plenty of time to engage in activities and explore the country. A lot of my subjects also only had one lecture with no tutorial or workshops so a lot of the application of the learning had to be done alone at home, which I found different but not too difficult as lecturers were very accessible and helpful if I had any questions.

Professional Development

I have learned how to deal with issues as they come up and remain calm, rather than become stressed or upset and allow myself to get overwhelmed. Arriving in Ireland I got off the bus from the airport on what seemed to me like a random road with no sense of where I was, however, I was able to manage and remain calm while I identified where I was and where I needed to be. This was also the case when navigating the campus and my accommodation. As well as this I have also learned how different people and countries view different topics and learnt how to bring these different approaches together to create a deeper understanding of things while also respecting differing views and opinions which can be beneficial when communicating with people from different walks of life.


For costs, after paying for my on-campus accommodation which was $7000AUD, I had a budget of $10,000AUD, however, I found this to be plenty. Most of my expenses consisted of food and paying for tours and day trips of the country. The cost of food was a bit more expensive than at home, however, I managed to cook the majority of my own meals and did large grocery shops every couple of weeks to help me manage my spending rather than shopping every couple of days. For transportation, I purchased a leap card once I arrived in Ireland which enabled me to use the bus and trains around Ireland and I was able to top this up on my phone as needed. the bus fare was very cheap with most trips only costing 1 euro and the timetables were very regular, so I made use of that and bussed everywhere.


I received $7200AUD through an OS-help loan which I used towards paying for my accommodation on campus. With this loan, I was able to ensure I secured on-campus accommodation which was very important to me due to the housing crisis going on in Ireland, and without it, I might have not been able to partake in this experience.


On-campus accommodation was very important to me and I only applied to Universities that could provide this as I didn't want to struggle with trying to find somewhere to stay during my exchange while still in Australia. There was also a major housing crisis in Ireland so on-campus was really my only option within my budget due to the housing shortage. I shared an apartment on campus with 5 other students, who all happened to be exchange students which I found quite nice. I had my own room and bathroom and shared the kitchen and living room with my housemates. staying on campus allowed me to participate in more activities and get involved in campus life and also allowed me to make friends with those also staying on campus. While it might be a little more costly (my stay cost $7000AUD for the semester) I would definitely recommend staying on campus if you can so you can get the whole University experience wherever you are and ensure you make great connections.


The highlight of my experience was seeing the incredible sights of Ireland. I did plenty of tour-led day trips throughout the country that allowed me to learn about the country while seeing the beautiful sights it has to offer and making the most of my time there. Some highlights were definitely The Giants Causeway up in the north of Ireland, the Moher Cliffs over on the west, and Blarney Castle down south.

Advice/Top Tips

My top tip would be to make the most of your time on your experience and say yes to everything. Become involved in as many university societies and groups as you can and attend as many events and activities as you can. Saying yes will allow you to make connections and friendships with people all over the world and allow you to see the country and explore and experience a different lifestyle for a while.