Daisy - University College Dublin

B Laws (Honours) / B Arts
Semester 1, 2023
Nothing quite beats jumping on a 6 am Ryanair flight to another country with your mates for the long weekends!


My motivation to undertake an exchange stems from my love for travel. I understood an exchange in Dublin not only as a means to develop academically and professionally but also personally through travel. Dublin was great for this - Europe is incredibly interconnected and cheap Ryanair flights allowed me to see a lot of this incredible part of the world!

Personal Development

Being on exchange thrust me into a completely novel environment: a new university, new people, a new country and a new continent at that! Naturally, this brings with it a lot of challenges and growth. I believe my exchange has bolstered my interpersonal skills, instilled me with new-found confidence (because if you can navigate Albania without Wifi and without speaking the language, what can't you do!) and has fostered greater wanderlust.

Academic Development

While UCD offered some incredibly interesting courses that are not available at UQ, undertaking law at a different university left me appreciating UQ law more than ever. I was challenged by the lack of structure, rubric, and consistency inherent in many of the UCD law courses. For example, one course (Sports Law) featured four guest lecturers who each taught one module. While this was a fantastic way to learn from industry experts, it had serious shortcomings. One of the lecturers refused to provide lecture slides, record the lectures and respond to any emails (expressly stating she would not receive questions), instead referring us to the course coordinator. Unfortunately, the course coordinator was on holiday for four weeks during the term, so we had no point of contact for that module. Beyond this, students from other universities in Australia studying law were only required to do four subjects instead of six. This reduced workload and schedule would have allowed me to experience more of Ireland, get more involved in university clubs and put more time into my chosen subjects. Rather, I felt as though I left with a relatively surface-level understanding of the six subjects I undertook.

Professional Development

Doing an exchange has improved my interpersonal skills, confidence, problem-solving skills and flexibility. Studying in Dublin allowed me to develop relationships with people from all over the world, interact within different cultures and work on my networking skills. These skills are integral in workplaces that should foster diversity and collaboration. A corollary of exchange is being in situations that may be beyond your comfort zone. While this felt uncomfortable at the time, I have come away from the exchange with increased confidence in my ability to problem-solve and navigate new/difficult situations in a way that aligns with my personal values and beliefs.


Budgeting is simply a MUST on exchange! I initially found myself in an exchange trance and tapped my card for every Ryanair flight and Ireland day trip. While I don't regret any of these experiences, the trance was short-lived. Ireland is incredibly expensive. My flights were roughly $2,100 into London from Sydney, and accommodation on campus was over $7,000 with an additional refundable bond of about $1,300. I took roughly $15,000 AUD to spend and found that this was a good amount of money. This may seem like a lot, but I did travel before and after the exchange (16 countries in total!) My overall advice would be to seek out the cheaper options! Shop at Aldi instead of Tesco and Centra, book your Europe flights and hostels early and socialise outside of the Temple Bar District! Hop onto a student Leap Card early to save your money on the 39A buses (which will absolutely become your best friend), and try to eat from home as much as you can.


The funding received was a lifesaver. I immediately applied the government loan to my accommodation costs, and it was a huge relief to have this expense out of the way early on! The UQ grant was also hugely beneficial. I used this money on my day-to-day expenses and travel to a few different countries. My experience was infinitely enriched as a result of the funding.


The UCD website contains a super thorough explanation of all the accommodation options available. I stayed in Belgrove student residences, self-contained flats on campus that housed four students each. I was lucky to share a flat with three people from different countries, which made for interesting shared dinners and discussions surrounding our cultures and home universities. The set-up of Belgrove lent itself to a great social scene: all of my friends were a 30-second walk from my flat, and the central quads were a great spot to eat dinner together, throw a ball around and have social 'brain breaks' from our study! Belgrove has a laundromat, a hairdresser/nail salon and a food court (although, definitely try to avoid shopping at Centra if you can budget-wise). My classes and the gym (which was free for student use), were 10 minutes walking distance of Belgrove. In respect of downfalls, Belgrove flats do not have ovens, each bathroom is shared by two, the rooms are relatively shoe-box-like, and the fire alarms appeared to go off at an almost comedically frequent rate. That being said, Belgrove struck the perfect balance between being the (more) cost-effective option while being close to the city (15-minute drive, 45 by bus) and incredibly social.


While running the risk of sounding like a walking cliche, the people I met were the highlight of my exchange. I made friends I will treasure for life and shared incredible experiences with them all over Europe. Beyond this, the Dublin locals themselves are fantastic. Shop owners, restaurant staff and bartenders (and goers) were always happy to indulge us with their unique Irish humour, tips to enjoy their country and tidbits of life advice! Beyond the people, living in Europe itself was simply amazing. Nothing quite beats jumping on a 6 am Ryanair flight to another country with your mates for the long weekends!

Advice/Top Tips

DO IT. Exchange is personally, academically and emotionally challenging, but it will reward you with memories and friends for life! Dive into the university and city culture, road trip around Ireland (the West Coast is breathtaking), learn to love Guinness and fully immerse yourself in the Irish Craic!