Sally - University College Dublin

B Commerce
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

While at UCD, I undertook a full time load of six courses. With only electives remaining for my degree, I took three Economics courses and three courses that covered various topics in Irish history and culture.  These modules were all very different to the courses I would have taken had I stayed at UQ, and I really enjoyed studying Economics and History from Irish and European perspectives.

Although six courses seems like a lot, I found the workload and assessment to be far more manageable than four at UQ, which was great in terms of making the most of my time on exchange.

Personal Experiences

My time at UCD was the highlight of my university experience. I gained many new skills from exchange, as well as wonderful new friends and a great sense of accomplishment. I also had a lot of fun.

I loved getting involved at UCD and making the most of my last semester of university, and I really did have the time of my life. While on exchange I did many things I never thought I would do, such as a five-day hike in the Scottish highlands, and high ropes and kayaking in Killarney.


I chose to live on campus at Roebuck Castle, which is a catered apartment-style residence. It is a little more expensive than the other residences, but this is only because it includes the cost of 12 catered meals per week. Although I would have been just as happy in a non-catered residence, I am so glad I chose to live at Roebuck Castle. Because the apartments are much bigger than the other residences, I got to live with 11 flatmates (rather than the 3-5 elsewhere).
Our flat was very social, so there was never a dull or lonely moment, and I now have great friends from many different places.

In general, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the on-campus residences. They each have positives and negatives, but they are all super convenient and well maintained. The security measures can be a little bit frustrating at times, but if you are respectful of the rules you will not have a problem.


A lot of people will tell you that Ireland is very expensive but I found daily expenses to be similar to Brisbane, and quite manageable.  The big items are definitely travel related, and the more you budget for this the better.  I think the most important thing is to actually have a budget, try to stick to it each week, and keep track of what you are spending. 

I probably spent a little over $15,000 AUD, with the largest expenses being accommodation and travel. This being said, exchange can easily be done for less than that and there is often funding available.

Academic Development and Employability 

My exchange experience has definitely influenced my future academic and employment aspirations. Although Ireland is an English-speaking country with a lot of similarities to Australia, there were still a lot of challenges and surprises that came with living somewhere new. The lessons I learnt and the skills I developed on exchange will be very useful, whether it be in continuing my studies, gaining employment, or in succeeding in the workforce in general.


It is impossible to single out one highlight from exchange.  Aside from travelling, some of my favourite memories of Dublin include playing for UCD in the Irish Netball Intervarsity competition, supporting Dublin and UCD in Gaelic Football and Rugby games, and celebrating Australia Day and St Patrick’s Day with new friends.

Top Tips 

  1. Go to the meet and greets organised by UQ Abroad and connect with people going to your university. I met a great group of people from UQ, and without them my exchange would not have been the same. 
  2. Join some of the clubs and societies available. I would definitely recommend playing a sport as it really helps you feel a part of the community. I would also recommend the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and/or the International Students’ Society. Add them on Facebook to find out about their trips and events.
  3. Go and see Hurling and Gaelic Football played live. The Gaelic athletes are incredible, and you only have to buy one ticket to see a game of each. It’s a truly Irish experience.
  4. Make sure to get out and about in Dublin. UCD is not as close to the city centre as Trinity, and the campus is very well equipped, so it can be tempting to stick to the college area. Your exchange will really fly, so make sure you discover all that Dublin has to offer before it’s time to come home.