Maddy - University College Dublin

B Applied Science
Semester 1, 2015

Academic Experiences

I am a third year Applied Science Student and undertook 6 subjects while at UCD. I took two level four courses, one of which was online:

  • Wildlife management and conservation

and the other was a four week intensive course:

  • Future crops and food security

I struggled keeping up to date with the online course and its progressive assessment, but found the four week course very manageable. Both these courses however were not conducive for meeting other students. The other remaining courses included:

  • Earth, environment and society
  • Plant and animal genetics
  • Animal behaviour
  • Health and welfare
  • Discovering Ireland

My genetics course was the only one which had a practical and this allowed me to talk to other students which I enjoyed. Discovering Ireland was a fieldtrip based course and allowed you to meet other students while travelling around the Irish countryside. I enjoyed the different academic system as it allowed me to study more subjects but in less detail.

Personal Experiences

Exchange was the best five months of my life. I met the most amazing people, travelled to some beautiful countries (Iceland, Denmark, Croatia, Turkey, UK, Norway), and ate some delicious foods (Queen of tarts in temple bar- go there!).

Being in an unfamiliar environment, surrounded by strangers was a daunting experience. However, the situation makes you more outgoing and adventurous. I learnt a whole heap about myself from solo travelling which has only inspired me to do more in the future.  I did a road trip with my family around Ireland and travelled to Limerick, Dingle and Kilkenny. The highlight of this was definitely driving around the Dingle peninsula, it is unbelievably picturesque; highly recommend going!  We played pitch and putt in Doolin overlooking the Cliffs of Moher which was a lot of fun!


I lived on campus in Merville. I highly recommend this if you are on a tight budget but want the convenience of living on campus. I lived with three other girls and shared a kitchen, a living/dining room and two bathrooms. Living on campus allowed me to utilise the facilities UCD had to offer whenever I wanted, whether it was to go to the library or gym. Tesco does home delivery which is super convenient and cost effective.


I found Dublin quite expensive with regard to food and transport. I didn't budget at all while away and although I ran out of money at the end, it was a really fun and spontaneous! If I did exchange again however, I would prepare a weekly budget to have a rough idea of expenses. 

Academic Development and Employability 

Exchange has made me a far more time-efficient student and I am now able to complete assignments in far less time.
Transitioning to another academic system has proven my adaptability to new environments, a skill highly valued in the work place.


We were lucky enough to be in Dublin for St Patricks’ day. The parade was amazing and the amount of people that filled the streets was incredible. Everyone gets dressed up and it is a really great day!

Top Tips 

  • Join a sports team- I didn't and really regretted it. It would have been a great way to meet people! UCD has some crazy clubs as well, such as trampolining. 
  • Travel more during the semester- I only travelled during the two week break and at the end of the semester and really wish I had done some weekend trips. Ryanair is such an affordable airline and travels to some amazing places. 
  • If you have the option to choose courses that have practicals, I encourage you to do so, as your chance of meeting more people rapidly increases.