Nathan - University College Dublin

B Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

At UCD I studied both in my field of health but also in others. I studied Sensory Analysis, Optimization of Human Performance, Sport Psychology, Theory of Coaching, Physics and Astronomy. The lecture and practical format at UCD is very similar to UQ. The teaching staff are of high quality and facilities are likewise. Variations include the sign up process, where after providing your preferences to the university you have to meet with an advisor at UCD in O Week to sort out any clashes etc. Although a full time load at UCD is 6 courses the workload is equivalent to that at UQ. I would definitely recommend choosing a few courses outside your field if allowed.

Personal Experience

Exchange is a life changing experience. The perspective gained through living life in another country and meeting amazing people from all over the globe is incredible. On exchange I made lifelong friendships and had the opportunity to travel all across Europe and Africa and experience a wide range of cultures and ways of life. These places included Budapest, Prague, Barcelona, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Lisbon, Italy and Morocco. All of these I highly recommend. In Ireland itself there is so much to do and see. The night life is unreal, being a super friendly and high energy atmosphere. Around Ireland there are tons of cool experiences to be had from cliff jumping into the Irish sea to having a tour of the famous Guinness factory.

Accommodation

I lived on-campus at UCD in the Merville Residences. My experience on campus was incredible. From my knowledge all on-campus Residences were similar in terms of social events and activities, the only differences being in the number of people in the apartments and the bathrooms. The 'ResLife' events were a great way to get out and experience Ireland and to meet people (definitely check out the facebook page). When accomodation selection comes around make sure you have a list of your preferences because you wont be offered all residences.

Budget

Expenses are quite variable depending on the amount of travelling you wish to do. Rent and food whilst living on campus is easy to calculate and somewhat constant. Travel expenses includes flights, accommodation, food and tour costs. Flights bought through RyanAir can be very cheap (15 Euro return) if bought at the right time. However, if like me you want to book things last minute (spontaneous) and want more flexibility in when you travel prices are usually around 100 euro return. Accommodation obviously varies, either get an AirBnB if travelling with a group or hostels if alone (these are only around 15-20 euro pn).

  • Accommodation - $6000
  • Flights - $2000
  • Extra travel - $4000

Professional Development & Employability 

Professional development comes without effort or focus on it specifically whilst on exchange. The major takeaway from exchange in this regard is Resilience. Resilience against adversary and things going not so much to plan is a great skill to have developed. Problem solving and decisions making where also key skills developed.

Highlights 

The highlight of this experience was to become so deeply immersed in the unknown to a point where I let go of any resistance and was able to be truly authentic. 

Exchange allowed for purely authentic self expression and the freedom to be who I wanted to be. In doing so the quality of friendships I made exceeded any expectation, without hesitation I would say friends for life.

Top Tips

Don't second guess yourself, you are interested in exchange (or you wouldn't be reading this), don't let anything or anyone stop you from having this once in a lifetime experience. Even if you have no idea what you're doing, that's the point, you'll figure it out. 

The person you will become will thank you immensely.

Do it!! Good luck and enjoy!