Maddison - University College Dublin

Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Engineering
Semester 1, 2018
Not only did I make friends from all over the world, I saw so many places during and after the semester that I never thought would be possible.

Academic experience

I studied 6 courses to attain the full time load equivalent for UQ. I studied Transport Phenomena, Process Control, (the equivalent of) Risk and Cell and Tissue Engineering, as well as 2 random electives which were Ireland Uncovered and Spanish for Beginners. The equivalent for Risk was a masters level subject and is undertaken mostly by mature aged students with industry experience so I felt a little lost at points but the lecturers there are so eager to help and so my issues were all quickly overcome. Spanish was really fun and I got to meet many people there, and Ireland Uncovered was very easy but a great insight into the history and present day activity of Ireland.

Personal experience

Not only did I make friends from all over the world, I saw so many places during and after the semester that I never thought would be possible. During the semester I managed to travel most weekends around Ireland and Europe with my new found friends which was an amazing experience. It's the best 6 months of your life, and it goes incredibly fast so you just have to make the most of it.

Accommodation

I lived on campus in the Ashfield residence. It was the best living on campus but it does come with an increased price. It is definitely far more expensive than the other houses but it is closer to the buildings, you get your own bathroom and the building is only a couple of years old so you get amazing hot water and all the appliances are basically brand new. I would definitely recommend living on campus! You become best friends with your room mates and there are yoga and pilates sessions during the week to help you relax.

Costs

(The prices I say are going to be in Australian dollars for simplicity) If you live on campus the only transport you need to worry about is if you plan on going out or heading into the city. A taxi home from the city costs around $50 and its only a 20min journey. I managed to do groceries on (roughly) $50 a week but I also meal prepped which made it a lot cheaper than going day to day. Campus accomodation for the semester is around $5000 to $7000 depending on the place, and if you're good at budgeting you could probably live off only $150 a week to go out and stuff. Travelling is cheap but you probably need about $500 for flights, accomodation and spending if you're going for the weekend. Overall I'd say depending how you live, could be about $10000 to $15000 all up

Professional Development

I am far more confident in myself now after doing this exchange. I was nervous that I'd be homesick or not fit in or just not like being in a different country. What happened in the end was the complete opposite of all of these things, I didn't really want to leave Dublin as I'd made so many amazing friends and set myself up there (although I was happy to go home in the end). I learnt more about myself and how to communicate with others who had a different background to me which will definitely help me in the future.

Highlight

I honestly can't pick one highlight. The whole semester is one giant highlight. Seeing the country, meeting people, getting to know my way around Dublin, hiking around Howth with my room mates, getting some very cheap late night/early morning flights with my friends, learning about people from around the world, having snowball fights and making snowmen, having girls nights with my room mates, introducing everyone to Tim Tams and vegemite, saying goodbye to everyone, crying both happy and sad tears about leaving. The list goes on.

Top tips

Do it. UCD is fantastic, welcoming, relatively political in all the right ways. The student union does whatever they want, including having speeches about current political issues or raising awareness for sexual health. It's the most welcoming, including and supportive university I've ever known. The lecturers are all so helpful and the on-campus support is amazing. The gym is free for students, they run excursions to places around Ireland. I could go on and on.