Cork, Ireland Past Review

By (Art History/Anthropology, Fordham University) for

Arcadia: Cork - University College Cork

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience was definitely worthwhile. I picked up an additional major in Archaeology here, since the program was so strong, and I loved the classes so much. My experiences with the UCC Mountaineering Club really impacted me the most, as it provided me daily interaction with both local and international students, through which I have made lifelong friends. I have also developed a passion for hiking and climbing, which I fully intend on continuing to pursue once I return home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The work load is less than it is back at home. There is little to no required outside reading, and there is little continuous assessment. The level of difficulty of the assignments are about equal to those at home though, and they take equal amounts of effort. The grading system is hard to get used to, but I like the concept of 70+ being First Class Honours, and our equivalent of an A. It's actually very logical to assume that few people would get 100% on essays - if it's perfect, then it's worthy of being published. It made me try harder, since I wanted to get as high a score as possible, knowing that 100s are essentially unattainable. I miss the seminar classes, as well as the personal interaction with the teachers at Fordham, though. UCC is mainly lecture-based classes, and most often, the lecturer does not know your name.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Arcadia was very helpful in helping us adjust and live abroad. The orientation in Dublin before heading to Cork was a great introduction to the country and the culture. The free day trips and the cheap trip to Belfast were also fantastic opportunities. The program size was great, because it was small enough to know who everyone was, but still large enough to break off into smaller groups and choose your friends. Also, Arcadia was very helpful when I was in the hospital with appendicitis. They sent the Cork rep to come and see me, and the Dublin office checked in with me. They also were extremely helpful in speaking with UCC about rescheduling the exam that I missed while in the hospital.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I needed to buy sheets, comforter cover, towels, and cleaning supplies. For the most part, we had all the dishes we needed already provided for us. The internet was touch and go in the apartment, but was usually fixed within a week of complaint. The Deans Hall staff was not overly friendly, but were not outwardly rude either. It was wonderful having a single room, and only sharing a bathroom with one person.

* Food:

I cooked my own food in the flat, since going out to eat was very pricey. On campus, the food is a little cheaper since it's subsidized. Also, Lennox's is a great place to eat out - cheap and delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The archaeology program at UCC is fantastic. Each class has a mandatory field trip, and I got to see much more of Ireland on those trips, than I would have without them. The Early Start Program was especially good. We had three separate trips, and two of them were extended 2-3 days long. Arcadia's subsidized trip to Belfast was also amazing. I really enjoyed seeing the political murals, and the Giant's Causeway.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Cork is a very safe city to live in. The health care was easily accessible as well. I had appendicitis while in Cork, and my program responded very well. I went to an urgent care centre, which then sent me to the hospital where I was admitted. I then called my program and their Cork representative came to check in on me the next day. The health care system seems similar to what I have experienced back home, and I was happy with my experience at the Cork University Hospital.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Approximately 70-90 euros ($90-120), not including travel expenses on trips.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The exchange rate is not friendly towards Americans. Everything will be more expensive than back home.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Weekend Trips
  • Orientation
* What could be improved?
  • N/A
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Ireland is an amazing place to study abroad. The culture shock is not the same as it would be in a foreign language country, but it is not entirely absent. If you are someone who enjoys small city life, and easy access to nature (grassy fields, mountains), then this program is great for you. The student life here is also amazing - there are many clubs and societies that you can join, and the nightlife is quite active.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Viking Age Archaeology in Ireland and Britain

Course Department: AR3037
Instructor: John Sheehan
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class has a field trip to Dublin's National Museum to view many of the objects that we study in class, as well as a walking tour of relevant sites in Dublin. The lecturer is a fantastic speaker, and keeps you entertained, but also clearly expresses the information he expects you to know.
Credit Transfer Issues: