"Ireland Truly is the Land of 'A Thousand Welcomes'" Past Review

By (Psychology, The Catholic University of America) for

Arcadia: Cork - University College Cork

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was so scared to study abroad because I get extremely homesick. Adjusting to my home school (Catholic University) was a nightmare for me freshman year of college, but this experience abroad was different. I met kids who were more like me in my Arcadia program, and I was able to have a fun, adventurous semester. I worked hard at school, but I did not need to torture myself to get the absolute best grades. It was an overall absolutely incredible, priceless experience. I saw some of the most beautiful wonders of the world, and I was able to travel throughout Europe. I am officially a world traveler now, with twice as many friends, from all over the globe!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I liked the academics because it was challenging, but not as stressful as school is at home. The professors were very tolerant and understanding. The classes were all primarily made up of midterms and final exams. I did not have to do a paper or project every single week, so I had free time to explore Ireland and learn about the Irish culture. I thought this was really important.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had an orientation for students studying abroad as soon as we got to Cork. They told us all about the school, and the schools many different activities. The student government also spoke, and the president gave us his phone number in case we had any questions about school. They answered our calls and texts immediately.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I always felt safe in our neighborhood. The apartments were a little bit dreary, but they were very spacious and we had our own bedrooms. Also, there as a door that closed to the common room, so if people in the common room were loud, I wouldn't be able to hear them when the door was shut. Laundry, however, was very expensive. It would cost be about $10 (about 7 euro) every time I wanted to do laundry.

* Food:

The food markets and the English market (a meat and produce market) were within walking distance. The food was always good and fresh, and I could pick up extra food whenever I needed it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved when Arcadia took us to these really old caves. They also took us to some neat casles. I also did a trip through the university's student associaton. We went to an area outside of Galway and we stayed in little cottages on the water. We went to the Aran Islands, and saw the Dun Angus cliffs. Those trips were some of the most amazing trips I have ever gone on in my life.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I would say, when walking, always try to walk with somebody else. However, there was never a time I didn't feel safe in Cork. It's a small city, and there were always plenty of students around. However, people did get rowdy after nights of drinking, so it is always better to be with someone you know (which I always was). I never had any major issues with healthcare, so I am not sure how good the healthcare was. I did hear of friends who had to wait weeks for the medical staff on campus to have appointments. I did not need any specific vaccines (other than what I get for my school at home).

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? I spent a lot of money because the exchange rate was so bad most of the time I was there. I also had saved specifically so that I wouldn't have to worry about money while I was abroad. I would say I spent about $5,000 or possibly a little more while I was away -- that included all food, travel expenses, money to go out to pubs, etc. However, I also traveled all over Europe and Ireland: I traveled to London, Belgium, Amsterdam, France, Spain, and Italy -- and still only spent about $5,000 the entire semester.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Laundry is a big expense, so be prepared to pay a lot for laundry if you want your clothes to be clean. Also, just be prepared by checking the exchange rate. Everything was more expensive in Europe when I was there because the dollar was doing so poorly.


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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Someone who works extremely hard at school at home, and needs a semester that is not as academically rigorous: where you can learn and have a lot of fun without having to worry so much about getting good grades. Also, if you love history, there are so many historical places to visit -- castles are just about everywhere you turn. Also, if you appreciate a beautiful scene or landscape, Ireland is the place to go!