Mind-Opening Transformation in Ireland Past Review

By (Philosophy/Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin) for

Arcadia: Dublin - Dublin Parliamentary Internship

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a number of things from this experience. In fact, here is a little something I wrote about my experience that pretty much sums it up: I gained an amazing internship experience with an amazing boss. I gained great friends that I am staying in touch with now. I gained a new perspective on life as a whole- which is probably what has driven me to travel more, meet more people and be more open. So, I would have to say that what I gained the most in this study abroad experience was the fact that my whole perspective in life and on life has changed...completely. I now feel that life is meant to be enjoyed and that enjoyment should be because you are living life to the fullest. I see a new meaning to the quote: live life with no regrets. There is new meaning and a new outlook on life as a whole now. Nothing can change that anymore. There is no turning back. And, I don't mean to sound poetic, or sappy, but I really feel that I have learned what it is like to fully submerge yourself into a completely new culture, with a completely new people in a completely new country. I hope and aspire to do this again and again and again. Adventure, experience, living is what life is meant for. We can't waste that opportunity! :D I think I have pretty much summed up my feelings on study abroad in the previous responses. But I will add this: I am so happy that I did this study abroad experience. I remember when I was at one point just considering the option of studying abroad. I didn't think I was actually going to see it through. And, one day I stumble on the Dublin Parliamentary Internship program and realize that I have the chance and opportunity to intern in the government of a new country: Ireland! I took that chance and grabbed that opportunity and before I knew it: I was on the plane to this new foreign land to live and work there for 4 months. If I could, I would do this again in a second! I am so happy I did this and I cannot imagine a better way to have spent the Fall semester of the year 2011. You are now speaking to a changed woman.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Institute of Public Administration
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academically, I was very satisfied and content with each of my professors. Although there were quite a number of differences, such as the speed that the class is taught, the style that it is taught in and the style of grading- there were also quite a number of similarities. There were only 2 tests: the Midterm and the Final (which were both in paper format) and there was also a required research paper for each course. This isn't completely different from many American classes- but as stated earlier the difference lied more in the style of teaching rather than the class structure itself. Then again, the difference can be a factor of the fact that this Institute was intended for post-grad students and professionals. The class began right when the professor started talking. Of course, there was always a welcome to class greeting, but we were never given a head start to the beginning of lecture exactly. Also I must take note on their specific vocabulary use- they use many different words than we do- which wasn't a bad thing. They were always very advanced words in the American vocabulary context- which I personally appreciated. Overall though, I learned an amazing amount on Irish history and literature. And, even more so, on the Irish economy and political system- both domestic and internationally in the EU. I have come back with an insurmountable knowledge on the European context of politics and the economy.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very accessible and easy to reach. Also, when I did communicate to them any questions or concerns that I had throughout the semester- they were always very responsive and quick to make sure that I had everything I needed. My expectations were beyond met. This was a phenomenal program!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived with a host family for one weekend- just to get to experience Irish lifestyle for a little bit. My host family in specific were amazing and I can say that I still am very much in touch with them! We were housed in an apartment for the duration of the program. And, everything was provided except for the sheets to the bed. It was a great living arrangement that definitely exceeded my expectations.

* Food:

It was fine.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

To be honest, I don't know where to start with this. I will mention a couple of my most memorable events. Our program took us on a field trip to Belfast in North Ireland. And that was amazing! I really got to know other students from other Universities that were also in Arcadia. And, I also got to learn a lot about the history between North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. And, I also got to see the Giant's Causeway which was really great! A natural phenomenon! Another great experience I had was when I went to the Wicklow National Park- MINDBLOWING! The visual I have of those rolling green mountains, beautiful white waterfalls, and green fluffy grass remains with me. That was the most beautiful landscape I had ever seen in my life. It was a dream.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The program ensured that we were not only well informed but they also covered us with a health insurance.

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)

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
  • Apartment
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The staff and their openness
  • The information and preparation they set you up with
  • The independence they gave you
* What could be improved?
  • Information on more volunteer opportunities
  • Information on different pubs
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would tell them to "Go for It!" This program is amazing in every way. The staff is so helpful, welcoming and excited and most of all you know that you can always go to them with any questions or concerns you may have. My piece of advice though is for you to really open your mind to the experience you're about to embark upon. This internship program is more than just an experience to put on your resume, it is an experience that will really open you to the professional and political world of a new and different country. I think the best way for you to leave this program with the most that you can, is for you to step out of your comfort zone so you can fully immerse yourself in the culture, the life and the experience that is at hand. Also, don't be afraid to travel! It's very easy and amazing to do! Further, I think the student that would gain the most from this program is a student that already has the above qualities mentioned: open-minded, adventurous, sincere, and not scared to step out of their comfort zone. Also a student that can really appreciate this experience as an opportunity of a lifetime rather than just another internship to put on their resume. How much wil you appreciate this opportunity you have to intern in the Parliament? It is a life-changing experience- if you let it be.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Irish Literature

Course Department: Literature
Instructor: O'Brien
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was an amazing course! I not only learned a lot about Irish literature but I learned alot about literature in general. I have developed a new sense of what literature appreciation really is all about. It is a beautiful art.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Irish History

Course Department: History
Instructor: Feeney
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was very knowledgeable and well-prepared. I participated in class as often as I do in my home institution.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Irish Economy and Politics

Course Department: Government
Instructor: Mulreany
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I really enjoyed this course because it gave me an extensive amount of knowledge and breadth on the Economic crisis not only in Ireland but in the EU. I also learned the details of the Irish Political system.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Internship
Instructor: Deputy Ciaran Lynch
Instruction Language: English
Comments: As stated above in my internship experience- this was an amazing experience in every sense of the word and more!
Credit Transfer Issues: I am still working on getting credit for this internship.