The best 5 months of my life. Hands down. Past Review

By (Providence College) - abroad from 01/04/2017 to 05/27/2017 with

Arcadia: Dublin - Trinity College Dublin

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?

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.

It really depends on the classes you're taking and how your home university accepts your abroad credits. If you just have to pass your classes to get credit, you won't have a very difficult time. However, if your grades are transferred directly it can be a bit more difficult. It is one of the best schools in Ireland so it's not going to be a total breeze. Make friends in your classes if you can and they will help you set expectations for how hard you need to work. The way they grade is different so don't freak out! The uncertainty can be terrifying if you let it, and freeing if you choose to accept it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

English department: When the papers are due you have to turn in a printed copy to the English Department office on the day it is due during business hours. This can become difficult if you are traveling or in class on that day. It takes a long time to get your marks back so try not to stress about that too much. If you ask the administration for help or have any questions they are good about answering but DO NOT EXPECT AN EXTENSION. You probably won't get it. Also, you do not ask your professor for an extension, so having a good relationship with your prof. guarantees you nothing. Zoology department: Not very well organized, but the people in the department are wonderful and kind and want to help you however you can. Marks take a long time to get returned, and professors don't always answer emails. But if you walk into the Zoology building and look for help, you will find it.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Great location, but a little far from trinity. However you're in a safe place and in the middle of a lot of good bars and restaurants and shopping. Just pray you get good, clean roommates.

* Food:

You're going to be cooking for yourself for every meal, so if you're not a chef then get ready. Eating out can be expensive but food from Lidl or Aldi is very affordable and good. If you want to save money, plan to cook for yourself for most meals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was lucky because I was able to meet Irish students and get a better feeling of what it is like to be Irish, however, a lot of people ended up a little isolated and didn't really interact with Ireland at all. make sure you travel, and try to be outgoing. You will make friends easily that way, and you'll fall in love with Ireland like I did. We did a homestay for a weekend and I was lucky because I had a great host family but some people were pretty disappointed with theirs so don't rely on your homestay to give you a taste of the culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no major health issues, so I had a great experience. If you get sick, you don't need an appointment with a doctor, you just go to the pharmacy and they will help you out. If you have a more serious illness and need to see a doctor this can get a little complicated. Arcadia sets you up with an HGH health plan so make sure you mail your receipts to HGH asap and you will get a refund.

* Safety:

If you've never lived in a city, Dublin can surprise you. There are homeless people, immigrants, and drunk people around so if you don't like engaging with new types of people then prepare to have an open mind. I never felt unsafe. Learn to accept the diversity of people living in Dublin and it will make your experience so much better. Also, (as a girl) men aren't too aggressive so if you say no to a guy at a bar or a club, you shouldn't be too worried, they will move on.

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)

My home school is in a city (Providence, Rhode Island) so living expenses were pretty similar to my home school. Living in a city was not cheap. The cost of housing and food are high. The experience is worth it, though. I saved up a lot of money before I went abroad and I used almost all of it. Also, you will find yourself paying more to live in Dublin than at home because there is no meal plan at Trinity. So prepare yourself for that. Don't eat out every night!!!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not sure
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook in your apartment, go to bars with student discounts, and don't go to pubs every single night. Alcohol is expensive in Ireland so getting a bottle of wine and relaxing with your flatmates will save you a lot more money than going to Coppers 3 times a week.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

The Pain of Unbelonging: Writing from Canada, South America, and Australasia

Course Department: English
Instructor: Melanie Otto
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my least favorite class. I felt like class discussions were poorly structured and it was the most boring 2 hours of my week. I loved the reading and Melanie was really helpful in guiding those reading but the class itself was pretty awful. And I am an English major at my home school so I've taken boring classes.
Credit Transfer Issues: There were 2 essays for the class, each worth 50% of your grade. I thought she was a fair marker but you still need to put in work for a good paper. Read the works critically and do some research on criticism while you're reading. It will make the papers easier to write.
Course Name/Rating:

Big House Literature

Course Department: English
Instructor: Paul Delaney
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I loved this class. Paul is always excited about the readings, kind, understanding, and very engaging during lecture. It is my favorite english course that I have ever taken, even over ones that I've taken at my home school in the U.S. However, if you don't like romantic literature (I'm talking about the genre) then don't take this. you'll find it really, really boring. All of the works are about the Irish Big house in the 19th and 20th century so it's a lot of love triangles among rich people. But if you love Jane Austen, stories about the world wars, and romance, you will love this class as much as I did.
Credit Transfer Issues: A very fair marker. Ask for help if you need it! And he is very lenient about essay topics; write about what you want to write about and he will probably love it. There was 1 paper due 20% of the grade and a final worth 80%. Work hard and you'll get good marks.
Course Name/Rating:

Wildlife Biology

Course Department: Zoology
Instructor: John Rochford
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The first half of the course is an hour of lectures three times a week. John is very energetic and a little crazy so the lectures can get interesting. The second half is a week-long field course in the Glendalough Valley where you learn field techniques. The work you do on the field course is worth 50% of your grade so don't slack off, but it was an absolute blast. I have never had the chance to work directly with wildlife at my home school in any way comparable to this. You also get to work with and meet other Irish students. That week was one of my favorite of my 5 months abroad, so I highly recommend this course. However, you will be living in a hostel for a week and it costs 200 extra euro to do the trip. Don't freak out -- it's worth it. The other 50% of your grade is a final exam which I thought was fair. Just study the lectures and lot and the past exams as well and you'll do great. And have some patience with John-- he doesn't really answer emails very well so if you have questions you will need to find him.
Credit Transfer Issues: I haven't gotten my marks back for this course, yet.
Course Name/Rating:

Environmental Oceanography and Marine Biology

Course Department: Zoology
Instructor: Jim Wilson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my hardest course at Trinity. Every week you have a presentation and then an hour of lecture. So you have to constantly be engaging with the material throughout the semester. However, you get to know Jim and the other students really well so it can be really fun. But, if you aren't prepared to study really hard for the final then don't take this. This class requires a lot of outside research and deals with serious questions about global warming and climate change, so you're going to have to be creative and really think critically. The final exam was really, really hard, and not very similar to exams from previous years. So know your material if you want to do well. The presentations were low stress and 5 minutes long, so if you aren't a great public speaker, not to worry. However, the bar is high as far as content goes for these presentation so make sure you put the work in. The final exam is worth 80% of your grade and is timed. You write 2 essays for it, so you can't bullshit your way through it.
Credit Transfer Issues: Haven't received my marks for this course yet, but I'm not expecting first marks. Hopefully my home school still accepts this course!