University College Cork, Ireland: A lively city with a fascinating history. Past Review

By (Anthropology-Archaeology, Western Washington University) for

IFSA: Cork - University College Cork

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I would not trade my experiences. I was able to make great friends and I feel like I became much more independent while overseas. My studies at UCC have changed my academic plans for the future and distance from home gives you a great opportunity to think things through on your own.

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 Irish education system is much different than what you find in the U.S. There is far less busywork and for most of the classes I took, our grade is based solely on two large essays. This actually frees up a ton of time for you to travel and experience Ireland. Despite the lack of busywork, I felt like I learned more than I would have in many of my American classes. The archaeology departments is wonderful about catering to international students. The best option at University College Cork is the Early Start Archaeology class they offer the month before normal classes begin. This class gives you the opportunity to see amazing sites in Ireland through a few overnight field trips while also allowing you to make some close friends in a smaller setting. My study abroad experience would not have been as wonderful if I had not taken the Early Start Archaeology class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The international office at Cork was always very helpful and is easy to find. In my experience, the staff knew what they were doing and were able to help. IFSA-Butler staff were also very helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing provided was comfortable, but was very expensive. Compared to some of the other housing in the area, it was not a very good deal. Kitchen supplies were provided but sheets and cleaning supplies were not. Also, our apartment was not cleaned before we moved in and I spent much of the first few weeks living there running down to the front desk to replace broken or moldy kitchen supplies. Also, hot water is only available in the apartment in the mornings, otherwise you have to reheat the hot water heater. I find that ridiculous. Also, it would have been nice to have been housed with Irish students rather than other international students.

* Food:

There are lots of food options available in Cork City. I had a roommate who was vegetarian, and she had no trouble eating out. Another of my roommates was Muslim and she was able to find food which fit into her dietary restrictions as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There are a number of clubs and societies that you can join. Everyone I have talked to, and myself included, found that their study abroad experience was vastly improved once they joined a society. Societies will often take you on trips and introduce you to Irish people interested in the same things as yourself. Joining a society is one of the smartest moves you can make. Also, don't lock yourself in your room. There are a million things to see in Cork. If you find yourself sitting in your room doing nothing, take a walk. You will always find something to occupy your time (but bring an umbrella--even if it looks sunny!!!!)

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Cork is safe if you are smart about your personal safety. I heard about a few incidents that other students experienced, but these were often late at night when they were walking home by themselves. Although I would occasionally walk along main roads at night, I always felt better with a walking-buddy. Taxis are also readily available. Overall, Cork is a very nice and safe city.

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

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Early Start option
  • Classes
  • Clubs and societies
* What could be improved?
  • Interaction with Irish Students
  • More interaction with Erasmus students (besides living together)
  • More affordable housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Go out on a limb and talk to all different types of people. Do not let yourself be shy.