Living in Cork Past Review

By (History and Politics, Austin College) - abroad from 08/12/2013 to 12/14/2013 with

IFSA: Cork - University College Cork

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was a bad choice for my personal circumstances and preferences.

Personal Information

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.

Professors are pleasant and very intelligent, but most Irish students have figured out that it's possible to pass without attending a single class, which is discouraging if you arrive expecting a rigorous environment. The final course load can be very large, but the standards for work seem pretty low. Making good grades is not hard.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We were basically on our own for registration which was VERY stressful since the book of modules is not finalized until some time in the first or second week of the term. Beyond that, however, I did receive plenty of support from student health, counseling, and departmental advisors when I began having trouble for personal reasons.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

University Hall is a very easy walk to the main campus, and about a half hour walk from city centre. The kitchen came stocked with dishes, pans, silverware, etc, which was nice. Our particular apartment had serious problems getting wifi, however, and that issue was never fully resolved, despite our efforts to get assistance (one of my roommates could never get wifi in the apartment except on her phone during our whole stay). Wardens and maintenance staff can (and do) enter the apartments whenever they want, which can be kind of alarming and inconvenient. These people were always courteous, but it was still strange.

* Food:

My roommates and I tended to cook our own meals in the apartment. Eating out in Cork can be really tasty, but a bit pricey on a student budget. The English Market has some great food for reasonable prices if you want a treat, but buying groceries and cooking for yourself is the cheapest option.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

If you like to go out to pubs, bars, or clubs, you'll probably feel integrated pretty quickly; if not, you're out of luck. I don't like to go to those places, and even when I joined academic societies (which I recommend) to find people with similar interests, most of their post-meeting hangouts were in bars or pubs. It was a drag, and only conducive to specific interests.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The first time I went to the student health centre I did not have an appointment and I waited for no more than 70 minutes, probably- not bad. The doctor was very pleasant and helpful, and took my concerns seriously. When I began counseling, however, there were long waits between available appointments, and each appointment I had was with a different staff member, so the mental health experience was a bit inconsistent. They seem rather understaffed for mental health, but that department is also very pleasant and understanding. Both the medical and mental health departments gave me letters for instructors and talked me through the process of getting accommodations with departments when my health interrupted my studies.

* Safety:

Cork is relatively safe, and I never heard of anyone being assaulted or robbed (though I'm sure it must happen sometimes, as with any city), but street harassment of women is pretty horrible in Cork. Women are shouted at, honked at, groped in clubs, etc. I was walking home from work once and a car of men pulled up next to me and sprayed me with a water gun, just to insult and humiliate me.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Cooking for yourself helps keep costs down, as does budgeting for alcohol and nights out. Those are the areas in which my friends most frequently ran into trouble- buying drinks out. Pregame before going out and you'll come home with much more money than you might otherwise. The bus is reasonable, and so are taxis when you need them.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Between 35 and 50 euro on a regular week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat in, split cabs with friends (or walk!!), plan international trips far in advance because airfare increases quickly.


* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Nice professors
  • Very walkable city
* What could be improved?
  • Internet availability
  • Registration process and advising
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I chose to study abroad at a time that was not good for me, and I also should have been in a place with more sunlight.