I learned how to live on my own. Past Review

By (PSYCHOLOGY., Providence College) for

IFSA: Dublin - University College Dublin

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to be independent.

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.

The workload was as heavy or light as you wanted it to be, since you chose the majority of the readings. The grading system is slightly more rigorous, and performance is only assessed once or twice, rather than through continuous exams. Most of my classes were graded based on one paper (30-40%), seminar attendance/participation (10%) and a final exam (60%). The plus side to this was that I wasn't constantly stressed the entire semester. Instead, I could take it easy and travel and then just cram everything the night before. It also allows you to skip material you don't find interesting. The University also provided past examination questions for most of my finals (e.g. The past two years' essay prompts), which was extremely helpful in narrowing down what to study. The downside to this is that you don't really know what your grade is and if you do poorly on the essay, there's no chance to improve--you just have to do well on the final.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The team at IFSA-Butler were extremely knowledgeable about any questions we had, from what classes would be like, to where we could buy a cheap mobile phone.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an on-campus apartment in the Merville housing complex. There were four single rooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room. The rooms were adequate, with a desk, chair, and sort of a closet (shelves and a bar for hangers). We were provided with a pillow and duvet, but had to bring our own sheets. IFSA-Butler arranged housing for us. The apartment sometimes seemed dingy, as it was one of the older houses. The stovetop was disgusting, with stains around the burners. The sink leaked/dripped unless it was shut off VERY tightly. Couches in the common room were uncomfortable. However, it was useful that the apartment was so close to my classes and I didn't have to commute. We had to provide all of our own cookware.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Safety:

I always felt very safe at UCD, and even in Dublin. On campus, the gates close by 10:)0 pm and you need an ID to enter, which made me feel very secure. Our houses were locked, as were our apartments, and even our individual rooms had their own locks.

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)

Dublin is a very expensive city and costs add up quickly.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Depending on whether I was travelling or not, it probably averaged around 60 euro.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Watch how often you buy food at the convenience store, it's a lot more expensive than a cheap grocery store like Tesco.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The IFSA-Butler staff was extremely helpful
  • The weekend trips we did (Northern Ireland & Killary Adventure Centre) were highlights of my trip.
* What could be improved?
  • They could provide more information ahead of time about basic living things like cell phones and grocery stores.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Travelling by yourself isn't as scary as you'd think. If you put in just a little more effort, people will probably open up to you--most people are always looking for new friends. Even though you're trying to save money, it's worth it to go out and spend the money for a night downtown to make friends.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Folklore and the Imagination

Course Department: IRFL10020
Instructor: Kelly Fitzgerald
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I really didn't know what to make of the class. Kelly had no direction in her unorganized lectures, which often made it difficult to parse out what was relevant/necessary for the paper/exam. Students were required to keep a Belief Journal in which we recorded various beliefs of people we interviewed. We then had to turn this journal into an essay based on background research/reading. Thank god for our tutor Jonny Dillon, who actually gave us some clear-cut ideas about what folklore is and how we should approach the journal and essay.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Australian History: Survey

Course Department: HIS20810
Instructor: Hamish Maxwell Stewart
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was amazing. The course covered the basic history of Australia, with particular attention paid to the role of Aborigines. The professor was phenomenal; a great lecturer and very involved in engaging students in seminar. Class met once a week for lecture and once for seminar. There were 2-3 assigned chapters for the seminar, which were available on Blackboard. Each week 2-3 students were required to lead discussion. By far one of my favorite classes, not only at UCD, but during my entire college career.
Credit Transfer Issues: I don't think there are any credit transfer issues. But, because each course only counts for 2.5 credits at home, I did have to take 6 courses.
Course Name/Rating:

Advanced Social Psychology

Course Department: PSY30140
Instructor: Mick O'Connell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The class was pretty standard; lectures delivered from a Powerpoint. Mick was really knowledgeable about the material, but his presentations were somewhat boring and he often read straight from the slides. This made me not want to go to class, since he also posted all of his Powerpoints on Blackboard. We had one paper, which he grades pretty fairly, and one final exam.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Ireland Uncovered

Course Department: IRFL30150
Instructor: Eoin Kinsella
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course met once a week for two hours, alternating between two lectures one week, and a lecture and seminar the following week. Each lecture covered a different topic of Irish history/culture (The Famine, the banshee, Irish language, Penal laws, etc) and therefore each lecture was delivered by a different lecturer. Before each seminar we were required to e-mail our tutor with responses to questions regarding the three previous lectures. The final exam was MCQ and pretty easy, as it was based only on documents uploaded on Blackboard, not lectures. There was a field trip component which touched on 10 important places in Dublin (Trinity College, O'Connell Statue, Garden of Remembrance, GPO, etc). Students were assigned a monument/place to research and then gave a short presentation as we travelled around the city. It was an interesting way to learn about various things and an easy way to get participation points.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Fortunes of Celtic Languages

Course Department: CCIV
Instructor: Dewi Evans
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course wasn't terribly challenging, but was extremely interesting. It traced the history of the six major celtic languages and was team-taught by two professors who were a couple of my favorite professors that I've ever had at University. Both teachers were extremely knowledgeable. Our Gaelic languages teacher Diarmuid often brought copies of his typed notes for us, which was very helpful. Dewi often brought maps or other prompts to help us.
Credit Transfer Issues: