Ireland: My True Home Past Review

By (Elementary Education & Psychology, University of Rhode Island) for

ISA Study Abroad in Dublin, Ireland

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was amazing... something I'll be talking about for the rest of my life. I have a completely different view of life- It fits the cliche of "I found myself" I am even considering moving to Ireland in my future.

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.

Obviously it is a very different system than America. Personally, having the majority of the class grade based on exam scores is something I have negative feelings about due to the fact that I am not such a good test-taker. However, because I left prior to exam time, I was given a writing assignment instead which better suited my preference. This made it possible for me to write my papers as soon as possible so that I could enjoy my time with friends. It also made it possible for me to skip classes as needed (not excessively) to travel and such. The negative side to the system is that class participation is non-existent which makes focusing much more difficult. I would have loved it more if lecturers had wandered from the classic lecture method.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was an international office that helped out a lot behind the scenes

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in an apartment on campus which had great accessibility to all of my classes and town- it was just a quick walk. It made night-time activities safer. Living with Irish students was perhaps the greatest part- I felt integrated rather than out of the loop. I am glad that I befriended more Irish and international students than Americans because that was my goal. Because I had brought a rubbermaid container with all my sheets, towels, etc, I did not need to buy much. All I needed were pillows for the couches, posters, and other accessories to add to the apt to make it feel homey, which worked out well.

* Food:

I did the shopping and cooking myself, as opposed to having a dinning plan like back here in the States. The town has an Aldi discount supermarket in town which I was familiar with- doing most of my shopping here definitely saved me a lot. However, when I craved an American brand name, it was really easy to go to Dunnes or Tesco and pick it up. Fast food was also readily available for those lazy nights.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Every weekend, the Irish students would go home and I would use the free time to travel. Interstudy had some great events for us as well- a trip to Cork was included. Also, the international society at NUIM held trips which were great fun. Overall, the biggest cultural difference was the fact that students go out on weeknights rather than weekends in Ireland.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Resident assistants were really helpful and the Guarda seemed to do their job safety-wise. I think this is because Ireland as a whole seemed safer. I myself did not get too sick and did not need to follow through with my program's health procedure so am not in the position to comment.

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

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Take the opportunity- it is life changing, the best college experience you can have. You'll get the most out of your experience if you truly integrate yourself.