Cold never bothered me anyway! Past Review

By (English Writing, Frostburg State University) - abroad from 09/10/2013 to 01/09/2014 with

ISEP Exchange: Northern Ireland - Exchange Program at Ulster University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Cooking, dressing warmly, walking... My first bar and club experiences! (Ireland has wonderful bars.) Definitely worth it.

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 system was very different from what I'm used to. The UK had fewer, longer classes and fewer, much longer assignments. My fellow students also seemed rather unmotivated, which didn't help my own motivation.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Nerys is great! Talk to her! Bring her cookies! Ask her about places to see in Belfast. Tell her "hi" from Ruth.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Errigal. The new kitchens are fantastic. I just wish my roommates had kept ours a bit cleaner... I'm very glad ISEP provides students with sheets and duvets. I loved my duvet and was extremely happy to have it that first night.

* Food:

There's a canteen that's open around lunch on weekdays, but other than that, students cook for themselves. It's a good learning experience, and produce is so fresh in Ireland! Wonderful cheeses, and eggs with rich golden yolks like I've never seen before.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were plenty of events at first, but they died off as the semester continued. The Residence Office planned trips occasionally that went very well. Go to the Christian Union (UUCCU)'s iCafe nights. There's no religious preaching or anything, and it's the best way to meet locals and other internationals. Also, if you're up for a nice 20 minute walk, the Diamond area in Coleraine town is a great hub of shops and cafes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

A friend of mine, an American I met at Coleraine, fell into a horrible panic attack a few weeks from end of term. There was absolutely no psychotheraputic help to be found, and every doctor we talked to gave her some pills at best and said to go home. We tried a local hotline that actually made it worse. I never had to use the healthcare system myself, but the clinic the Internationals signed up with seemed a bit disorganized.

* Safety:

The campus is so paranoid about safety, it's unsafe. The dorm fire alarms must've gone off near twice a week, at all hours and in all weather. Once it was for a drill. Every other time, it was a false alarm.

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)

My 800 pound food stipend covered all my expenses, plus I had some left over to take home! Bank of Ireland made it very easy to close my account when it was time to leave.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 10-15 British pounds
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't go crazy buying booze. Kids go broke that way. Tesco is your best friend. Don't be too ashamed to buy the cheap-o Tesco store brands. It's probably still fresher quality than you'd get anywhere in the States besides a farmer's market.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
* 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?
  • travel events for internationals
  • living in Coleraine
  • my vivacious roomies
* What could be improved?
  • clarity over credit equivalencies
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack less! You can re-wear jeans almost endlessly, there will likely be no formal occasions, and no one cares if you wear a shirt twice in a week. You want that extra suitcase space for all the awesome stuff you'll bring back.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

ENG326 Writing the North: Literature of the Troubles

Course Department: English
Instructor: Declan Foley
Instruction Language: English
Comments: A great class for students visiting Northern Ireland. Declan chose a good variety of books that illustrated several complex aspects of the Troubles without growing thematically repetitive. He made sure that the foreign students, especially those with English as a second language, clearly understood the Irish lingo in some works. Declan's also a calm, casual kind of professor.
Credit Transfer Issues: The only trouble with credits was universal for UK classes. A 3-credit UK class is equivalent to a 4- or 5-credit US class. This caused some difficulty, since my US institution wanted me to take 4 classes, and the UK system is not built to allow 4 classes. If students need to be counted as full-time, they ought to be able to figure something out with the Registrar before they leave.