Cork, Ireland--Fiddles and Fifes, Beer that's nice.. Past Review

By (Psychology, Albion College) for

University College Cork: Cork - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I love to travel! This has made me less afraid of doing it alone; I now have a grasp of how 'things work' elsewhere and it has made me more confident to explore other places. I love having the stories to tell family and friends; your experience is so unique and unlike what anyone else may be doing. As far as the educational apsect, I believe our US schools are superior, not that I didn't learn a ton from attending class and lectures in Cork. My advice is to be involved with people from the country not just other Americans. You will make friends and have places to visit again if you do! It's much cooler having an insider's perspective shape your experience as well.

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.

FOr my psychology major the criteria for my university and UCC's did not coincide so I ended up studying classes involving Ireland, history, language, etc. They graded differently for study-abroad students (or Erasimus as they called it) who were only there for a 'semester' as opposed to a year. I took special exit tests/papers when my semester was up. Classes generally met only once per week.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my housing! It was safe and secure within walking distance of everything in Cork (as Cork is not very big). I would've liked to have lived with other Irish students to learn more about their lifestyle etc. I did have some negative experiences with my living situation simply because I am female placed with 3 other men. Cleanliness did play a part in this dissatisfaction. I was housed directly across from St. Finbarr's Cathedral, a landmark in Cork. Beautiful to look at but sometimes the chimes were a bit noisy.

* Food:

Ireland is not known for their gourmet cuisine. They love fish and chips (Chippers as they call them) and other fried foods. Tea is a big part of everyday life and it was fun to take time out to stop at a cafe and have a pot. The Irish are known for their drinking and so it is difficult to watch one's weight with the microbreweries around and cider readily on tap.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Traveling is very nice and easy to come by. Exploring Ireland was great as you can easily take the bus into any county. Being part of the UK makes travel to Scotland and England quick as well. I would recommend not getting overwhelmed by opportunities to travel to Europe simply because Ireland is a great place to explore. Wait until the end of the semester to travel over Europe so you're not missing class on Monday! I loved living in Ireland, shopping and re-using bags, the driving wind and rains of November and the friendliness of the locals as well as the students in the clubs you could join.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had any personal experiences where I felt unsafe, but I was always with a group of students. There are of course homeless people about, and sketchy people around after the pubs let out but you have to be careful of that anywhere. Know your surroundings and have your friends with you as well. During the daytime I felt fine going anywhere.

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
Language acquisition improvement?

People speak English as a first language in almost all of Ireland. I took an Irish course (unrequired) and was able to practice it with professors, shop-keepers, and students through social and educational activities.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? What was recommended to me that I should've done better is come to Ireland with $1,000-2,000 if possible. I am a very frugal person and yet the temptations of traveling to places in Ireland, UK, and Europe put a strain on one's budget. You don't want to have to sit out on being able to buy comfort foods when you miss home, or have a beer with friends, or a dinner out...whatever it may be. I came in to my housing with my own sheets and towels, which was good because they didn't have any of that for me. I even had to buy some of my own cookware and dishes because there was not a set already there in our apartment. You of course will want to buy souvenirs or clothing and that gets expensive. Try to save some money before going because the budget you have for your groceries and will be sufficient but not enough to cover nights out or travel.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Irish Folklore and Mythology

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was not challenging but definitely interesting! As part of my university's program and an 'early start' program for exchange students we took this month long course prior to the official start of UCC's academic year. We took field trips to the Ayran islands where Irish is still spoken as a first language, and to other interesting parts of the country that I might not otherwise have traveled to. An amazing adventure and full of interesting facts.
Credit Transfer Issues: Overall my transferring of credits as they applied toward specific aspects of my degree was difficult. I tried to be prepared by figuring out my classes and obtaining syllabi before leaving the US but still with all that preparation I ended up using my semester abroad to learn about the country and culture I was in. Perhaps the difficulty was due to my college being a Liberal Arts college and needing a strict adherance to their syllabi/guidelines. I also was a junior and looking for courses that were less generalized so that may be why certain courses had trouble transferring.