11 Months + Dublin + Regensburg = Chaotic Amazingness Past Review

By (Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology., University of Arkansas - Fayetteville) for

University of Arkansas: EU Atlantis Chemistry Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I can find plenty of things to grumble about, and if you listen in on the wrong conversation it might seem like I regret coming, but that couldn't be further from the truth. I am so glad I decided to do this program. I have learned a lot of chemistry and a lot about the world. I have gotten to do so many things I never thought I would have the chance to do and I've met so many awesome people. Given the change, I would definitely do this again.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Dublin City University, Universität Regensburg
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.

As I already mentioned, teaching methods are definitely different at these two schools than at home. One thing I find very strange is the complete lack of homework. In Ireland, the only homework I had during the semester were lab reports for the two practical courses I took. I can't say that I minded the lack of busy work, but it meant I had a lot of down time in Ireland. It is the same here in Regensburg, except I spend a lot of time in the research lab. The grading scale is also very different. In Ireland, a 70% and above is considered top marks. I think the grading was proportionally harder, but I still can't get over a "C" being considered a very good grade. Germany has a completely different grading system with a 1.0 being the highest possible grade. I have only had tests in my German language course so far, so I really don't know how the grading itself will compare.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I think I saw my program coordinator in Ireland once. If he was even the coordinator. Thankfully I really didn't need much from him other than a signature for the classes I was taking. Things worked out fine, but he really wasn't very helpful. Here in Germany, teh coordinator is much more available. He doesn't always seem to know what's going on, but it's all good.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

In Ireland, we were on our own for housing. We were told that we should wait until we got there and find a family to rent a room from, but we got nervous about actually finding a place. Five of us ended up finding an apartment near campus before we left, which was expensive but worked out great. We were pretty close to one of the sketchier neighborhoods of Dublin, for the most part we didn't have problems. Here in Germany, I'm living in the dorms.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Both schools were great about setting up field trips for us. In Ireland, the school arranged for us to go out to a farm and watch a sheep dog, bake bread, get stuck in the bog, and learn about hurling. It was an awesome day! In Germany, they've taken us on several trips to other cities and even to Neuschwanstein castle.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I haven't had to have any kind of health care, so I have no idea how any of that works. As far as safety, I haven't had any terrible problems. Dublin could get kind of interesting, but I just made sure to never go out too far at night alone and I was fine. Regensburg seems to be a very safe city. The street in front of my dorm is very dark at night, but I've once again never had any problems.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Every week was different. Once I figured out where the best place to buy food was, everything was pretty much under control. Bigger grocery stores tend to be cheaper. The farmer's market in Dublin is great for cheap produce.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It would've been nice to know how much the visa for Ireland was going to cost ($200). It's no one's fault, but the flight home was also insanely expensive. It would've been nice to have been able to book a round trip ticket.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Beginning 1
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Considering that I started with only one semester of German, my language skills have improved enormously. I speak German every day when I'm out in the city, but I mostly speak English with my friends. All of the people who work in my lab are German, so they mostly speak English for my benefit. We occasionally speak German together, but it's safer to use English when they're giving me directions or explaining something to me. My language course is, naturally, taught in German, as is my Genetics course. I definitely do not understand all of what is being said in Genetics, but I understand more than I would have before I got here.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Local Students

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Medicinal Chemistry

Course Department: CS 311
Instructor: Kieran Nolan and Christopher O'Brien
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was very cool. Dr. Nolan was an amazing teacher. He was obviously very knowledgeable and interested in what he was teaching, and he actually enjoyed teaching. The class itself was very interesting, and I really don't think I would've taken anything like it at home. We went through the basic steps used when creating a new medicine and discussed some specific examples.
Credit Transfer Issues: