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University College Dublin


University College Dublin (UCD) is Ireland's largest and most diverse university. It is also Ireland's most international university, with 20% of the student body consisting of students from 120 countries around the world. UCD is located 3 miles south of Dublin city centre in a beautiful self-contained campus with extensive on-campus housing options, academic and recreational facilities.

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University College Dublin
Dublin 4
Co. Dublin


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Yes, I recommend this program

Choosing to study abroad in Ireland, especially at UCD, was the best decision I have ever made. Making new friends, great memories, and having wonderful opportunities in a place I never thought I would live in was life changing in the best way possible. If I never went abroad, I would have never been exposed to such different lifestyles as well as the opportunity to learn a language like Japanese! I went with an open mind and returned with a brighter plan for my future and experiences that will last a lifetime.

What would you improve about this program?
Longer options would be nice. I would have liked to stay longer.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I couldn’t have been happier with my semester at UCD. Dublin is now a magical place for me that I’ll always remember fondly. The folks, city, campus, and outdoors are all wonderfully lovely. There are lots of clubs, lots of interactive professors that genuinely care, and lots of kind students. Futhermore, the area feels incredibly safe. I never once felt threatened by an atmosphere or the demeanor of peers. I would certainly recommend to others. I, myself, hope to go back sometime in the near future.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Prior to coming to Ireland, I did not know much about the country or what to expect out of the academics here. UCD Global and the Business Study Abroad Programme at the Quinn School do an amazing job at helping international students adjust to their new environment. UCD Global offers free trips all over Ireland from nearby Howth to Galway and the staff are super friendly! The Business Study Abroad Programme are upfront at the beginning about how different the academics are going to be and how the grading system works. Since 3 of my 5 classes at UCD counted towards my home school GPA I was worried about the rigour of my courses. The style of teaching in Europe is very very different than that of America, but don't worry! If you get good grades at your home university you will do well here, just bug your professors even if they don't have office hours (because they most likely will only have them once a week if even that) and be prepared to teach yourself because that is just how things work here. If you need anything the Business Study Abroad Programme Advisors are very friendly and helpful.

Some things members of my cohort and I would have wanted to know before coming to UCD are: 1.) UCD is a commuter school so the place is a ghost town on the weekends. This is when you should travel around Ireland and other parts of Europe! 2.) Most food places are closed at 6 pm with the exception of Centra, so keep that in mind 3.) The library closes at like 10 pm so if you are a night owl as many American college students are conditioned to be then this may be tough to adjust to because there is nowhere else to study besides your bedroom after this time (maybe your dorm common space).

What would you improve about this program?
During finals week all the classrooms in the Quinn School are locked which is really weird because there's not a lot of places to study on campus anyway so it would be really beneficial if they weren't locked.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I had the best time of my life at the University College Dublin this semester. By far, it was the best semester of my entire college life. The campus is 20 minutes away from the hustle bustle of the city and is the perfect place to unwind yourself and focus towards your goals. UCD itself is very beautiful with a couple of lakes and greenery all around the campus. It is equipped with a modern sports complex which offers free fitness classes and has a great infrastructure.The residence halls fulfilled all my requirements and made my semester long stay very comfortable.
The most interesting part of my journey has been attending classes with such a diverse group of people from different countries. The Quinn School of Business is one of the most reputed business school and attracts students from all across the globe which made me meet a lot of diverse people. Before Quinn, I had never been in a room with so many nationalities. Classes in UCD are great place to listen to the different thought processes of people from all over the globe. One of the most important learning was while working in our group of four nationalities: American, Irish, Indian and French. I would highly recommend students to study abroad with University College Dublin and attend classes at the Quinn School of Business

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
When I look back at the time which I have spent in Dublin, I feel like a caterpillar. The way a caterpillar needs to stuff itself with leaves and grow longer through molts to shed it skin, similarly I have been through a tough but rewarding experience. The most important advice I would give to prospective students is to get out of your comfort zone and do things differently. I would recommend them to join student societies on campus such as the Erasmus Student Network or the International Student Society. Joining these organisations are a great place to meet different people and participate in group activities.During my semester, I realised opportunities would not knock on my door, but I would have to work hard and get out my room to make things work. At the beginning, I felt I had survived the feeding process of the caterpillar but as time progressed, I kept learning and growing by taking on challenges. I would suggest all of the incoming students to meet people away from their home country to explore different perspectives. Highly recommend participating in the free and fun events organised by UCD and the Quinn School.
Yes, I recommend this program

I knew very little about Dublin when I decided to study abroad at UCD, but I had heard great things about the school and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to go to a place I knew so little about. Before I arrived, I was nervous about picking an unfamiliar place, but it couldn’t have worked out better. UCD and Dublin vastly exceeded my expectations, and now I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else. The campus is so beautiful and my classes were awesome, and I felt supported and welcomed into the community almost instantly. I got to take a wide range of interesting and unique classes, and although the teaching style is very different than what I was used to, I always felt like I had plenty of support and I definitely learned a lot from all my professors! My classes were engaging and challenging, but I also had plenty of time to explore Ireland and a few other countries!
I couldn’t believe how fun and fulfilling the semester was. I've learned so much in the past few months, inside that classroom and out. Throughout my time at UCD, I felt encouraged to focus on my classes, but also make time to have new experiences outside of the classroom. I also took a class called "Ireland Uncovered" which was a great introduction to the history and culture of Ireland, and it was a great way to learn about the country and make some new friends. I also took dance classes with the dance society, which was another great way to meet new people. I have made so many friends from all over the world, and have learned so much from all of them!
Dublin is a great city to study abroad in - there's so much to do and it's a very student friendly city. From pubs, to museums, to shows, to gorgeous scenery, there's something for everyone and so much to explore! I'm so glad that I got to come to UCD for a semester and I am already looking forward to coming back!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Alexia Vacca

Alexia is an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee studying Supply Chain Management and International Business. After participating in a mini-term faculty-led trip to London last May, she decided to spend a full semester in Dublin, Ireland because 2.5 weeks in London wasn't nearly enough!

Why did you choose this program?

I had studied abroad for a mini-term in London last year and loved every second of it. However, it was simply not enough time. When I heard that the Honors Program at my school was partnering with UCD to send over a cohort of students each semester, I thought it would be a good fit. I really wanted to go back to Europe and I had never been to Ireland, so I thought why not? My scholarships from my home University still applied, so it was about the same cost-wise. Also, the staff at UCD were so friendly and accommodating- they made the whole process so easy! Thanks to their help, all my classes will transfer, and I will still be on-track for graduation. I couldn’t have planned it to work out any better than it has!

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The staff at UCD were extremely organized and were available to assist with everything from the application process to picking classes to finding housing. They also made themselves very accessible in answering any and all questions, even ones that arose throughout the semester. I can't think of anything that needed to be organized on my own besides arranging my travel to and from Ireland, and even then they would still be able to advise you.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Enjoy every moment! Ireland has so many amazing places to see, make sure you take advantage of every second there. Also, don't be afraid to put yourself out there and do things out of your comfort zone.

If you can, take moments every so often to reflect on the experience, because you will get so much more out of it that way.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day consists of class for a few hours, maybe grabbing a chicken fillet roll from the Centra on campus, then a lot of free time to explore the city, hang out with friends, and travel! There isn't much schoolwork until the end of the semester, so weekends can be spent exploring Dublin or traveling to other cities and countries in Europe.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I think my biggest fear was actually making friends, just because you were in a completely new place in which you don't know anyone. It can be scary, especially since you leave all of your friends and family behind, but what I realized- just like the first week of college freshman year- everyone is in the same boat and looking to make friends. It was so easy, I even met a few friends on my flight over. I became really close with all my friends and I'm so grateful that Ireland brought us together.

How are the classes in terms of difficulty and structure?

The classes were a little different than what I was used to in the states. For instance, we had very few assignments and one final exam that counted for a large majority of our grade, as opposed to multiple tests, homework, and assignments throughout the semester. Moreover, the exams were also majority essay-based responses as opposed to multiple choice.

Finally, the grading scale is a bit different- more subjective. To achieve an A on an assignment requires effort above and beyond, and most professors are selective in awarding A's. Thus, the classes are a bit on the challenging end, but not in terms of workload, in terms of quality on assignments. However, it is nothing to be worried about, everyone I know ended up doing well enough. I'm just mentioning this as something to keep in mind, so you are a bit more prepared for what is to come.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Aoife Redmond

Job Title
International Programme Manager - School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems

Aoife has been an International Education professional for over 10 years and has worked extensively worldwide and in Ireland leading groups of international students through academic, volunteer, and leadership programs. She joined UCD International in 2016 as the Arts and Humanities Study Abroad Manager and is now the International Programme Manager for the UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery, and Health Systems.

What is your favorite travel memory?

I had the opportunity to live with a hill tribe family in Chang Rai, Thailand for a short time, and it was incredible! We taught English in their school, helped on their farm, and visited groups within their village such as their Mayoral team, medics, and women's groups. It was truly an eye-opening experience!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I find it very heartening that the Nursing Study Abroad students we receive are just as dedicated to their future healthcare careers as our Irish students are. It makes me proud to know that the young people we work with will really make a difference in the world after their studies, and we get to be a small part of that. It motivates me to make the Study Abroad experience as smooth as possible for our incoming students and showcase our school as much as a positive and supportive learning hub.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

My favorite stories are those where past students come back to visit the friends they have made at UCD and in Dublin for vacation.

I love that even a single semester can forge friendships that last beyond the academic experience.

I also love to hear about students who perhaps weren't accustomed to traveling before their Study Abroad semester and who are now travelling and experiencing new places whenever they can. I am extremely happy that these students get to do that because their semester showed them how small the world is and how important it is to see as much of it as possible!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

If I could go back in time and study abroad during my own college experience, I would do that in a heartbeat! I traveled as an international student after my MA, and it was life changing. However, I also think that taking the leap during my undergrad would have been really impactful as a slightly younger person. Travel is ALWAYS the right choice and should be undertaken at every opportunity!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

The UCD staff are completely dedicated to supporting our Study Abroad students and their experience in Dublin, Ireland and Europe. No matter what subject area a student may choose, there is a staff member they can touch base with before they arrive and meet with when they are here to help them navigate their time here. From choosing the right academic modules to helping them figure out how to get to the airport for their next adventure, the UCD staff are there help out in any way we can. Our priority is to deliver a great student experience all round, and that makes me proud.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Teamwork, understanding, and fun! International Education is a great industry to work in. It is ever changing, and we get to meet wonderful faculty and students semester after semester. Working together towards successful programming, understanding, and learning from our students’ experiences and having great fun along the way can only lead to great things!