University College Dublin Crest

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.


University College Dublin
Dublin 4
Co. Dublin


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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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Yes, I recommend this program

My time at UCD is definitely one of the most rewarding times of my life. Apart from the engineering courses, I also took German electives from ALC and Irish culture course. During the first semester, I work closely with associate professor P. F. Curran on my graduate project. I’m so happy to apply my knowledge of control theory into practice and have the privilege to learn the cutting edge control algorithm developed here in UCD to control the fuel tanks of ESA’s Ariana rockets. My invaluable experience here also helped me to receive an admission from Duke University’s graduate school. I’d say my experience at UCD absolutely adds to that.

My favorite music band is Westlife and that’s the reason why I choose to study in Ireland. After I arrived here, I’m so impressed by the history and culture of this emerald isle. The national museum of archeology is my favorite place to visit. I also love the breathtaking scenery at the cliffs of Moher. I’m also learning how to play the Irish tin whistle. Hopefully I can play a complete song before I leave here. In one word, a semester/ year at UCD is worth it without doubt.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My semester in Ireland as a chemical engineering student has been filled with new faces, new classes, and new experiences. As I look back at the semester, I remember all the times spent studying, laughing, and enjoying myself with friends. UCD does a great job of integrating academics with fun extracurricular activities for its students, like having Yoga and Pilates classes, but also having events like Mario Kart Tournaments. Not only does UCD provide fun activities, but the staff are also so helpful to the international students in helping them to choose the right classes, hosting events to bring international students together, and even sometimes having extra pots and pans for the apartments! UCD is located about a fifteen minute bus ride from the Dublin City Centre, which has a rich culture and history. It was so fun to explore the city, visit some pubs, watch some Gaelic Football Games at Croke Park, visit the Guiness storehouse, and see all the beautiful Christmas lights in the city. Not only did I enjoy myself at UCD and in Dublin, but I was also incredibly fortunate to be able to travel all around Ireland and Europe throughout the semester. I got to explore Spain, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Scotland, and not to mention traveling all over Ireland, seeing the Cliffs of Moher, Killarney National Park, the Aran Islands, and Giant's Causeway! My semester at UCD has been filled with so many memories that I will treasure for a lifetime!

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No, I don't recommend this program

I was very disappointed with my semester at UCD. Only come here if you're coming with friends and you're dying to see Ireland. I was looking for a different college experience abroad, and to be engrossed in the culture. However, just being on the campus felt like living in an isolated ghost town. I wish I had known this was a commuter school. The 'societies' are just small cliques of students, they don't do much outreach and seemed to have very few events. The International Society aimed at study abroad students had no trips after early October and tickets for their other trips were hard to come by. Though it would depend on program, in my opinion the professors were subpar and definitely don't cater to Americans. There's n assignments besides midterms and finals, so it's easy to lose focus. You'll be way behind the curve when you get back to the US, especially if you go to a rigorous school. I put some recommendations below to improve the program. Basically, they need to cater to all study abroad students-not just people who are using UCD as a base to travel the rest of Europe. The big thing going for UCD is that it's close to Dublin (though the campus is in the suburbs and feels like you could be anywhere). Dublin is a great city, and I enjoyed being in it, but that alone can't carry the school or the 4 month semester. If you don't have a group of friends and the money to travel Europe with, stay home or find a different program.

What would you improve about this program?
-Better integration of students into Ireland
-Take notes from American college orientations
-Improve school facilities. The hours for businesses are wrong online. Food essentially isn't available past 6 PM, and there isn't many options. The library doesn't have great hours either, and the professors were not engaged.
-Get native Irish students involved in process
Response from University College Dublin

We are very sorry that you didn't enjoy your experience at UCD. We would like to respond to some of the points which you made that were negative.

UCD has over 3,000 rooms on campus with a vibrant social scene; with sports events and societal events going on throughout the week.

Clubs and societies have an entire week in which students can join. There are nearly 60 sports clubs and nearly 100 societies for all interests. These can be as large as 800 people (Soccer club) for sports clubs and over 1,500 for societies (Commerce and Economics Society) so they could not be called small.

Along with clubs and societies, the Centre for Study Abroad organises a number of free trips around Ireland throughout the year for study abroad students.

UCD is in the top 1% of universities in the world, with some of the leading academics in their field. The way modules are assessed is completely dependent on the module coordinator. There can be assignments throughout the year.

Study Abroad students at UCD receive a full orientation programme that has integrated thousands of students over the years to life in Dublin.

We are very sorry that you did not enjoy your time in Ireland, but we feel like our university and the experience that you can have here is better than your review states


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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!

watching the blue sea

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.

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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
A group of people with fun accessories pose outside a university building.

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!

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