I made the decision to spend a year abroad pretty spontaneously and I really did not have a place in specific that I wanted to travel to. After looking at my option Ireland seemed to match my desired climate and happened to have a school that specialized in engineering. Said school was University College Dublin. My decision to spend about two semesters at UCD was probably one of the best decisions that I have made.
Academically while studying at UCD was introduced to several different teaching styles and I was able to meet a wide range of professors. I was also given the opportunity to conduct research under one of the professors for a semester, which was a great opportunity to see the different approaches to research at UCD compared to back at my home university. I found that studying at UCD my overall perspective of the world change and it became a lot broader. This is mainly due to all of the different cultures that I was able to experience since UCD has a large population of international students and Dublin in general is one the largest cities in Ireland. Learning about Irish history, government, and common trends was interesting because I was able to compare it all to my experiences in the U.S. and it is fascinating to see how each country has different customs and beliefs.
UCD has numerous clubs that range from the study of certain cultures to sports. While at UCD I was able to join the Taekwondo club, where I was able to meet a bunch of awesome people while also getting into better shape. Some of the clubs at UCD take trips to different locations across the island for instance, in the Taekwondo club we went to a competition in Galway. Overall the clubs are a great way to relax and explore the things that are going on across campus and throughout the island.
Overall I highly recommend studying abroad if you get the chance and I cannot wait to come back to Ireland to see all of the things that I missed.