As my global exchange at DCU comes to an end, my friends and I have been reflecting on very important things, like why on Earth we chose Dublin, Ireland of all places for our study abroad choice. General consensus? Nobody knows. For most it was because they wanted an English speaking country that was not England itself, or it was their only option for financial reasons.
Me? Well to start off DCU was my 4th of 5 preferences for where to go on exchange. So you can imagine at first I was pretty devastated, I mean I was meant to get into one of my top 3 schools (all in America) and turn 21 and have the time of my life. 2 out of 3 of those things still happened… because I didn’t have to leave early to go to America to start in January I got to have a sick 21st birthday at home with all my friends before leaving in Mid-January and heading to London for a few days before landing in Dublin for my next big adventure… and yes, as cliche as it sounds, this has been one of (if not) THE BEST experience ever.
Dublin City University is the only University on the Northside of Dublin, making it clearly the coolest (up to debate from schools like Trinity College, DIT and UDC etc. but whatever)… The main campus is located in Glasnevin, about 20 minutes on the bus from O’Connell street at the heart of Dublin. With a Leap Card (like an Opal Card) it only costs €2.05 per trip which is pretty grand if you ask me considering a cab is upwards of at leeeeeeast €13 (nearly $20).
DCU is currently in the process of combining with St Patrick’s College and the Mater Dei Institute of Education, both Education Colleges in Drumcondra to become the biggest school of Education in Ireland. I am currently studying Primary Education at UTS and found this out after I got here, but hey, that’s exciting! The lecturers are incredibly nice and actually I’ve found them to be very helpful, they’re very accepting of exchange students so instead of looking around like a lostie, just tell them and they will try and help out as much as they can.
Quick note: If you are going to Ireland, use your heads guys. It’s going to be cold. Deal with it. Have a raincoat at the ready. It’s currently April (almost Summer) and yesterday it hailed almost all day… but two days ago it was like 15degrees, yaaas!
DCU is actually also really close to the airport, it’s like a 10-15min bus so when you have days off/long weekends you can easily jump on a RYANAIR flight at the crack of dawn without having to go too far to get to the airport. HOWEVER, Ireland is not a very big country and if you have your license I definitely suggest going for as many road trips as you possibly can, there is so much to see and Ireland has such a rich history full of incredible stories. Not to mention some great pubs and food…
Guinness Storehouse tour in Dublin, must do, the whole inside of the building is shaped like a giant pint glass… it’s pretty impressive, they have a 360 degree Gravity Bar at the top that’s similar to the top of Centrepoint Tower
If you like hiking (or even if you don’t) there’s incredible national parks like Connemara National Park on the West Coast of Ireland that will (quite literally if you do the hike) take your breath away…
There’s also the Wicklow mountains if you like this kind of thing,
Not to mention the famous Cliffs of Moher, honestly how is this even real?!
If you’re feeling a little more cultural there’s always the Temple Bar area on St Patrick’s Day if that’s more your scene…
Gotta get into the spirit though guys…
You can also cross the international border and head into Northern Ireland which is still a part of the UK, do NOT ever imply that Ireland itself is part of the UK because pls, do some research, this year was the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising… Just, know where you’re going guys… it’s important.
In Belfast you can go to the Titanic Museum which is pretty damn impressive if I say so myself…
Or if you’re adventurous enough you can cross the Carrick-a rede rope bridge that nearly made me cry…
The Causeway coast is incredible and the Giant’s Causeway itself is pretty unbelievable, (not just the part where the rock formations were supposedly made by a giant)
There is so many things to do both in Dublin and all around Ireland… I had no idea what I was getting myself into coming to Ireland but I am so unbelievably glad I did. I live in student housing with 4 amazing Irish girls and I’ve made so many friends from different parts of the world.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay to be disappointed if you don’t get your first, second, or even third choice on your placement list. Go in with an open mind and it’ll pay off. Your exchange will only be as fun as you let it be so suck it up and smile, you’re going to be a student at another university for 4/5 months, open up, relax and enjoy every single second.
If you have any questions for me or want to hear even more stories about my experiences in Dublin, I have my own wordpress where I’ve been documenting my time, not to mention my instagram for all the good pictures… #attemptingtostudyabroad is my new favourite thing to tag it’s very accurate, haha. My friend and fellow UTS student Mads also made a bunch of awesome videos of our experiences that you can see here.
- Rose Bailey 11705050