Into Ireland: Study Abroad Recap

6/22/2022 3:35:45 PM Lexi Larson

Hello again! After coming back to the States after five months away, I wanted to offer an overview of Ireland as a whole and the college at which I studied abroad. Should you ever decide to study abroad and want to spend it in Ireland, here is all the information you might need…

Upon first arrival at University College Dublin (UCD), I wasn’t sure what to expect from the university. Aesthetically, it reminded me of Northwestern University; however, in student population it isn’t far off from UIUC. Turns out that UCD was a great place to study for me because of its access to the city of Dublin, the wide range of extracurricular activities, and the variety of engineering courses that were offered.

UCD is just a short 30-minute bus ride away from city center—perfect for getting groceries, sightseeing, and catching a train to visit other parts of Ireland! While Dublin is very cool, Ireland has so much to offer outside of the city. UCD’s location made it accessible to travel to the city and elsewhere.

On campus I joined an extracurricular which was by far the best choice of my time abroad. Joining the ultimate frisbee team helped me become more acclimated to the university and to Ireland. While I joined the club simply because I love to play ultimate, this quickly turned into an amazing group of friends (who were Irish). If ultimate frisbee isn’t for you, UCD has lots of sports and club opportunities to choose from.

Lastly, I took four engineering equivalents during my semester abroad, which was perfect for my goal to still graduate “on time” in spring 2023. My ME360 course equivalent was my favorite, as it built off ME340, which I took at Illinois the previous fall. My professor at UCD was very knowledgeable and helped his students learn the material through a well-paced lecture and constant review of material previously learned. The rest of my courses were equally great as well. I would even recommend taking an Irish language/culture class if attending UCD. I couldn’t get into the course, and I wish I could have.

To my fellow engineers thinking of going abroad, UCD is a great university to attend, and Ireland is a magical place to live. I highly recommend!

Should you find yourself in Ireland I have a few recommendations:

  • There are lots of free museums. I went to the archeology museum and the art gallery. While I didn’t make it there, I did hear that the EPIC museum is indeed epic.
  • Dublin has lots of parks which are great and so nice to enjoy on a nice day. I loved St. Stephen’s Green, which is right in the city center. The Botanical Garden and Phoenix Park are also lovely in the springtime.
  • Traveling outside of Dublin is a must if you want to truly see Ireland. Howth, Bray, Blackrock, and Sandymount are all cute seaside areas that are within an hour from the Dublin city center. I recommend taking a day to explore all or one of them!
  • Go even further outside of Dublin if you can. Sligo, in the northwest, is a unique area with fun surfing! Then of course a trip to Galway and Cork is essential. If you can rent a car that’s helpful but expensive. The train is good to get you to all these places, though it is a bit harder to travel around after that.
  • You must have a chicken fillet roll, a spice bag, a sausage roll, and bangers and mash… if you’re not a vegetarian. My Irish friends say they’re essential to the experience.
  • Make Irish friends. The Irish are class and if you’re going abroad you’ve got to make friends while you’re there.
  • Do a sea swim! It’s cold but wakes you up!
  • Enjoy your time. Ireland is a magical, magical place!

Thank you so much for following along my journey this past semester. It has been a wonderful ride and I am so thankful for the chance to do it.

Thanks for reading!
Lexi