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Madeline Johnson, Biological Engineering, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, spring 2017

"My study abroad experience at University College Dublin has been, without a doubt, the best semester of my college experience. From the moment I received the email on a Tuesday morning about being accepted into the program, I couldn't contain my  excitement for the experience which were about to follow as I journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to spend four months of my life in Dublin. I can't emphasize enough how amazing my time has been in Ireland and all of the wonderful experiences I have had at UCD and beyond. Approximately 80% of students want to study abroad but only 1% has the opportunity to and I know that with my time spent in Ireland, I wanted to make the most out of it. The campus is beautiful with two lakes and plenty of grassy areas along with modern, large dorms (all apartment style) offering the opportunity to socialize with roommates but also have alone time to study and do homework in your single room. The campus offers many different options for food and I have been very satisfied with all of my dining experiences at UCD. The campus sits about 4 miles outside of the city centre surrounded by nice residential areas and is an easy 25 min bus ride into the city. In my engineering modules, I have had very positive experiences with not only my professors but also my peers. Most people are eager to learn and finding help from other students is easy. The professors I had in the Biosystems Engineering Department were all extremely knowledgeable in their subjects, both having many published works. I felt like my studies were engaging despite the academic system in Ireland being different than that of my home University. The topics I learned about gave me a great insight on the agriculture industry in Ireland which will help me with my internship this summer as I will be able to bring knowledge to the table that most likely no other intern will have. Given that I am one of the few people in my major at Penn State to have attended a study abroad program at UCD, it seemed like a daunting task at first but the advisors in the UCD Engineering Department are incredibly helpful and have been a priceless resource to aiding in my time at UCD. Partaking in an engineering study abroad isn't an easy task to take on but for those who are filled with excitement and motivation on a daily basis it was the perfect combination to help me thrive in a new environment. Push yourself, get involved, and you'll never regret it!"

Brian Roda, Biosystems Engineering Junior Year Student, Penn State University, spring 2016

"My study abroad experience at University College Dublin has been, without a doubt, the best semester of my college experience. From the moment I received the email on a Tuesday morning about being accepted into the program, I couldn't contain my  excitement for the experience which were about to follow as I journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean to spend four months of my life in Dublin. I can't emphasize enough how amazing my time has been in Ireland and all of the wonderful experiences I have had at UCD and beyond. Approximately 80% of students want to study abroad but only 1% has the opportunity to and I know that with my time spent in Ireland, I wanted to make the most out of it. The campus is beautiful with two lakes and plenty of grassy areas along with modern, large dorms (all apartment style) offering the opportunity to socialize with roommates but also have alone time to study and do homework in your single room. The campus offers many different options for food and I have been very satisfied with all of my dining experiences at UCD. The campus sits about 4 miles outside of the city centre surrounded by nice residential areas and is an easy 25 min bus ride into the city. In my engineering modules, I have had very positive experiences with not only my professors but also my peers. Most people are eager to learn and finding help from other students is easy. The professors I had in the Biosystems Engineering Department were all extremely knowledgeable in their subjects, both having many published works. I felt like my studies were engaging despite the academic system in Ireland being different than that of my home University. The topics I learned about gave me a great insight on the agriculture industry in Ireland which will help me with my internship this summer as I will be able to bring knowledge to the table that most likely no other intern will have. Given that I am one of the few people in my major at Penn State to have attended a study abroad program at UCD, it seemed like a daunting task at first but the advisors in the UCD Engineering Department are incredibly helpful and have been a priceless resource to aiding in my time at UCD. Partaking in an engineering study abroad isn't an easy task to take on but for those who are filled with excitement and motivation on a daily basis it was the perfect combination to help me thrive in a new environment. Push yourself, get involved, and you'll never regret it!"

Read Brian’s online blog at http://cantstopdublinthefun.blogspot.ie/

Paaras Agrawal, Chemical Engineering student, University of Alabama, Spring 2015

"UCD has been amazingly welcoming from before leaving home and continues to be after I took my first steps onto the Belfield campus. Whether it was joining the ping pong club or the wind surfing club at Refresher's day to attending the various events hosted by the international school - such as the super bowl and bowling nights - there was bound to be time spent with great fun and new friends. Attending the Engineering school in particular here allowed me to see firsthand how globalized the field has become and how vital it is to interact with people of different backgrounds both socially and professionally. The professors were incredibly helpful and went above and beyond in order to help ease your transition into what may be a new style of learning, wanting me to not only understand but thrive in the topics of discussion. Studying in Dublin has surpassed any and all expectations I had for studying in a new country and as I say good bye to close friends and familiar faces I know this will be always be a place of fond memories and a home that I look forward to coming back to."

Sean Street, Chemical Engineering Junior Year Student, University of Arkansas, Fall 2015

Seek and embrace the stresses of your great engineering-abroad opportunity as you, an engineer, stand the most to gain of all of those who study abroad!  As I sit in a pub off Dawson Street, enjoying my second pint of Guinness and a dozen of the best oysters I've ever had, I reflect on my experience.  I chose to push myself to the max academically and socially, and my growth exceeded that of my wildest expectations.  I'm a junior chemical engineering student taking 4 senior level courses at UCD which transfer back to the U of A - GPA is counted as I'm applying to MBA programs.  The professors have been exceptional and their altered approach is exactly the challenge I had hoped to find when arriving - note, they don't baby you!  How do I adapt to new assessment styles, new methods of teaching, an absence of homework, new concepts taught in strange and funny accents - all of which in a new country with nobody I know?  These are essential questions for all engineers as throughout our careers, we will constantly be cast into new environments, tasked with piecing puzzles together.  In addition to my daunting academic schedule, I tried out for and made the UCD fresher’s soccer team; I walked on at a local rugby club, and I travelled to Liverpool, Belfast, Galway, Rome, Barcelona, and London (x2).  Among 3 practices, pints almost every other day, 1-2 nights of going out to the clubs, weekend matches, and travel, each week presented a hectic schedule and required a disciplined motivation.  I couldn't have accomplished all of this while making A's and B's without the awesome group of classmates - party with them, get to know them, and join their group message!  In choosing UCD engineering, I entered the perfect situation for social growth and academic growth - far more than the other abroad students who took a majority of Irish introductory courses (although I think all study abroad students should take one).  Push yourself and you will enjoy the benefits!"

Daniel Corrigan, Civil Engineering Major, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Spring 2017

“I had a fantastic time studying abroad at UCD in Ireland and I wish I could have stayed longer. I learned a lot in the classroom, I met loads of new and interesting people, I got to experience a different culture for four months, and I also got to see some other parts of Europe in my time there!

Dublin is a fantastic city with lots of character and history. I had so many good experiences exploring the city and enjoying its sights, restaurants, and night life. I also had the opportunity to travel to several beautiful places in the countryside of Ireland such as Killarney in Co. Kerry and the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare. The Irish are an incredibly welcoming people and it was a privilege to embrace their culture while living in their country, and I particularly enjoyed their music and their sports.

The breath of engineering courses available allowed me to seamlessly integrate a study abroad semester into my home university plan of study. I also got to take some interesting elective courses such as ‘Music in Ireland’ which I thoroughly enjoyed and would never have taken otherwise.

I encourage anyone who is considering studying abroad at UCD to do so because I have had the time of my life during my semester here, and I have no doubt that the staff and the students will help to make it an unforgettable experience for you too”.

Rebecca Brake, Civil Engineering Junior Year Student, University of Alabama, Spring 2016

“I knew I had to study abroad since high school. Then, I knew I had to study at UCD since my learning of it freshman year of college. It took me two and a half years before I followed through with my dream of studying in Dublin, but it was well worth the wait. I never knew I could meet people from basically every country in one place. I also realised that I could be connected to someone in so many ways, whether we knew the same person or shared the same random experience.

The civil engineering classes I attended here were so eye-opening; I was able to get a different viewpoint on how civil engineers work overseas. I also enjoyed the small class sizes so I could easily talk to the lecturer or other students. The Center for Study Abroad program was another great aspect of UCD. With them, I was able to go on awesome trips and experience some Irish culture. Learning how to place Gaelic games and then attending a Gaelic football game with my friends was one of the coolest experiences ever! As my semester comes to a close and I begin my journey home, I realise I will be missing some part of myself in the beautiful country of Ireland”.

Tara Myers, Electrical & Computer Junior, Baylor University, Fall 2017.

First, let’s get one thing straight. It was not my idea to come to Ireland. In fact, back home I would tell people, “There is no way I could ever study abroad, I’m not adventurous enough!”. Well, as it turns out, all you need to be ‘adventurous’ is an idea, and a leap of faith. One of my good friends from my home university began talking about going to study abroad in Ireland, and the thought that changed my life was, “If she can do it, I can do it too!”. That was the end of that. Before I knew it, I was scrambling to get my paperwork in before a deadline that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to meet. Next thing I know, I’m sitting next to that same friend on a plane to Ireland! I’m an engineering student here at UCD, and my classes are hard, but I learned that my life does not have to be. Coming to Ireland was a split- second decision for me, but the lessons I have learned here will last for decades to come. The Cliffs of Moher taught me that nature is a force to be reckoned with, and this earth has survived through problems much larger than my homework. The crumbled view of several castles taught me that this life, my life, will someday end, and all that will be left as a result of this life is what you build. My favorite coastline in Bray taught me that there is a healing nature in the peace that comes from the slow correction of the ocean waves. My student experience at UCD taught me that my life is more than my education. Although the largest impact I leave on this world may be the products of my future work, I am not just a brain. My body has a heart inside that also requires attention. My student experience at UCD taught me to notice the beauty I am surrounded by, and determine what I really wanted from my life after college. Coming to UCD has helped me to understand why I chose the major I did, and what my life can look like in any country if I simply take the time to appreciate my surroundings. Because I am a senior, I cannot think of more perfect timing for this realization. Although I love my home country, there is a certain magic in those beautiful, still ponds on UCD’s campus. The education is deeper than the water, and the quality of life is definitely brighter than the overcast skies. Thank you UCD!

Deirdre Eason, Electrical Engineering Sophomore Year Student, Villanova University, Fall 2015.

"Everyone always says that studying abroad is one of the best memories they have from their time in college. Three years ago I visited Ireland for a family vacation and from the day I left, I knew that I wanted to come back again. However, as an engineer I was always told that studying abroad is very difficult if not impossible. I had never been to UCD or even heard of it before my abroad advisor suggested studying here. I had no doubt that I wanted to come back to Ireland and UCD offered the classes I needed and seemed like a good fit. I was very nervous at first traveling to a new country alone for 4 months but also wanted to make the most of it. The first week of classes, we were encouraged by our teachers not only to study hard but also to get involved on campus. I ended up taking the advice of my teachers and joining the UCD Club Lacrosse team. These girls and guys became some of my best friends here at UCD. I not only expanded my friend group with the lacrosse team but I also found the engineering upperclassmen very willing to offer their knowledge about professors and classes.

 I came to Ireland because I loved the country but about a month into school I was already looking for a way to stay at UCD for another semester. The school is beautiful, the professors are eager to teach, and the people you meet will become some of the most amazing friends you will ever have. I would absolutely recommend other students to come study at UCD for a year or even just a semester."

Amy Gasperlynn, Mechanical Engineering Sophomore, Marquette University, Fall 2017

Before coming to UCD I thought one semester abroad would be plenty, but now that my time is coming to a close, I only wish I had more time. The new friends I have made through the Athletics Club and Engineering Society are people I will stay in contact with throughout my lifetime. Joining campus organizations exposed me to a fun group of people that support each other, but also have a ton of fun by hosting pub crawls and dinners as a group. I highly suggest going to a dinner at the Punch Bowl, a pub that is only a twenty-minute walk from the Belgrove campus! My teachers have been great resources of information and all three of my engineering professors have met with me when I have questions about the subjects or work problems. They have been extremely helpful and welcoming as I adapted to my new learning environment. Along with the professors, I have found my engineering adviser, Joanne, to be someone I could ask all my many questions to at the beginning of the semester and I always received a speedy email answering all my inquisitions.

I had the opportunity to travel around Ireland along with other countries in the UK. Different student organizations I signed up for, the Erasmus Society and the Study Abroad Society, along with the Centre for Study Abroad hosted events and trips around Ireland. I got to travel to Belfast, Galway, and Kilkenny with fellow students and I had a blast learning about the history of different areas and making friends along the way. I got to tour many castles and hike to various waterfalls. The Cliffs of Moher are truly magnificent. I had imagined the cliffs before I got there, but pictures do not do how high they stand.

If I had the opportunity to come back another semester, I would in a heartbeat! UCD has been a second home for me this semester and I encourage other engineering students to come and study at UCD, because they will not be disappointed with the beauty of Ireland and the excellent education they will receive. I am taking all the opportunities I can to dwell in the culture of Ireland before heading home.

Cole Trammell, Mechanical Engineering Sophomore, Texas Tech University, Fall 2017

When I first got to Ireland it was rainy and overcast. That was the first sign that I would love it here as days like that were rare at best in west Texas. It was a very interesting day, missing my bus stop for UCD, getting lost on campus, and not knowing where to get food. Luckily for me everyone in Ireland is extraordinarily kind and willing to help the best they can. That alone made my semester completely worth it. The class structure was markedly different from what I am used to at my home university, but I prefer it since there isn’t homework every single night. The combination of the calming weather, the beautiful amount of green I had never seen before, the kindness of the community, and the challenging yet easy going class structure at UCD has made this semester one of the highlights of the college life. I would love to return to Ireland again in the future.

Pei Shan Goh, Mechanical Engineering,National University of Singapore, Spring 2017

My semester at UCD has been an eye-opening experience. It was heart-warming, to see how friendly and welcoming the people are. From the get-go, the Study Abroad team had been incredibly supportive, with their quick replies to my questions (I had a lot of those), and helping to break down all the administrative details into bite-sized, digestible titbits. I am incredibly grateful for their help.

Orientation week was a blast as well. It was refreshing, being able to just walk up to people and engage them in conversations, and it was interesting what I learnt about people from different countries and cultures. I met a lot of amazing people, and keep in contact with most of them. It has certainly livened up my semester here!

One of the highlights of my semester was joining the archery club. Archery has always been something I wanted to try out, but it is prohibitively expensive and opportunities are scarce where I come from. When I found out that UCD has an archery club, I leapt at the chance and contacted them straightaway. The seniors were really welcoming and helpful, always on the look-out in case we needed help or had questions, and always ready and willing to dispense advice to help us improve.

Classes, too, were immensely enriching. The small class sizes were surprising; the first time I walked into the classroom, I thought I had taken a wrong turn. However, it meant that I could get to know all my classmates and professors better, and I really appreciated that. Now that the semester has ended, I feel sad having to leave all these behind. I am happy that I came, despite initial fears and reservations. If I could choose to do it all over again, I would do so in a heartbeat!

Elizabeth Tarangelo, Bioengineering Sophomore, Syracuse University, Fall 2017

I always thought Ireland was beautiful when I saw it in pictures, but nothing compares to setting foot on Irish soil and experiencing the real thing. Attending UCD has been grand, and even though it’s only been a few months I already feel like it’s my second home. I’ve loved digging into all of the rich history and soaking in the vibrant and accepting culture, and I’ve learned just as much during my free time as in class. Since arriving in Ireland, I’ve lost my voice cheering during the camogie finals at Croke Park, capsized dinghies in the Irish Sea, hung out in Leinster House with a senator, taken a train to the opposite side of the country on a school night for a bit of craic, nearly gotten stuck in a bog, and many more experiences I never thought I’d have but have made life infinitely more exciting. The minute I got to campus everyone from the Harry Potter Society to the Mountaineering Club made me feel so welcome, and there’s so many clubs and societies that it’s hard to be bored. Of course, class fits into the equation at some point also, but the education system is set up differently from what I was used too so it was cool to be able to study in a different way that was more focused on independent learning, giving me more time to travel around and explore on my own while still getting my work done. You can’t put a credit count or a GPA score on the education that you get by being citizen of the world, and getting to know the Irish people not as a tourist but by embracing the culture. For a country as small as Ireland it’s amazing how much diversity there is to soak in, and because UCD is so internationally established you get to interact with students from all over, so a global university like this really has no borders or boundaries. People aren’t lying when they say study abroad is the best experience; that doesn’t mean there aren’t times when it will be difficult, but you will look back and appreciate the moments you don’t love because that’s what helps you grow, and if you push yourself to try new things, you will have the time of your life.

Samantha Hardy, Biochemical Engineering Sophomore, University of Colorado Boulder, Fall 2017

UCD has been the best decision I have made in my college career. Since day one, I have felt welcome on the UCD campus and in Ireland. Never have I met so many students, staff, and friends who are dedicated to my success and who genuinely care about my progress. I have gained a global perspective on education and have learned a lot in the classroom, but even more outside of it. The relationships I have built here, my personal growth of character, and my increased confidence as a world traveller could not have happened without the great support system at UCD. Studying abroad was a hard transition, but the Irish mantra of "one hundred thousand welcomes" is legitimate; seeing a smiling face in the hallway, making a new friend at the pub, having a bus driver make an extra stop because you missed yours (oops!), are all ways that the friendly atmosphere has made Ireland feel like home. I have applied to work in Galway this summer and am hoping to return to Ireland on a working visa after graduation; if that doesn't say how amazing and this semester has been I don't know what will!