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Study Abroad Student Testimonials


If you are considering studying Science at UCD as part of the Study Abroad Programme, this page includes testimonials from students who have recently studied Science at UCD from Rutgers University, Princeton University, and Arizona State University. 

Study Abroad Student Testimonials

Zachary McTaggart - Rutgers University

I am currently a fourth-year student at (opens in a new window)Rutgers University, who attended UCD in the spring semester of

2017.  Studying abroad had always been a dream of mine, but being a psychology major on the pre-med track often made this dream seem far-fetched.  It was not until I did further research in to study abroad programs that I was able to make my dream a reality.  In order to graduate on time I needed to make sure that the school I was attending offered classes that had similar rigor as my classes at Rutgers.  After many late nights and long lab hours I can confirm that UCD delivered on this aspect.  Not only was I offered a diverse selection of upper-level modules that actually transferred back to my school, but I also got the opportunity to partake in their Introduction to Scientific Research module. These were the main factors that made the choice for me to come to UCD an easy one. 

UCD allowed me to take a variety of challenging modules from Psychology of Language to Neurophysiology. I was also granted the opportunity to work in a lab under the supervision of Dr. Niamh O’Sullivan, whose research focused on gaining insight into the disease, Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. We used Drosophila melanogaster, more commonly known as the fruit fly, as a model organism of this motor neuron disease. We were able to manipulate the genes of the flies by utilizing the UAS/GAL4 system, allowing us to target specific genes we wanted to be transcribed or not. Throughout my time in the lab I was able to learn about and use techniques such as neuromuscular dissection, staining, and confocal microscopy. This module was one of my favorite parts of my entire experience here at UCD, and probably the class I gained the most knowledge in. The entire team at the lab was extremely welcoming and made me feel like I was part of their research. The trust and freedom I received in the lab really allowed me to enjoy my work meanwhile giving me a truly unforgettable learning experience. I also had the opportunity to see dissected human brains across different anatomical planes in a Neurophysiology Practical. Being a visual learner, these demonstrations really helped clarify the harder to identify parts of the brain such as the cranial nerves. These experiences I had in the classroom were unique because not many students in the states get these opportunities as undergraduates.

While the courses at UCD were challenging and engaging, I always found the time to travel around Ireland and other parts of Europe. UCD really invests a lot of time to make sure each student has a good experience. Reslife and the international program host free events and trips every month.  These were very convenient as I was living on campus and my bank account had seen better, and much fuller days. My favorite personal trips were to the Cliffs of Moher, Howth Head, the Beachy Head cliffs in England, London, and a spring break trip to one of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. As much fun as it was to travel and experience different European cities, I always looked forward to coming back to Dublin.  Nothing beats coming back to my favorite city to grab a pint with my friends.

To anyone that is looking to study abroad, I strongly suggest looking into UCD. Not only are you immersed right into the center of Dublin and Irish culture, but UCD also offers incredible and unique opportunities in and outside of the classroom.

‌Erika Davioff - Princeton University

I am a sophomore at (opens in a new window)Princeton University, where I am majoring in chemical engineering with a minor in neuroscience. I chose to study at UCD in the spring of 2015 primarily because I have always been interested in Ireland and Irish culture, but also to take advantage of UCD’s courses in pharmacology, a field not offered at my home school. I also chose UCD because of its Introduction to Scientific Research module, which matches visiting students with professors for a semester-long research project, and because of the Science office’s immense friendliness and helpfulness. I am convinced that I made the best possible decision!

While at UCD I lived on campus, which allowed me to throw myself into everything the university has to offer. My major focus this semester was my Introduction to Scientific Research project. I was granted the opportunity to work with Geraldine Butler’s lab, identifying genes in the pathogenic fungus C. parapsilosis that contributed to its biofilm formation. I loved it so much that I ended up heading to the lab almost every weekday, whenever I wasn’t attending my always-interesting classes in pharmacology, neuroscience and biotechnology. After lab, I enjoyed a variety of extracurriculars, from Drawsoc (the visual arts society) to the UCD Trampoline Club—that was certainly a new experience for me.

Living in Dublin provided a great springboard for seeing the rest of Ireland and Europe. I spent my weekends and spring break traveling to every corner of the island, marvelling at all of the history and natural beauty. My favorite place in the country was Dun Aonghasa, the prehistoric stone fort on the Aran Islands; I spent over an hour standing in awe at the edge of the cliffs. I was also able to visit the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden. After every trip, it was nice to return to friendly Dublin and head out with my flatmates to one of our favorite pubs.

I would highly recommend studying abroad at UCD. I learned so much from my courses and my research project and had a fantastic time exploring Ireland. I can’t wait to come back!

Molly Holleran - Arizona State University


I am a Junior at (opens in a new window)Arizona State University studying Biology to become a Physician Assistant. I have always wanted to travel to Ireland and visit the land of my ancestors, however, studying abroad  seemed impossible because of my strict degree requirements. After doing some research, I found a science program at UCD and was able to fulfill my dream of studying abroad. I had no trouble finding courses at UCD that interested me and also counted toward my degree. UCD offers extensive course options that are suitable for anyone and the professors are eager to see their students succeed.

My favorite class that I took was Introduction to Irish Studies. We learned all about Ireland's archaeological, political, and cultural past. One of the reasons that I wanted to study abroad was to learn  about other cultures and this class helped accomplish that.  I was able to learn about Ireland in the classroom and then go out and explore the country myself. In addition to exploring Ireland, I visited many countries throughout Europe including Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, Italy, and much more. Between school and traveling, I joined clubs on campus, went to the free gym, socialized with my new friends, and attended all of the events put on by the Culture and Social Program for study abroad students.

This semester at UCD will forever be one of the most spectacular experiences of my life. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, don't hesitate. It's easy to worry about missing out on experiences back home, but all of that will still be there when you get back. I personally have become significantly more confident and independent in 4 short months. UCD is the perfect choice for anyone who  wants to experience the wonders of Europe while also maintaining an academic standard.

UCD College of Science

Room E1.09/E2.09 UCD O'Brien Centre for Science, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
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