2009-10 UCD Students on Exchange www.ucd.ie/international/exchanges
Alice O Regan. University of California, San Diego. Cycling on Pacific Beach
Alice O Regan. University of California, San Diego. Giesel Library – “The Spaceship”
Alice O Regan. University of California, San Diego. Sunset on La Jolla Cliffs
Alice O Regan. University of California, San Diego. When I got accepted to San Diego I was so excited, and couldn’t wait to begin what was to be one of the best 9 months of my life. I had signed up to a host family and was lucky to have a couple who loved Ireland and the Irish! It was a great way to get over the jet lag, settle in and prepare myself for college. I lived in the International House on campus which was the best way to meet people and get involved in campus activities and events like Sunday Supper, Cultural nights and a fashion show! I met many amazing people from all over the world and got to know their different cultures. The weather, the people and the food make San Diego a fantastic place to live. I made the most of my time there, taking surfing lessons, going on trips to the zoo and the city, chilling on one of the many beaches or hiking and camping in Joshua Tree national park for a weekend. I have so many wonderful memories of my time spent in San Diego and the wonderful friends I made. It benefited me academically and personally. I am so glad I decided to do an international year and I would encourage everyone to take the amazing opportunity we are given and apply!
ElifDibekUniversitéLumière Lyon 2, France I was in exchange with Lyon 2, which is known for its welcoming atmosphere. But the idea of getting lost in the big faculties can be quite daunting. However Lyon 2 is also linked to the `SciencePo Lyon`; one of the famous French écoles. I had the privilege to take a few classes in that exclusive environment thanks to this link. With its smaller structure, SciencePo is a great chance to make great French friends, travel and party with them! Lyon is a perfect spot to travel from… if the trains aren’t on strike of course! Its only an hour or two from great skiing spots which was so practical, I probably went up to Paris about ten times since it’s only two hours away. I went on all the trips organized by the international office. Me and my friends found ourselves road tripping along the Mediterranean coast, camping out in Ardèche and canoeing down the Ardèche river, mountain-climbing, driving up to Dijon just for a party, looking for a taxi on the Champs-Elysée at 5 in the morning, dropping into Annecy for a fondue on the Swiss border … The list goes on and the adventuring is limitless. Life is sweet on Erasmus, and I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t grab this opportunity!!
James FitzsimonsKorea University Great Wall of China
James FitzsimonsKorea University Myeongdong
James FitzsimonsKorea University Within no more than a few days of my arrival in Seoul, I had made dozens of new friends that were mostly fellow exchange students in the same situation as me. My Korean buddy, was a great friend to me throughout the year and on my first day in Korea he had shown me to my accommodation as well as help me buy a mobile phone and set up a Korean bank account. I’ve made so many great friends from all over the globe that I’ll forever stay in touch with. Furthermore, within weeks of being there, I had learned to read and write in Korean as well as speak at a level which enabled me to live comfortably in my new environment. I travelled with the friends I made there to several different places such as Tokyo and Beijing as well as some of Korea’s most scenic locations like Busan and Jeju Island. These were some of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever had but what I will remember most vividly are the friendliness of Korean people, the phenomenal night life in Seoul, the delicious food and most of all the incredible friends that I made. I will always look upon my time spent at KU with great nostalgia. So much so that flying back home was more difficult to do than it was to fly out there!
Molly O MaraUniversity of Queensland I’ve always dreamt of making my way down under to the land of Australia, to live, to explore, to enjoy and with all this I also got to study and learn so much not only about my course of study in Pharmacology but also about myself as a person and about so many others from all over the world. Australia is nothing like the movies; it is a world of worlds. I met an outstanding amount of internationals many of whom became close friends whom I hope will remain so. The year abroad flew by, and was spent with few hours in lectures and labs and libraries and the rest meeting people, exploring the lands, diving with the fish turtles and whales, hopping with the kangaroos and koalas, driving a 4x4 on the world’s largest sand island, pitching tents and sleeping under the stars, roaming the city, swinging the Goon, bathing on the many beaches under blue skies. I joined the beach volley ball club, because that’s like their GAA. I travelled New Zealand and Fiji. I watched the New Year roll in under the Sydney harbour bridge. I ate sushi, kangaroo and BBQ’s. I studied amongst some of the best. I wore thongs and sun cream and I loved every minute, Carpe Diem.
Emma KorpiUniversity of California, Santa Barbara For me, my exchange was perhaps a bit different than for most UCD students. I was already abroad as I am from Finland, and only moved to Dublin a few years ago to start college. Still, my decision to go on an exchange to California for a year was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. California was everything I expected it to be, and so much more. The laid back attitude and concentration on having a good time was unbeliavable, and right from the beginning I met the greatest exchange students/Californians to start planning the year with. We could be skiing in Mammoth mountain one weekend and celebrating Thanksgiving on the beach the next. After having adjusted to the Irish way of studying it was also amazing to see another way of studying with the quarter system, and a very personal style of teaching. The UC colleges are known worldwide and the variety of courses offered was incredible. Being able to get used to the new way of studying gave me confidence and a wider view on my studies and the different opportunities in my academic career. All in all, the exchange year is a once in a lifetime experience and everyone who has the opportunity to do it, should not hesitate!
Eric KeeganKatholischeUniversitätEichstätt- Ingoldstadt Before going on Erasmus in Germany I wondered how everyone could seem to enjoy it so much. When coming home it finally hit me how much I didn’t want to leave. Everybody I spoke to not only came back after having the year of their life, but they also came back as new, independent, mature people. I decided to go on a road trip over rather than flying which meant that the experience began at my hall door in Dublin. I spent my first day of Erasmus at Oktoberfest with a few friends, my father and my uncle. Incredible! Over the year I went skiing in the Alps, went interrailing, visited other students on Erasmus, and went on trips to Vienna and Prague. I even played in various football tournaments representing our university all over Germany. Over the year I learned a lot about myself. It even got me more motivated for final year by gave me time to think about my future plans. I have nothing but good things to say about Erasmus. I understand the reservations people have about the whole thing in terms of financially, organisational wise and home-sickness. I had the same fears but once you get away they all disappear. If you get the opportunity to go – don’t even think twice. Erasmus is what you yourself make of it. You’ll love it!
Isabelle CartonUniversity of Melbourne Twelve Apostles, Great Ocean Road
Isabelle CartonUniversity of Melbourne I had an amazing experience in Melbourne. The life-long friends I have made and the beautiful campus really added to my time there. I lived in a resident college, which I'm really happy about as it was a great opportunity to meet Australians. The course work was tougher than that in UCD but manageable. What I loved most about Melbourne, was that there was always so much to do and see in the city. No day was ever the same. After I finished my exams I travelled the east coast with friends from Commerce who had been studying in different parts of Australia and New Zealand. I would definitely recommend anyone to go to the University of Melbourne and hope they will have as amazing a time as I did.
Barbara FeeneyUniversity of California, Santa Barbara I embarked on my year abroad with feelings of apprehension and great excitement and returned with a far broader perspective of the world and an collection of friends from all corners of the earth. I was so fortunate to have the opportunity to study at UCSB; the campus sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and is bordered by the St. Ynez Mountains. The surroundings are stunning and with a beach only five minutes walk from the library, it was difficult to be coaxed into the nearby classrooms! However the courses offered were fascinating, each taught by distinguished professors. I played on the college field hockey team, we trained 4 days a week and travelled throughout California at the weekends to play matches. It was a fantastic way to get to know other students and become involved in university life. Santa Barbara's location on the central coast of California allowed me the opportunity to explore California with great ease, as well as visiting neighbouring states. During my time at UCSB, I lived in Isla Vista, the town adjacent to the campus. With over 15,000 student residents, Isla Vista has a wonderful community atmosphere. The sun is perpetual, the people are friendly and the fun is ceaseless. There really is no better place to spend a year abroad!
Helena ConwayAix en Provence The life of a student is fun. The life of an Erasmus student, however, is epic. I was fortunate to choose a sunny location for my Erasmus – that of “Aix en Provence” in the South of France. From the very first day I arrived, I met the most incredible and friendly people from all over the globe. Every weekend we chose a random destination within France or abroad to make the most out of those cheap airline companies. We hit all the neighbouring big cities and each one of them brings back memories: Barcelona, Cannes, Madrid, Lyon, Malaga, Marrakesh, Paris, Geneva, Marseille, Saint Tropez, Monte Carlo – believe me the list does go on! Whether it was to go camel-riding in the Moroccan desert, befriend the captain of a tourist boat so that we could steer it, go off the beaten track in the French Alps. As a post-Erasmus student, I have developed an addiction to travelling and thanks to all my international friends I’ve had a place to stay – over the summer I went to Spain, Canada, England, various places in the South of France and in this New Year I am going to visit various other friends in Sweden, Germany and Slovakia. Life on Erasmus is never the same, always an adventure and something that should be experienced by all – go out there and see what the world has to offer you!
RoisinNearyUniversity of Queensland Going to Australia seemed like an option only for long down the line when college life was well and truly over. However, upon receiving an email regarding international exchanges to the University of Queensland I jumped (if not rocketed) at the chance! Studying at UQ was an absolutely amazing experience. Being a science student, the insight into future research and the top notch facilities available to students opened my eyes to an aspect of learning I hadn’t seen before. “an exchange is without a doubt the best year of your life”. I could hands down say I’ve learned more about myself in the 12months Australia than in the previous 20 years! I’ll mention a few of the things we got up to! Diving at the great barrier reef, driving a 4WD around the biggest sand island in the world, spending Christmas in Fiji, new year in Sydney, road-tripping around NZ ,not to talk of surfing Byron bay, visiting Perth, Melbourne – each experience as memorable as the next! Being abroad changes who you are, how you perceive others and especially how you view life. Having been abroad and given this opportunity, I am forever grateful and highly recommend anyone who has the chance– go for it!
Katy RobinsonUniversitéLibre de Bruxelles Going on my Erasmus exchange was one of the best choices I ever made. It enriched my college life both socially with making some amazing friends, and academically as I learnt so much which is really helping in my final year. I went to Brussels to study politics and so all my classes and everything I did was with people from all over the world. Being in the capital of European politics was incredibly exciting for me. I lived right next to the European quarter where all the EU insititutions are and was being taught international relations by people who were really out there doing it. I felt like I was in the middle of something new and always changing. I changed, one of the biggest way was learning a new language. I studied almost entirely in French without being able to say much more than 'bonjour' when I arrived. Studying in,chatting with people and living in the language is by far the best and most fun way to learn! Don't let anything stop you. Enhance your life, your college experience and yourself. There's a big, amazing world out there.
Megan RiceUniversity of Connecticut U-C-O-N-N, UConn, UConn, UConn!!! School spirit, team chants, Spring Break, cheerleaders, fraternity houses, sorority houses, Spring Weekend, the University of Connecticut has it all and even more! The college is located in the scenic and beautiful area known as Storrs and is ideally located in between both Boston and New York City. So in January 2010 I packed my bags and left my small village in Ireland and ventured across the “big pond” to Connecticut. At UConn, I was able to experience living in a dorm with a roommate, attend college games such as Basketball, Ice Hockey, Baseball and American Football, travel to South Beach Miami for Spring Break and participate in extra activities such as trips to Broadway shows, NBA matches and other activities such as oozeball and zumba. UConn also offers an outstanding educational experience. Classes can be more open and relaxed, with the opportunity to discuss more. The professors are approachable, enthusiastic and more than happy to have exchange students in their class. I have made lifelong friends, learned a lot about myself and how to cope in a different environment and have been able to make connections and contacts for my science career. UConn has been one of my most amazing experiences and I would urge anyone considering this college as a possibility to immediately make it a reality and as they say at UConn, student today, Huskies forever!
Fiona Cahill,Università degli Studi di Urbino Erasmus was something I kind of always vaguely knew I wanted to do. It serves as a genuine opportunity to use, learn and live the language you study. Naturally, when the actual time for decisions and action came I was nervous. I went to Urbino, Italy, I was the only student from UCD. Urbino is relatively small, the university has roughly the same amount of students as UCD but they make up around 80% of the population of the town. Erasmus in a smaller place gave me the opportunity to have an actual insight into real Italian life, not simply the Erasmus life. I lived with Italian girls who were both understanding and helpful when it came to my language difficulties. If you are feeling doubtful or worried, go. This is a chance to go live in a foreign country for a year with a built in support network both from the International office, fellow foreign students going through the same difficulties. If you are thinking of Italy, go to Urbino! You will have an amazing, unique experience. And if you go I strongly suggest that you stay in residences, it’s basic but cheap and the sense of community is wonderful. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I would do it again if I could.
Kenneth HoUniversity of Melbourne I've always wanted to go to Australia so when I found out they accepted me to go on exchange to Melbourne I could hardly contain my excitement and I knew from there on then I was going to have an amazing journey. I joined the many sport clubs and societies in the University to allow me to cement friendships and try some new activities such as surfing and wake boarding. When it came to our summer break, I headed to the great Australian Outback and camped in the desert with my travelling companions. As a sociology student going to class in the university was also a pleasure, to learn something fresh, new and different from my home university at Dublin. Going on exchange was truly a wonderful and extraordinary experience like none other that allowed me to come out of my comfort zone and change my life on how I view things and what I can do with my abilities. I can proudly say that I am now the Events Manager for ESN UCD society that represents international and exchange students. The education I received at Melbourne, the people I've met from around the world and the memories I've made from my exchange experience, to me are priceless and something I will treasure forever.