Tulsa to Dublin: Four Student Experiences (Part 1)

A Brief Introduction to UCD

Last year alone, over 300,000 U.S. students enrolled in domestic universities studied abroad for credit. That number represents a population of around 10% of all U.S. college graduates. Large host universities with a wide variety of major options are becoming more and more attractive to collegiate students as the desire to study abroad becomes more popular. University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland is a globally-ranked university comprised of roughly 34,000 students, with over 8,000 international students from all around the world. Over the 2017-2018 school year, the University of Tulsa sent 18 undergraduate students to UCD, representing all four undergraduate academic colleges at TU.

Student Profile: Tori Seaver – Kendall College of Arts and Sciences

What are you studying?
Major: Music
Minors: Spanish and Anthropology
Certificate: International Studies

What classes did you take at UCD?
Classes for my music major and anthropology minor as well as a block course.

Why did you decide to study at UCD?
Because I’m a music major, my options for study abroad were somewhat limited to begin with, and then adding my combination of an international studies certificate and Spanish and anthropology minors I needed to make sure I could take classes that could fulfill any of those requirements. Especially going as a senior I wanted to make sure that I could still graduate on time. With that combination, I had pretty much narrowed the program options down to UCD and a school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Since I went to Argentina in high school I decided that Dublin would be a better option for me personally because it would give me the opportunity to explore a city and country that I had never visited before and it would also give me the chance to travel around Europe, which was something that I really was looking for out of a study abroad experience.

How was your academic experience at UCD different than your experience at TU?
There were quite a few difference between studying at UCD and studying at TU, including class size and schedule just to name a few. For the first time in my college experience I didn’t have classes on Fridays, so I was able to travel and see a lot outside of Dublin itself. Based on the small class size at TU the professors really know your name and often know a lot about your life, but at UCD the classes often have 100+ students in them. This was definitely something that I had to get used to throughout the semester, but I’m glad that I got exposure to a situation like that before continuing onto larger class sizes in law school. Also, another thing that was different was how the classes are evaluated. At TU the majority of classes have multiple exams or essays throughout the semester so that students have an idea of where their grades will be and if they need help it’s a lot easier to know early on. At UCD the assessment is largely based on your final exam and sometimes a midterm project or smaller essay. This definitely makes it a little more challenging to know where you’re at, especially compared to a school like TU.

What was the biggest benefit of studying abroad at UCD?
I think what I got most out of studying at UCD was an overall knowledge of a different culture. I was lucky to make friends with other students who were studying abroad and I was so thankful that I was one of the only Americans in that friend group. I felt like I was really able to immerse myself in both Irish and European culture and I learned so much about the country of Ireland and especially more about their political and social systems which both really interest me. I also was able to continue working on my research while I was abroad which was really cool because it gave me a new perspective on global issues that I would not have gotten just talking to people in the United States. I guess to summarize, I think the biggest benefit of studying abroad at UCD is that I now have connections across the world.

What would you recommend to students studying abroad at UCD in the future?
I would say don’t be afraid to reach out and say yes to everything. My biggest fear going abroad was that I was not going to make friends. Within my first 24 hours I realized how foolish I was to think that! Once you’ve established yourself it’s a lot easier to say no to things (because you don’t want to get burned out) but at first it’s really important to get as involved as you can. Also, join societies!! Even if you go to one or two meetings you’ll be able to interact with Irish students and most likely learn something in the process. Either way, make the most of your experience, whatever that means to you, and don’t be afraid to try new things that you maybe wouldn’t normally do at home!

Student Profile: Michael Haenni – Collins College of Business

What are you studying?
Major: Accounting

What classes did you take at UCD?
Blocks and Electives

Why did you decide to study at UCD?
I decided to study at UCD because I wanted to study in an English speaking country as I don’t have any foreign language majors or minors. I also wanted to study in Europe, so I could have the opportunity to more easily visit countries throughout Europe.

How was your academic experience at UCD different than your experience at TU?
The biggest differences in my academic experience at UCD included class sizes as all of my classes were in large lecture with hundreds of students, so it was more difficult to build connections with my professors. Also, all of my classes had very little homework, so grades depended solely on midterm and final exam grades. In contrast, my TU classes tend to have a variety of ways to gain points, so the grade is not reliant on performance on exams.

What was the biggest benefit of studying abroad at UCD?
The biggest benefit of studying abroad at UCD was the opportunity to experience learning in a whole new environment because the contrasting style of teaching at UCD helped me to grow more as a student. It taught me to study in different more successful ways that I brought back to my studies at TU.

What would you recommend to students studying abroad at UCD in the future?For future students, I would recommend staying engaged in your classes and making sure to try and make meaningful connections with your professors and the students around you as these connections can be extremely helpful to your studies while there and in the future.