Tulsa to Dublin: Four Student Experiences (Part 2)

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: Trevor Weststeyn – College of Engineering and Natural Sciences

What are you studying at TU?
Mechanical Engineering

What classes did you take at UCD and what did they count towards?
3 Block classes and 2 major classes.

Why did you decide to study at UCD?
Being hearing impaired makes learning new languages a bit more challenging, especially when one is trying to learn material in a college course, so I wanted to go somewhere that would definitely teach everything in English. After considering my options I decided that UCD would work best for me in terms of having on-campus housing, as well as giving me the ability to travel to other countries around Europe.

How was your academic experience at UCD different than your experience at TU?
The campus change was obviously present as I switched from a school of around 3,500 students to around 32,000. The campus wasn’t overwhelmingly large, so that made some areas rather crowded at times. The lecture halls were gigantic compared to what I was used to here at TU. The way they scale classes at UCD was very different compared to TU. More often than not, a class’s final test or assignment would be worth around 60-70% of your grade!

What was the biggest benefit of studying abroad at UCD?
Going to UCD allowed me to break away from my typical TU routine and experience something completely different and new. I learned a ton of history about Ireland through the courses while actually being in Ireland. I can guarantee that if I were to take a class on Irish history in the U.S. it would be extremely different than what I learned at UCD. Ireland is a smaller country so there were also times where I got to go to historical locations that I learned about.

What would you recommend to students studying abroad at UCD in the future?
Go to the international student’s orientation to meet people! Going abroad with friends can certainly sound fun, but I highly recommend branching out not only to Irish students, but also other students that are also international students like you. I travelled with the Irish friends I made to Hungary, Belgium, and Spain. My international friends (from France and Ukraine) and I got to explore Ireland’s beautiful scenery as well. Don’t be afraid to study at UCD, or anywhere for that matter, if you might go alone. It will truly give you an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and maybe get a chance to learn more about yourself.

Student Profile: Elise Polk – Oxley College of Health Sciences

What are you studying?
Majoring in Speech-Language Pathology with minors in Psychology and Early Child Intervention.

What classes did you take at UCD?
Two elective courses and three courses for my Psychology minor.

Why did you decide to study at UCD?
I have to admit that the biggest pull for me was that I would be in a country where the primary language is English. Beyond that, I knew that Ireland is a country with a rich history and culture and a diverse landscape. When I say diverse landscape, I mean that while Dublin is a large, progressive, metropolitan city, going into the Irish countryside can feel like being transported back a couple of hundred years. There are the cities like Dublin and Glasgow, but there are also beaches, mountains for hiking, and beautiful country sides all over Ireland. Additionally, UCD was a smart choice for me academically. I was unable to take any courses for my major while abroad, but UCD has a large psychology department that allowed me lots of course options.

How was your academic experience at UCD different than your experience at TU?
The biggest difference was the size. TU is small already, but Speech-Language Pathology is an even smaller major. Most of my classes at TU range from 10-15 people maximum. The biggest class I have taken had 35 students. At UCD, I experienced what it was like to be in a huge lecture hall with around 100 people for the first time. It was weird for me being in a lecture where the professor had absolutely no idea who I was even at the end of the semester.

What was the biggest benefit of studying abroad at UCD?
Definitely the people I got to meet. UCD had tons of students studying abroad from all over the United States, and even from other European countries. I made friends that I still talk to every week that go to places nearby like the University of Kansas, and much farther away like U Mass and University of Rhode Island.

What would you recommend to students studying abroad at UCD in the future?
Be prepared for the weather! Everyone told me how rainy and dreary Ireland can be in the winter, but I kind of blew them off and thought it would not be a big deal. I was so wrong. I am pretty sure the sun did not come out between the months of January and March. I have lived in Oklahoma all my life, in the winter we can see all four seasons in one day. It was a huge adjustment for me trying to get used to the constant drizzle and the sun never coming out. It is not totally a negative thing though; the rain makes everything so green and beautiful in Ireland. I would also really recommend random roommates! I lived with three girls that I had never met or talked to before, and they were all great. One even became one of my best friends. I made other friends while I was there that would say the same thing about their roommate situation. It is always a risk, but I think it is a great way to make friends you can have for life and meet new people right when you get to UCD.