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Quinn Report - Dublin, Ireland
for more comments, please check out the binders in 1055 BIF
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Dublin Castle
- The Spire
- Temple Bar area
- Trinity College
- The countryside
“Dublin has a very good bus system. Cost around 1.50EU per trip, but takes you just about anywhere you need to go in a timely manner. To visit other parts of Ireland you can hop on a bus at the main station at city centre. Belfast is the only other city you need transportation in. Taxi’s are always around, but may try to rip you off.”
- Craic = fun (a Gaelic Irish word)
- Irish = Gaelic (what we called the Gaelic Language they simply call Irish)
- Cheers = please, thanks, or cheers
- Mate = friend or pal
- Quid = any unit of money
- Queue = line
- Match = sports game
- City Centre = downtown area
- Erasmus = exchange student
- Besides craic they are interchangeable with England and Australia as far as I know
“You need to bring dark shoes to get into pubs and clubs, sneakers are not allowed. Other than that anything really goes. Canberra (an Aussy brand similar to Nike) is very popular and it seems like sneakers are catching on with the young “hip” crowd. Girls seem to get done up for class, while the guys do whatever. Abercrombie or other expensive American brands are popular, but can also been seen as snotty because most Irish can’t afford them. Outside of the nightlife it is not very important.”
“The food isn’t too different except for more potato products. Water comes carbonated a lot which taste awful in my opinion. Everything tastes a little different because they don’t use as many preservatives and as such they don’t last as long, but that’s an easy adjustment. There are vegetarian options if you make it work; I wasn’t keeping my eye out for it.”
“Be grateful you are going to an English speaking culture. We found some Irish friends quick and I basically just asked questions for about 2 weeks. As long as you are open and want to learn it isn’t a shock, it is actually a fun experience. If you get overwhelmed and start to worry it’s only going to hurt you. Ask questions, learn things, meet people, this is what the whole experience is all about.
Differences – Switches for outlets, small fridges, small cars, traffic on other side, the words I listed above, overall attitude (much more friendly and laid back), much more sarcastic people, poor insulation, sports (rugby and soccer), weather (temperate and mild, usually the same as the day before – light rain in the AM and overcast in the afternoon, temperature always between 30-70 F), and very few students have TVs (which you will learn to love, I hope…).”
“Always live music playing at the pubs. UCD has a pub on campus which serves good food and students drop by throughout the day. More students are active in sports, and pickup matches are more prevalent. The nightlife is pubs and clubs. Pubs are the same as bars, but a little lower key although each one is a little different. Clubs are more popular with the young crowd, but are not the typically techno euro you may think of. Check them all out and see what you like; they all have their own vibe in Dublin. My favorites were Doyle’s (late night pub with dancing on the top floor), Copper Face Jacks (wild rowdy place, half pub half dance pub, can be shady), and O’Neil’s (low key pub with the best Guinness in town).”
“I lived on campus (UCD) in the dorms and I would definitely live there again. Don’t live at Blackrock, that is the grad school, other than that it doesn’t really matter. Only downside is they put you in rooms with all exchange students. Some people lived in houses closer to city centre, but then they had to take a bus to class which seemed like a much bigger hassle. They also weren’t as exposed to as many Irish students.”
“I did not set a budget because I am foolish and never do. I spent all of my money and had to have my parents hook me up with some extra cash. I spend about $10K, but it was at the time of the worst exchange rate (1.6EU = $1) and I’m that guy who spends more money then everyone else. Still, well worth it.”
“At the University College of Dublin, I took “Cases in Corp Fin”, “Derivatives, Futures, and Options,” “Financial Intermediaries,” “Cultural Diversity in Business,” and the required Irish History class. All got 3 credit hours at U of I and I don’t know the course numbers.
The classes meet once a week so they are more important to attend. They meet for three hours long which can be hard, but try to go and pay attention. Most students just browse the internet the whole time which seems odd at first, but the professors aren’t as good as they are at U of I so it’s inevitable. Get a good schedule so you can travel on the weekends. They give very little homework and my FIN classes had 80-100% of our grade determined by the final. Puts a lot of pressure on you to do well on it, but personally I liked it more. I had one group project which seemed very easy because U of I students seem far more prepared for presentations and group work. The work is much less demanding, but you are there to see Ireland and Europe anyway.”
Preparation Before Studying Abroad
“I took a horrible load the semester before (Econ 302, Fin 300, and Accy 301) and got a little ahead. As a graduating senior I don’t have any blow off classes, but I can also say I saw Europe where others can’t. It helps a lot with job searches too!”
From Dublin, students traveled to:
- London, UK
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Barcelona, Spain
- Rome, Italy
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Nice, France
Cheapest place to travel to:
“London and Dublin were the two most expensive cities, as well as Zurich in Switzerland.”
“All pretty cheap if you fly Ryan Air. Just be careful of the add-on charges that they get you with. They also are usually an hour to two hours away from your end destination so be careful you know where your going and how you will get there. Don’t stress too much when you travel. Have a few solid plans and just let the rest happen. Rail passes are a sweet concept, but probably don’t work out for those studying abroad. If you will travel for about a month straight on mainland Europe it’s worth it, otherwise it might be more of a hassle and more expensive.”
- Aran Islands – Artists Hostel
- Interlocken, Switzerland – The Balmer’s Hostel
- Gimmewald, Switzerland – The Mountain Hostel *** My favorite place of all – if you like the outdoors you have to go here, as close to the summer as you can!!!
Rome, Italy - Hostel Alessandro Palace – Not the best area of Rome, but most aren’t
Nice, France - Villa Saint Exupery – Very helpful in a place where you need the most help
“Europe’s Famous Hostels” – They are in all the most popular destinations. Each one is one of the best hostels in the area, you just have to be careful because they try and get you to party at the hostel. They are usually filled with mostly Americans and a lot of people have too much fun in the hostel instead of experiencing the location they are at.
Fun things to do in the other countries:
- Nice, France – The hostel above give you day trips along the French Riviera which I highly recommend, some of the most beautiful landscapes.
- Gimmewald, Switzerland – The hostel listed above serves as your base for hiking in the Swiss Alps. You actually have to take a gondola to get to the hostel. You can also reach the top of Europe from here and if you go in July or August you can hike to it.
- All of Ireland – Go to small cities like Kinsale, Killkenny, etc and check out as many pubs as possible. Talk to as many locals as you can, it will be easy to make friends. The live music is a lot of times impromptu and it is always amazing. Try and learn some classic Irish songs like Danny Boy and others so you can sign along.
- Amsterdam – Check out the coffeeshops and red light district because the city is starting to crack down on its freedoms. They may not be there in 10-20 years so experience it while you can… if you choose to do so. The Heineken Brewery is supposed to be awesome (they just redid it so I didn’t see it), the “free” tour is super informational on a city like no other, and the Van Gough museum is overrated (they don’t even have Starry Night!), but I would still check it out. Anne Frank’s house is there too.
“There are too many favorite memories to pick just one. If I had to pick I would say the people. Make Irish friends and get to know those you’re going with beforehand. Hopefully you click and can have some sweet travel buddies. Other than that, it is being able to see so many amazing places and experience so many diverse cultures all within a few months. It blew my mind and changed my life. Get excited.”
“Ask questions, most importantly. But not far behind, see as much as you can, travel as much as you can, meet as many people as you can, and learn to an open book (be yourself and open to everyone). This is the experience of a lifetime, so don’t forget it. Don’t waste time, do things, anything. When you get like me and realize that you have to start work in a few months and that you can never travel for a full two weeks you will appreciate the experience even more. Be grateful for your opportunity because you’re lucky to get it. And did I mention do as much as you can?
Something very important to myself, don’t be an “ignorant American.” Many foreign countries think that all Americans are ignorant, stuck up, buffoons, and for good reason thanks to Bush and Cheney. I am by no means saying that you will be discriminated or looked down upon for being American, but if you are ignorant, or in France, you might be (There are “pub crawls” in all the major cities throughout Europe almost every night. This is just a company taking advantage of American tourists. It winds up being a huge number of Americans going around to otherwise empty pubs and getting hammered for a little below the average price. Don’t ever go on one of these, you are missing the entire point of being abroad if you do. I also saw a group of sorority girls in Amsterdam who all wore matching t-shirts that said “The Dam Crawl ’08,” they were loud, obnoxious, and starved for attention. I was embarrassed to be an American). Back to my real point though, their way of life is different in many ways. During your experience you are there to learn it and become consumed in it, not to tell the world how much better we have it. You are representing the States in everything you do. So learn their ways of life (in all places you travel) and become part of it, don’t bring ours onto them. You’re the guest, act like it.
With all that being said the Irish love Americans, but will sarcastically joke about our luxuries and our ways of doing some things. They love talking about our politics too.
Enjoy your experience to the fullest. Take as many pictures as you can and take a log of some sort. You’re going to want to go back for the rest of your life, try and remember that while you are there.”
“While in Ireland you definitely need to see country side! In particular, you need to see the Aran Islands. They are off the west coast of Ireland near Galway and the Cliffs of Moher. Take a week long trip and see them all at once. Stay in Galway two nights, take one day to the Cliffs and the other to soak up Galway (the nightlife is a lot of fun, not a ton to do during the day). Then spend 2 full days on Inis Mor, the largest island of the three. It is like going back into time. You take a short ferry and arrive on this island that has a population of only 700-800 people. They got electricity in the 1970’s; there are two pubs, three Hostels, three restaurants, one convenient store, and one ATM on the whole island! The people are amazing. Be sure to stay at The Artist Hostel with Marion. She is an awesome lady who is very helpful. Take a day long bike ride and try to see the whole island, it is very tiring and you’ll be sore, but it’s worth it. There are ruins of the stone plot lines from before the potato famine that are now empty lots and there is the largest Celtic circle castle in Ireland at the end of a cliff. Very different and loads of fun, enjoy!”
All answers provided by:
UCD Spring 2008