University: Griffith College Dublin
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Since I didn’t get a place in the Erasmus program at my university, but was only rejected in February, I had to look around for a private semester abroad at short notice. However, this was not a problem with MicroEdu and everything went quickly and easily. If you had any questions or problems during the application process, the MicroEdu team was there to help and advise you. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Boston University.
I chose Dublin because on the one hand it should be an English-speaking country and on the other hand it is significantly cheaper compared to Australia or the UK.
I booked a flight soon and applied for a free credit card for students. In Ireland you can really pay for everything with a credit card, even if it’s just chocolate at the kiosk. It is also advantageous to get an adapter at home and to test whether all the important plugs fit, for example I had problems finding a suitable one for my laptop. Since Ireland is in the EU, no other preparations had to be made.
The airport is not far from Dublin and there are several buses going into the center from there. However, you should take a good look at which bus you want to take, where the stops are and how you can get to your booked accommodation from there. The cheapest but most inconvenient option is to travel by Dublin Bus, which takes a long time to arrive in central Dublin. Other buses go directly, but are a little more expensive.
For the first few days in Dublin, I got hold of an Irish phone number (lots of cheap offers for prepaid rates), explored the city, registered at the International Office in the college and started looking for a room.
After I found out at home that accommodations on relevant sites like daft.ie are usually for rent “immediately” and the viewing takes place on the same day or the next day at the latest, I didn’t bother with a room at first, but booked accommodation in a hostel for the first 10 days. Since there are a lot of students looking for accommodation in Dublin at the beginning of the semester, you should look for a room in a hostel early on in order to get away as cheaply as possible. I was very lucky when looking for a room and the third viewing was a hit. But I also met some people in my hostel who had been looking for two weeks. The rooms are often very small and anything but modern and renovated, there are usually up to 50 other applicants for a room and on top of that, living in Dublin is very, very expensive. Many ads on the Internet are also scams, so never transfer money in advance and have the key handed over to you personally.
I declined the possibility of moving into the dorms in advance because they are incredibly expensive even for shared rooms and it is also not allowed to take other people into the room. Since my sister definitely wanted to visit me, that was not an option. From friends who then lived in the dorm, I also heard that the rooms were not really in a good condition and that the fire alarm went off at least once a week at night.
Studies at the GCD
The GCD is rather small compared to my home university and consists almost exclusively of students from other countries. There are hardly any Irish people here, but there are many Germans, French and Asians. The small groups often keep to themselves, so that in the end, apart from with the lecturers, one speaks almost exclusively German.
In the introductory weeks, any course could be attended before deciding what to take. The range of subjects is rather clear, so you can’t choose too much and I was particularly disappointed with the lack of an opportunity to take language or computer courses. Unfortunately, the process of subject selection was made significantly more difficult by repeatedly changing timetables, subjects that regularly overlap by 15 – 30 minutes and, in some cases, by a lack of information as to whether an examination would be offered in January or not.
Studying here is different from what I’m used to here. The amount of material is significantly smaller, a lot of examples are used and everything is repeated over and over again. It gets annoying after a few weeks at the latest, I sometimes had the feeling that they thought we were a bit stupid and kept emphasizing how demanding and difficult what we had just gone through was. After 45 minutes at the latest there is a 10-minute break, so a maximum of 2 hours of lectures are drawn out of 2-3 hours and only artificially lengthened. The lecturers are mostly nice and friendly, in Ireland people address each other by their first names, but sometimes I had my doubts about the qualifications. They actually all come from industry and don’t have a doctorate or even a professorship, which in principle wouldn’t have bothered me, however, it was often not possible to answer any more in-depth questions from students, especially not in deviation from the script. A statement that for fear of saying something wrong, the script could only be read out and no further questions could be answered, made me doubt the sense of the event and the suitability of some of the lecturers.
In general, a term paper of around 2500 words and an exam at the end of the semester must be written in each subject. In my opinion, the library unfortunately only has a very poor offer, closes relatively early and is only open to a limited extent on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays. It was very annoying, especially during homework and exams, which are all very close together. Unfortunately, the number of computers provided in the library is absolutely insufficient and you have to wait a very long time until one becomes free, so unfortunately you cannot print something out, as it is not possible to print directly from a USB stick. Everyone can think what he or she wants, I myself felt a little cheated for the money I paid.
The food in the canteen was very good, but also very expensive for students (approx. €7 for lunch), so I very rarely actually ate something there and usually brought something with me.
Griffith College’s Student Union offers several societies for sports, billiards, poker, beer pong, etc. However, the organization was extremely chaotic and the communication very poor. In terms of sports, there was unfortunately hardly anything offered for girls, unfortunately you never heard anything about the promised yoga, dance or football courses for which you could sign up at the beginning. There is also no gym where you could have signed up for a discount or something similar. There are table tennis and billiard tables, which are also used, but the advertised Playstation was probably broken. The SU also offers some parties and trips, despite the often chaotic organization, I can only highly recommend taking part. You get to know a lot of new people and have a lot of fun, for example surfing on the west coast of Ireland or a Halloween party.
Everyday life and free time
Dublin is quite a colorful and lively city, there are always a lot of people on the move and the atmosphere is great.Dublin is not particularly big, after the first few weeks you have already seen everything. The variety of pubs and bars, on the other hand, is huge, you could go somewhere else every evening, it would still be busy and loud, the day of the week doesn’t matter and there is often live music. However, partying in Dublin is, who would have thought it, extremely expensive. You can also get traditional food in every pub, but it’s not that varied and after a few times you’ll get tired of fish & chips. Since going out to eat is also very expensive again, I almost only cooked for myself. In the Tesco supermarkets, prices are often reduced towards the evening, which will soon expire and you can make great bargains. You should also pay attention to offers, so you can save a lot of money.
It’s easy to travel from Dublin, there are buses to many other cities in Ireland and you can fly cheaply to London or Edinburgh. It’s nice when you can rent a car with others to drive around the country a bit, you’re also much more flexible and can get to less touristy corners. The people in Ireland are super nice, friendly, helpful and always very interested.
Unfortunately, the Dublin buses are incredibly unreliable and the connections are usually bad. There is no fixed timetable, the bus comes when it comes or sometimes not at all. If you are dependent on a specific line, you unfortunately have to wait 50 minutes at a stop. You can get to the city from anywhere, but the districts themselves are hardly connected. So you often have to drive to the center and take another line out again. 3 km as the crow flies can easily turn into a 1.5 hour bus ride. Since you also pay a flat rate every time you get on (even when changing trains!), this can quickly become expensive. You usually pay directly on the bus, but you need a lot of small change. The bus driver does not change, you only get a receipt for the overpaid which you can then have paid out again in the center at Dublin Bus. It is therefore worthwhile to have a studentleapcard, this is loaded with money to pay and you are also capped at a price of €5 per day and €20 per week. You can also buy the student leap card at the GCD during the first week.
When you get used to the somewhat chaotic traffic and the terrible traffic lights, a bike is definitely a good alternative. There are plenty of cycle lanes outside of the city center and Dublin is not overly hilly. In winter, however, when it rains a lot, the streets flood quickly and you get extremely wet. The often very strong wind also makes cycling in Dublin often uncomfortable. In the city center itself you can reach everything important but also very well on foot, since Dublin is really not that big.