University: Griffith College Dublin
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
For me it was pretty quick to do a semester abroad because I was able to gain practical experience thanks to my training as an industrial clerk and one year of professional experience in marketing. I really wanted to take up the challenge of studying in another country within the EU. For me, the focus was on improving my English skills and at the same time getting to know a different culture, new people and ultimately a different country. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Brock University.
In the course of my training mentioned above I got the chance to work in the north of Ireland for two weeks. Due to my very positive experiences, the capital Dublin was already very appealing to me and that’s why it was perfect when I found out that the FH Dortmund has partner universities there. I very quickly chose Griffith College Dublin and got in touch with MicroEdu. The support in the application process was very helpful as MicroEdu took care of most of it. Basically, all I had to do was provide personal information, which was then forwarded to the college. Everything else went by itself and this was a great support, since the application processes differ abroad. For this reason I can only recommend it and would consult MicroEdu again at any time.
General information about the university
Griffith College Dublin’s campus consists of historic buildings dating from 1813, but the college was not founded there until 1974. It is Ireland’s largest independent 3rd level institution, meaning students can go there for a PhD. With around 21,000 students at three campuses in Cork, Dublin and Limerick, the college has a national footprint and a growing international reputation for first-class student success. The Dublin location has around 7,000 students, including around 1,400 international students from over 77 countries worldwide. Griffith College recognizes the benefits of cultural exchangeabout a personal as well as professional development of the students. For this reason, it maintains partnerships with more than 140 universities and colleges around the world.
There is a wide range of offers at all three locations: from internationally recognized bachelor’s and master’s courses to further training and further education opportunities. There’s something for everyone, so today full-time and part-time students at Griffith College Dublin continue to expand their knowledge. It should also be noted that it is a designated educational institute for the “Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)”. After successful completion, many students successfully start their careers and can work in different areas such as economics, computer science, tourism, design, law, Realize journalism and visualized media, music and theater – in Ireland as well as internationally.
On-site support and organization
The semester at Griffith College began with an “Introduction Week”. On Wednesday, September 14, 2016, the “International Student Information Session” took place. There the “International Handbook 2016-2017” was handed to us and explained in broad terms. It contained valuable information regarding general and daily life in Ireland and Dublin, important information about the college and studying there, campus life and descriptions of leisure activities. In addition, we received general information about the International Office, the course lists and a list of the contact details of all contact persons in the respective departments.
A day later, the official welcome party for the international students took place in a large lecture hall. There we were warmly welcomed with a small welcome bag.
The organization was very good, because each student received a colored sticker that corresponded to his subject. This was very helpful, as after the lunch break all students were assigned to their area manager and the timetables were handed out. Before that, we were welcomed by the chairman Prof. Diarmuid Hegarty, among others, and the Student Union introduced itself with its leisure activities.
We received a lot of help that day and a sense of what to expect. This also included the library on campus, where the employees were always friendly in demonstrating and explaining how to use the online resources provided correctly.
In the weeks that followed, each of us was given the opportunity to view the courses that aroused personal interest. This brought with it the great advantage of getting an overview of the topics and requirements dealt with before wrong decisions were made.
Descriptions of the courses taken
The range of courses at Griffith College Dublin is very broad and it was therefore difficult to make a decision. In the end, I decided with a clear conscience to study “Consumer Behaviour” (10 ECTS), “Integrated Marketing Communications”(5 ECTS) and “Operations Management” (5 ECTS).
The contents of each course are conveyed to each student quickly and yet understandably by the respective lecturer. On a positive note, questions and comments were welcome at any time in order to clear up any ambiguities immediately. Instruction consisted of two lectures and one tutorial per week in each subject. In this way, every student was guaranteed adequate support.
The number of visitors depends on the respective subject, so that some courses are even offered more often. Due to numerous course overlaps, there is also the possibility to attend evening courses, which are usually intended for part-time students. These take place every two weeks and compared to the courses offered during the day, the evening courses have a higher intensity.
In general, the workload differs from the Fachhochschule Dortmund: Each student has to work on a task during the semester, the content of which depends on the respective subject and entails very different requirements and deadlines. The semester also includes an “Assignment Week” for this purpose, which in my case corresponds to 40% of the overall grade. The remaining 60% result from a final examination at the end of the semester. There are generally two exam periods during the year at the college: January and May. The repeat exams take place in August.
In my major “Consumer Behaviour”I got to know the importance of consumer behavior in order to develop targeted marketing strategies. We elaborated the spectrum of individual and environmental factors influencing consumer purchasing behavior and examined the main models of consumer decision-making processes. It was then very exciting to find out how influential marketing can be on their purchasing behavior and how important sensitivity is in this regard. My thesis was about a food manufacturer in Dublin who developed a new range of protein-rich snacks. To do this, each student had to choose an individual product and undertake a market segmentation. The report also included an analysis of three selected consumer influencers, which are extremely important for the development of a marketing plan. Finally, recommendations were made with regard to the marketing mix.
The second marketing subject “Integrated Marketing Communications”was offered for the first time this semester. In terms of content, it was about developing an approach to deliver consistent messages to target markets. Promotional activities and public relations are used with a variety of media, such as advertisements on radio, television and social media. Furthermore, we examined all aspects of the communication process between companies and consumers. The lessons consisted of a lot of group work and descriptive example videos, which brought the practice closer. My thesis was about an advertising campaign about ALDI, which each of us course participants should analyze and compare with another.Our professor invited the two advertising designers of this campaign to this topic, who gave an interesting lecture. They informed us about their approach to creating the campaign, what to consider, what problems can arise and much more.
Both marketing lectures were given by the same professor. She structured them very well and varied, so that the common thread was easily recognizable. The lecturer checked our level of knowledge with small tests at the end of each topic block. This test was for the students themselves, because everyone could find out to what extent a topic was understood and which slides should be better explored again.
My third subject “Operations Management” took place as an evening event every two weeks. We received an introduction to the main principles, strategies, models and approaches used by organizations in managing their business operations. We also got to know techniques and strategies in operational management. In this subject, too, an individual specialist work had to be created. For this purpose, each student selected a company in which the competitive strategy – either differentiation, cost leadership or response – was analyzed with regard to five out of ten self-selected operations management decisions. The pace of the lectures was quite fast, but the professor systematically systematized the topics, so that all students were well prepared for the exam. In addition, questions regarding the technical work or questions of understanding were clarified and discussed at any time.
Personally, I found that people in Ireland and Dublin are friendly, open-minded and very helpful. The warm welcome from my host parents at the airport and in my accommodation gave me a great feeling. I was given a courteous and familiar impression, so that I could generally feel at home.
In order to get decent accommodation in Dublin, it is very important to allow plenty of time. The housing market is very problematic and there is only a very limited number of places in student residences, so many students have to live in shared flats and hostels. However, multiple investments in new accommodation for the students are planned to counteract this problem. The organization “Ziggurat”, for example, wants to spend almost €4 million to give 4,000 students a place to live.
The financial income in turn depends on the personal standard of living. In general, however, the maintenance costs are higher than in Germany.
I decided to live with a host family. This variant also has its advantages and disadvantages: I paid €25 per day and unfortunately this accommodation was around 9 km outside of Dublin. This led to major problems, especially in the first few weeks, due to multiple bus strikes. Staying with a host family was particularly beneficial during this time because the host father could drop me off and take me back home on my way to work at college. In my accommodation I also had free WiFi, a small breakfast and laundry included. The big advantage is that I was not alone and always had someone to talk to.
Both the tuition fees (€3,250) and the cost of living are considerably higher than in Germany – especially in a big city. However, these in turn depend on personal requirements. Groceries are not necessarily significantly more expensive, but it is cheaper – especially for students – to go shopping in supermarkets. In addition, the bus rides were very expensive because there is no semester ticket in Ireland like in Germany. Even if you took advantage of the discounted offer for students, there were still some costs. My financing consisted of savings, support from the BAföG office and my family.
In Dublin there are numerous ways to make your free time exciting : Especially if you are staying in Dublin for the first time, it makes sense and is exciting to take advantage of tourist offers, such as a city tour, museums or other excursions to sights and neighboring towns. The college also offers a number of events to get away from student life for a few hours and get to know the area, the countryside and Irish culture. Furthermore, students at the college can participate in various sports activities such as basketball, table tennis or badminton.
In contrast to FH Dortmund, Griffith College mainly had smaller courses with around 50 students, which allowed for more intensive and personal instruction. The lecturers remembered the names of the students and involved them more in the lecture.
It was very unusual for me to call the lecturers by their first names. Nevertheless, this automatically conveyed the positive feeling of flatter hierarchies, which made dealing with each other very pleasant. In addition, attendance lists were kept, which had to be signed at each lecture. I see this as a positive, in contrast to Dortmund, where attendance is not checked. At Griffith College, students very rarely arrived late or left a course early. In addition, the use of mobile phones was prohibited.
After initial difficulties in understanding due to the Irish accent, I quickly got used to it and was able to understand the connections without any problems. The daily small talk with my host parents, passers-by on the street or other students was also possible without any problems. Overall I would say that my English language skills have improved a lot.
Due to the fact that I have already completed vocational training and was able to gain experience in everyday work, a semester abroad was the right decision for me.
The semester abroad in Dublin met my expectations in many respects. Studying in another country, in another language, gave me a lot of pleasure, even if the requirements were very high: a term paper and an exam were a challenge. Nevertheless, I am proud to have mastered everything positively. I notice progress in the technical as well as in the linguistic area and this will have an advantageous effect on my further course of studies and later professional life.
My expectations of the professors at Griffith College were exceeded. I found the structure of the lectures, the interaction with the students and the support to be open, friendly and informal. Nevertheless, the respect was not lost. I also got to know students from all over the world, which also had a positive effect on my language skills. In addition, the small inhibitions about approaching other people disappeared.
Due to the fact that I spent several months in another country without family and friends, I was mostly on my own. I was basically “forced” to use and further develop my independence, my talent for organization and my openness.
The only downside to my time in Dublin was living quite a distance from the college and the city. I had to rely on the bus, which took about 45-60 minutes to get there – plus the high costs. Therefore, the loss of time was enormous and personally limited me quite a bit. Should I have another stay abroad in front of me in the future, I will focus on living more centrally. However, after these months I realized that I am a person who likes to get to know other people and cultures for several weeks, but then prefers the familiar environment with family and friends.
Overall, I recommend every student who has the opportunity to complete a stay abroad at another university. The professional as well as personal development is enormous. And if you don’t want to travel to the other end of the world right away, you’re in good hands in Dublin: Many German students often flew home for a weekend or had visitors from home, due to the relatively short journey and, if they were lucky, cheaper flights. If you decide to do a semester abroad, I recommend early planning and organization. Also, you should be aware that it will be very expensive.
Not everything went as I had planned, but I see this experience as an enrichment for my future. After all, openness, spontaneity and adaptability are also particularly important in professional life.