University: Griffith College Dublin
Field of study: journalism
Study type: semester abroad
When I was thinking about a semester abroad, like many others, I was pretty dissatisfied with the partner universities of my university in Hanover. Since I wanted to go to Ireland, I googled ” semester abroad Ireland ” and came across MicroEdu. What immediately struck me as positive was that all the costs of studying are listed directly on the university website, so there are no hidden costs. Since I really couldn’t imagine it and expected the tuition fees in Ireland to be much higher, I called MicroEdu a year before the planned semester abroad and they immediately gave me very nice help. On the same day I received course lists and information on the Griffith College Dublin and we have agreed to be in touch again when the application is due. Check toppharmacyschools.org to see Auckland University of Technology study abroad opportunities.
It then went on in the same way, I decided to go in the summer semester from January 2016, so I contacted CoCo again last September to write the application. I received all the documents straight away, but I had until the end of October to hand them in. In addition, I had to take a language test, for which the DAAD is recommended, which is recognized by the GCD and in contrast to the TOEFL or IELTS only costs 20€ and in my case it could also be completed at the Leibniz University in Hanover. After I had submitted everything, it took a while before I got an answer, but this was due to the fact that there was a staff change in the International Office of the GCD – all other students felt the same way. As a rule, however, you will be informed relatively early on and, in principle, you will have a guarantee from CoCo beforehand, so that you do not have to worry so much. In November I knew and then you still have enough time to look for accommodation, because in Ireland everything is not always planned as early as in Germany;-) All in all I found the application process via CoCo very pleasant and uncomplicated, whenever I had a question, I always got an answer straight away, even when I was already in Dublin, and you always had the feeling that you still had a contact person in Germany.
I was lucky enough to stay with a family friend until the end of March, but after that I had to look for something new. That wasn’t a problem at all though, I recommend the Facebook group “Germans and German Speaking in Dublin”. Several Germans wrote to me there straight away and that’s how I finally found a two-week temporary accommodation and then my final apartment in the Docklands. Regardless of the apartment search, the people there are really nice and helpful, whether they need a drill or are looking for other Germans who want to watch a European Championship game with them. Otherwise, there are also many flat share groups on Facebook, with offers for large and small budgets. I also looked at daft.ie, but that didn’t convince me that much, because unfortunately you don’t get an answer from most people. I can only recommend never transferring money to anyone beforehand, because there are currently a lot of “scams”, i.e. fraudsters who ask a lot of money in advance for apartments that ultimately don’t even exist. But: among the Irish and other international students, Germans are very welcome in the apartments because we have the reputation of being very tidy, conscientious and reliable when it comes to paying the rent. You should plan for at least €500 a month plus additional costs for a single room. Dublin is roughly comparable to Munich.
I initially lived in Kilmainham, Dublin 8, from where I could walk to the university. After that I lived in Rathfarnham, D14 for a short time and in Docklands, D1 for the last two months. The latter were relatively far away from the GCD, but the bus network is very good in Dublin, so that you could always be at the college within 20 minutes (although you should always plan a bus earlier, because sometimes none comes at all). Dublin 8 and 6 are certainly the best areas to live in as far as being close to colleges is concerned, but as I said, Dublin is not particularly big and at the start of the semester, when everyone is looking, you shouldn’t go through the stress of trying to find something in those areas, because Even if you live a little further away, it’s relatively easy to get to the university : -)
I really liked the mentoring at Griffith College, sometimes it took a little longer to get an answer, but that’s completely normal, especially at the beginning of the semester with so many students. The most important thing is that everyone is always friendly and you can always talk to someone if you have a problem. On the very first day I stood alone in front of the cafeteria and met a French woman there who was also new and neither of us knew where the introduction was to take place. A lecturer then approached us and explained everything to us, took us to the canteen and even bought us a coffee at Starbucks there. During the introduction, our contact person in the International Office offered to come by anytime if we had questions or were just homesick and would like to talk to someone.everyone was very nice and open.
Studies and courses
As far as the introduction to the course is concerned, I have to say that I found it quite chaotic for the first four weeks, which is completely normal by Irish standards and GCD seems to be pretty ‘organized’ too. All students received an introduction to the faculty on the second day, there were course lists there and then you had to enter which courses you would like to take. Unfortunately, half of the subjects overlapped so that at some point the International Office also got stuck and I simply chose the courses that interested me the most. Nevertheless, one could contact the faculty at any time and obtain information. The first two weeks we had time to go to any course that interested us, also from other faculties. On the one hand, that was interesting because you could take the time to decide what you really wanted to prove. On the other hand, you also study together with students who are doing a full degree there, so that the courses and their compulsory courses have been running for a long time in the third week and you then usually miss the introduction/group formation etc. In principle, you are in a different course each time for the first two weeks and you don’t know anyone, which is certainly not easy at first – but it gets all the better afterwards and you still get to know people very quickly : -). In Germany you are used to everything being perfectly organized and that is not the case in other countries, but you get used to that over time.
Since I was already without a certificate at my German university, I only took three courses in the Journalism & Visual Media course with 20 credit points. These were Introduction to Radio, Video Production 1 and Irish History and Culture.
In all courses, the support provided by the lecturers was absolutely outstanding, the lecturers also helped us across courses, answered emails in the middle of the night and called us on the phone. I’ve never experienced anything like this in Germany, even though there are far fewer students at my university than at the GCD.
I really enjoyed radio, we did programs on different topics in the studio of the university radio station griff.fm. The course was divided into three sub-courses where we talked about topics like how to write reports and how to drive the show.
Video production is very demanding, but also very interesting and absolutely essential if you ever want to get into the film business. Technically, the GCD is also very well equipped, we had very expensive, large film cameras and iMacs for editing the films.
Irish History and Culture should be an absolute must for every study abroad student. The lecturer is the editor-in-chief of a historical magazine and is incredibly committed and motivated. Each lecture consisted of a lecture and a trip around Dublin and eventually even Belfast. In the four months I learned more about Irish history and culture than I ever did about German, and at the same time you were always on the go and also saw places that you would not necessarily visit as a tourist.
Overall, I really liked the college and I thought it was great that you could take practical courses so that the theoretical content that is taught in most German media courses could also be applied.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
When it comes to leisure, Dublin is of course a paradise. The city may not be particularly large, but it still “pulsates” just as you would expect from London, Berlin or Paris. The nightlife is unique and there is something for everyone, whether parties in hip clubs, chic bars or just typical Irish pubs! When you’re out and about in the evening, the streets are always crowded, whether it’s a weekend or a weekday.
Alcohol and eating out is relatively expensive, so you should plan enough money if you like to go out. A pint costs between €5 and €7 here, a cocktail between €10 and €15 and a dinner in a city center restaurant between €13 and €18.
There are also many great museums, such as the library at Trinity College, which was the inspiration for the Harry Potter library. You can also go shopping, everything in the city center can be reached on foot within 5-10 minutes. And of course what makes Dublin absolutely unique is having the beach on your doorstep – Sandymount Beach is just southeast of Docklands and stretches for miles, only about 20 minutes by bus from the city centre! Especially if you are still there in May and June and have a bit of luck with the weather, the beach is definitely worth a visit.
All other cities can be reached very cheaply from Dublin by bus, eg Cork, Galway or the Wicklow Mountains. Ireland has some really beautiful scenery, so I highly recommend saving some money to travel at the end of the semester. My highlight were the Aran Islands, which are very easy to reach from Galway. We were very lucky with the weather and the scenery was beautiful, just as you would imagine Ireland to be. We mostly booked the accommodation with Airbnb, which always worked well and the Irish hosts are very friendly anyway : -)
Do’s and don’ts
Friendliness and openness is the be-all and end-all in Ireland. On the street, it’s completely normal for people to approach you at the bus stop, for example, asking where you’re from and what you’re doing here. That’s not really the norm in this country, on the contrary, you don’t actually speak to strangers at all. But it is normal there and it is also expected that you reciprocate this friendliness. Also, it’s perfectly normal to apologize three times when you bump into someone, even if it’s not your fault.
If you get a visit from Irish friends or also from craftsmen, technicians, etc. you have to offer at least one tea or coffee, if possible biscuits or something similar.
Drinking alcohol is forbidden on the street, which many Germans don’t know, since it’s completely normal here. If you’re drinking on the street in Dublin and the police come by, they’ll take your bottle away (though not much else actually happens!).
Otherwise you can’t do much wrong, the Irish are a fun, party-loving, open people with whom you can have a lot of fun and make great friends!