A stay abroad is mandatory as part of my studies. So I had some lead time to find a suitable country / university. Thanks to a fellow student, I quickly found a liking for Ireland and Griffith College in Dublin, short for GCD by abbreviationfinder. They also advised me about applications and accommodation with the help of the organizational aspects, MicroEDU. com make. This also worked absolutely quickly and smoothly; Within a very short time I had all the documents I needed for my application and was able to email them to MicroEDU. I hardly had to worry about the further organization at all and the employees were always available to answer questions in writing or by phone.
Before my semester abroad began at Griffith College, I traveled through the country with a fellow student for two weeks and visited tourist attractions such as the Cliffs of Moher or the Killarney National Park, as well as small sleepy towns such as Athlone or Kilkenny. The nature of Ireland is simply breathtaking and you fall a little more in love with the country every day. The trip was a lot of fun and can be absolutely recommended, because you get a completely different view of the country and the people than if you only spent the whole semester in Dublin. During the semester you have time to visit the country every now and then, but there will be no more options for a long tour.
The accommodation in the student dormitories consists of two double rooms, which together share an apartment including a hallway and kitchen / living room. The rooms are simply furnished, but you don’t need much more than a bed, wardrobe, desk and bedside table anyway. The bathrooms, with each double room having its own bathroom, are quite small and also very sparingly furnished. The kitchen, on the other hand, is very spacious depending on the layout of the apartment and offers plenty of space for one or the other flat share celebration. The kitchen equipment is not very extensive, but you can find all utensils such as spatulas, pasta strainers, etc. at a low price in the next 1 euro shop. If you wait for the right time, you can even take used utensils from previous tenants with you free of charge at the Griffith flea market at the beginning of the semester.
When applying for the dormitory, I did not give an answer to the question whether I would like to share a room with certain people. So I came into an apartment with three boys from a relatively large German group of foreign students, with whom I got along very well throughout the entire time. I would have liked to have had one or two foreigners in the apartment so that I could speak English more regularly, but the start of the semester and the acclimatization phase in the new life made it a lot easier. In fact, we got along so well in our group that you can say that long-term friendships developed even after the semester.
When choosing a course, you could choose from a large catalog of courses. Due to my field of study, I was in the “Journalism & Visual Media” faculty, which had offers for everything to do with media management, photography, film, graphics / design and online. However, you have to make sure that your desired courses do not overlap, which is why the options are ultimately fewer than you think. In the first two weeks of the semester you have the opportunity to get a taste of all the courses, regardless of whether you want to take them or not. However, it should be said that the courses start in the first week and, if you have already decided on a course, you should attend it not from the third week, but directly from the first.
I decided on a film, an online and a design course, which I also liked very much. The requirements were lower than at my German university. In addition to the creative work, you also had to write reports every now and then, which were time-consuming but by no means difficult. You can also choose between courses that include an exam at the end of the semester, or courses that are assessed during the entire lecture period. Since I chose three courses, none of which included an exam, I was finished with “studying” before the start of the Christmas break.
The number of participants during the lectures was between 15 and 25 people and took place either in the classrooms of the old Griffith building or in containers on campus. Due to the small number of participants, the flair of a school lesson emerged, which was sometimes more and sometimes less interactive with the students.
The leisure activities at the college were very manageable. There was a semester start party, as well as a Halloween and Christmas party, otherwise the event options on campus were rather limited. There is quite a large range of sports (soccer, basketball, yoga, etc. ) as well as lounges with table tennis tables and game consoles in the student council buildings.
If you want to get out of college and Dublin during the semester, the bus tours to, for example, the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara or the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland are highly recommended. These can easily be booked on the internet. Other excursion destinations in the vicinity such as the Howth Peninsula, the seaside resort of Bray or the Wicklow Mountains National Park can be easily reached by bus and train within an hour.
I would have imagined the party scene to be a bit more exciting for a major European city, although it has to be said that Ireland lives absolutely from its pub culture and that there are only a few classic clubs as we know them in Germany. On the other hand, the atmosphere in the pubs is always fantastic, no matter what day of the week, and it is worthwhile to go to the pub around the corner for a pint during the week. They found their “regular bars” very quickly, which they often visited with friends.
Cost is a very important issue, especially for students. In addition to the quite expensive semester fee and accommodation in the dormitory, life in general is anything but cheap. Although there are also supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl, where you can shop relatively cheaply, you still pay around a third more than in the supermarket in Germany. Even an evening when you go around the house with your people can quickly become an expensive affair. If you manage something with your expenses and do not live in luxury, this is also feasible. My experience with fellow students has also shown that a room with a host family is not profitable compared to a student residence. If in doubt, you pay more than in the dormitory and you still have the additional travel costs by bus. It is also far more difficult to socialize with other students.
After almost three weeks back home, I can say in retrospect that I made the absolutely right decision with Ireland and Dublin. Not only the city, but also all of the surrounding nature, people and culture have grown very dear to my heart. If you are a friendly and open person, are open to many different cultures and allow yourself to be persuaded to take one or the other hiking tour followed by a pub visit, then this semester abroad is just right for you!
There are still a thousand things I haven’t talked about, but which you might be particularly interested in. Please let me know!