Deciding on Dublin

Brenna McDonald University College Dublin, Ireland


August 13, 2015

As I sit here, seventeen days away from leaving the States (but who’s counting?!), I can barely contain my excitement for the adventure I am about to begin. Amidst the stresses of packing and preparation, I am still so happy and extremely grateful that I get to spend an entire year of college in a different country.

I always knew I wanted to study abroad. Even when I was in high school, I dreamed of enrolling in a foreign university and having the time of my life for a semester or two. My desire to study abroad was certain, but the question remained as to where exactly I wanted to go. Although I would’ve been happy studying in any country, I eventually narrowed it down to a top three: England, Italy, and Ireland.

After numerous hours spent scrolling through different study abroad program descriptions (no exaggeration!), mental lists of pros and cons, and looking at countless social media posts of my friends’ study abroad experiences, I made my decision. England, though lovely, was too typical for me and seemed to be where everyone I knew studied abroad. And Italy, though gorgeous, posed the challenge of a language barrier I didn’t want to tackle after struggling to pass my Italian class for four semesters. So, I decided, I’ll go to Ireland — sorted!

Of course, other factors contributed to my final decision of which country I’d like to temporarily call home. For one, I have Irish ancestry and was really excited about the opportunity to visit the country where my family came from. I also knew that the Irish are known for being a friendly and welcoming community, a reputation that was proven true when I met some people from Ireland in New York City earlier this year. I knew instantly that I wanted to be around that kind of culture.

I selected the Arts program at UCD because it seemed to be the best fit for me. Since I attend a university in New York City and enjoy the urban lifestyle, I knew I wanted to be close to the city center. I also knew I wanted to attend a bigger school, since my home school is pretty tiny — UCD is Ireland’s largest university and is home to students from all over the world. Additionally, I looked at the courses offered by UCD to see what I could potentially study and saw many modules that I was interested in. The more I looked into it, the more I could see myself studying in Dublin at UCD’s Belfield campus.

I know firsthand that choosing a study abroad program can be pretty overwhelming initially. But from my experience, it’s a lot easier if you truly focus on what’s right for you. Once you decide what you want out of your study abroad experience and select a program that can help you fulfill your goals, you’re set!

And for now, I’m set on having an incredible year at UCD. See you soon, Dublin!