Here I am, with less than a month left of classes in Dublin. Where has the time gone? Now that I am almost done, I’m ready to share some advice on taking classes in Ireland. My experience has been really positive so far!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my class load in Dublin was not too time consuming. Everyone I spoke to warned me against taking 6 classes (18 US credits) while abroad. I was told to take the least amount of classes possible and just enjoy my time abroad. Which is great advice, but at the same time I needed all the credits to stay on track for graduation next year. Based on the advice I was originally given, I made a backup plan to take 5 classes this semester abroad and then take one over the summer to stay on track. This was my plan until the end of my first week of classes. I found that I did not have as many weekly assignments or quizzes as I did back home. For most of my classes, I just had to write one essay at the end of term and that was my only grade. Since my class schedule seemed much lighter than back home, I decided to add the 6th class to stay on track.
The biggest difference I have found between US courses and my Irish classes is the environment of the classrooms. I find that Irish classes are more laid back compared to classes in the US. This laid back atmosphere gives students more independence for course work. The professors won’t be checking your attendance or giving you pop quizzes. Instead, you will have one final paper or exam due at the end of the semester.
This difference in class culture was a bit of an adjustment for me. I found it made classes from week to week a whole lot easier, however, now that I only have three weeks of classes left I feel the pressure of my final essays looming over me.
All in all, I’ve had a very positive experience taking classes in Dublin. I did not start the program with any expectations, which I think helped with my adjustment. I went into this whole experience with an open mind and I have been pleasantly surprised along the way!