Alex Brauman – Junior – Agricultural and Biological Engineering
On January 12th I packed everything I thought I would need for 4 months of studying in another country and drove up to Chicago to spend the day with my family. The next morning I flew to New York to start my adventure.
After spending 3 days in the city visiting a friend I boarded an overnight flight to Dublin. Everything since then has been a blur. The first week was all orientations, getting to know the school, and visiting the city. It didn’t take long to start traveling though; the first Saturday after we arrived, the school sponsored a daytrip to Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway.
I am studying at University College Dublin, one of the largest schools in Ireland, with just over 25,000 students. It is located in the suburbs south of Dublin, but is only a 20 minute bus ride from the city. The campus is a lot smaller than U of I and a lot of the Irish students I have talked to live at home with their parents and commute to campus. There isn’t really a campus town like there is in Champaign. It isn’t really any better or worse, just different from what I am used to! I’m taking 4 classes here on campus and one online through U of I and they’re actually pretty similar to a lot of the classes I have taken at U of I.
Traveling in Europe, and Ireland in particular, is incredibly easy. There is so much to do compacted into a small area. In the 5 weeks I have been here I have visited Cork and kissed the Blarney stone, Galway and the Cliffs of Moher, spent a good amount of time exploring Dublin, and spent a few days in Madrid! I also have trips to London, Brussels, Budapest, Prague, and Vienna planned. From Dublin I can get to anywhere in Ireland in less than 5 hours. Busses and trains crisscross Ireland and the rest of Europe for that matter. If you plan ahead of time, weekend trips are relatively cheap and allow you to visit some incredible places! Traveling by yourself or with other students teaches you so much about yourself and the places you visit.
If you’re considering studying abroad during your time at the University of Illinois, do it. There are so many opportunities, there is bound to be something that will fit your academic goals and schedule. There are also many scholarships that will help cover any potetial costs of your study abroad experience. Early planning will immensely by making sure you keep some classes reserved to take abroad. Studying in another country is an amazing experience and I would reccommend it too anyone who is even considering it!