Semester Abroad-Dublin Spring 2017

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!

-Alex Brauman


Europe, Ireland, Uncategorized

Happy Cows Come From Ireland

My friends and family always joke with me, “Are you actually studying over there?” While I have been on many adventures during my time abroad, rest assured I am still attending class and learning at University College Dublin. This past Friday, I had my first “practical” or field trip to the university’s research farm, Lyons. I went with my ANSC20050 class, which is about dairy production.

Ireland’s dairy production system is very different from ours in the states. One of the first things I though when stepping off the plane for the first time in Ireland was, “Wow, this place really is green!” Ireland’s abundance of grass is a cheap feedstuff for cows. Ireland’s weather also differs from Illinois’. It rains here, a lot. This causes the grass to grow on a seasonal curve, with the highest amount of grass being produced in the spring. Farmers will try to match the curve with milk production, meaning the cows will also be producing the most milk in the spring.

Spring calving is most popular in Ireland, which results in a surplus of milk being produced in the spring and less being produced in the winter. One way Ireland deals with the high amount of milk in the spring is by producing dairy products, which have a long shelf life. Ireland is famous for it’s butter, cream liquor and cheeses. Since Ireland is an island, the products being sold internationally must also have a long shelf life.

I have been greatly enjoying my dairy production class at UCD and learning about the differences and similarities between Ireland’s production and the production back home. It was refreshing visiting Lyon’s Research Farm to see that cows may raised differently over here, but they are still as happy and cute as I remember them from back home.

– Tessa Cowser