Before we started
When I was looking around for my compulsory semester abroad, what would be suitable for me, I came across MicroEDU through a fellow student. It was clear to me from the start that I wanted to go to an English-speaking country and Ireland was already a little anchored in my mind. After much research, it was clear to me that I wanted to do my semester abroad in Dublin at Griffith College. I emailed my request to MicroEDU and received an answer quickly with all the important information for the application and the documents to be submitted. All in all, the contact with MicroEDU was very pleasant and I got an answer quickly if I had any questions. the Applying for college went easier than expected. Everything was handled by MicroEDU.
Before my big trip to Ireland, I also took out health insurance abroad. What you shouldn’t forget: be sure to buy a socket adapter. They are different in Ireland than in Germany.
Arrival and accommodation
I have to say in advance that I have chosen the “Griffith Halls of Residence” as my accommodation. But I’ll get to that in a moment. When I got to Dublin, I took a taxi from the airport to Griffith College. That seemed to me the easiest way. In this case you can expect about 30 € and 30 minutes of travel time. Otherwise you can of course also take the bus to the campus. You pay € 3.30 for this, but you travel a little longer. The journey time then takes about 45-90 minutes. Plus, bus travel in Dublin is a thing of its own. What is very important, and what I didn’t know beforehand, is that the bus driver only accepts cash and coins. You also have to pay the exact amount, because there is no change. They don’t even accept bills. In addition, in Dublin you can never assume that you will arrive on time and according to plan. I couldn’t believe it at first, but it really is. Especially in the mornings and after rush hour traffic, there is no getting through the city. Therefore, the way to the airport can take twice as long instead of the scheduled 45 minutes. According to Abbreviation Finder, GCD is the abbreviation of Griffith College Dublin.
As I mentioned earlier, I lived in the Griffith Halls of Residence. This is the student dormitory right on campus. I have to say that at the beginning I had rather mixed feelings about living there. You usually live together as a four-person flat share and two people always share one room. There is a large eat-in kitchen and each room has its own bathroom. It should be said that only one room has the bathroom directly next to the room. The bathroom of the other room is accessible from the hallway.
Regarding the living situation, I can only say that I couldn’t have done it better. I am glad I chose the student dormitory as in my opinion it only has advantages. The way to the university is a stone’s throw and you can be in the classroom within three minutes. You do not have to rely on the bus, which is often plagued by delays and cancellations. You also have the cafeteria right in front of the door and can go to eat there if you don’t feel like cooking. In addition, almost all exchange students live in the Halls of Residence. This means that you are always in the middle of it all and can make a lot of contacts and do something together at any time of the day or night without having a road. So nothing stands in the way of a spontaneous cooking or games evening. I also have to say that it was a great advantage for me to have shared the room with a second person. My roommate was from England and I spoke English from morning to night. It couldn’t be better if you want to improve your English.
Griffith College’s campus is nice and clear. There is a really great cafeteria with delicious food. There are also Subway and Starbucks in the same building. At the beginning of the campus is the Students’ Union. There you have the opportunity to spend your free time, for example with billiards or table tennis. There are also sports clubs and clubs that you can join. These range from soccer, volleyball, basketball, to badminton, dancing or fencing. There is something for everyone and there are also great excursions that you have to register for.
I usually walked into town. It was about a 30-minute walk from campus. You get used to the long walkways in Dublin relatively quickly. But it wasn’t a long way to the nearest supermarkets. There is a Spar market directly across from Griffith College. This is a bit smaller, but not recommended for larger purchases, as it is more expensive there than elsewhere. However, it is definitely recommended for urgent little things. There is a Tesco supermarket about 5 minutes away. This is perfect for weekly shopping. And yes, it is true that a lot of groceries are more expensive than in Germany. But only if you take the first thing off the shelf. If you look around a little and know where you can get which groceries cheaply, then that’s no problem at all. There are also Aldi and Lidl in Dublin. There the prices are like in Germany. The nearest Lidl is 15 minutes away from the campus. A little hint: Simply register for badminton and plan a week’s shopping at Lidl once a week. This is in fact on the direct way from the sports hall of the badminton club back to the campus AND you burned calories while playing badminton at the same time
Now I come to my choice of course. At the beginning there was a huge selection available. The great thing about Griffith College is that you can take any courses that interest you for the first two weeks of the semester. Only then do you have to make a decision. To have the opportunity to look at everything and to be able to reconsider your first decisions is just great.
In the end, I signed up for three courses:
In this course you learn everything about studio photography. Since I love to take photos, but I was still totally unfamiliar with portrait photography in the studio, it was the perfect course to learn more about photography. It was a lot of fun, the lecturer is very nice and the course is 100 percent practice-oriented. There is also no written exam at the end, because the grade results from a practical project.
Introduction to Digital Media:
In this course you will learn everything about running your own blog and designing websites with InDesign. To do this, everyone created their own blog about WordPress, which had to be fed with content at regular intervals. Here, too, no exam was written at the end, but the grade resulted from a presentation and the creation of the blog as well as two in-class assignments for website design.
Layout and Graphic Design:
In this course everything about the programs Illustrator and InDesign was taught. I have to say that I was familiar with the programs before, but still learned a lot of new things. In the first half of the course we created a logo with Illustrator, the second half was about creating a magazine with a cover sheet and two inside pages with the help of InDesign.
When it comes to recreational activities, Dublin has a lot to offer. Phoenix Park, for example, is a huge park with something special. Hundreds of deer live there, and if you are lucky you can see them. The botanical garden is also highly recommended and there are even beaches very close by. For example on the way to the Poolbeg Lighthouse, which is definitely worth a visit. You can also take the train to beautiful places around Dublin, such as Howth, a small peninsula with a harbor, a small market and the beautiful Cliffwalk. What you definitely have to visit are the Wicklow Mountains below Dublin. A beautiful panorama awaits you and you can easily get there by bus. Speaking of which: bus travel is a must in Ireland! You can travel the whole island with it for a relatively cheap price. So I made a tour to the Cliffs of Moher, a trip through Northern Ireland up to the Giants Causeway and a day visit to Galway.
When it comes to evening entertainment, Dublin is the place to be. There is always something going on there. It feels like the whole city spends the evenings and nights in pubs and clubs, where great live music is always offered. Music is very important in Dublin. There are musicians on every street corner who cannot be compared with those in Germany. It’s always an experience every time you visit the city center. Oh yes, the shops and supermarkets are open every day of the week. The city lives from morning to evening, Monday to Sunday, all year round and you never get bored.
The most exciting half year of my life so far is unfortunately over. And really, I recommend it to everyone. Ireland is the perfect country for a semester abroad: the people are always friendly in every situation, the island is not too big and it is therefore the ideal size to travel to all Irish sights and most beautiful places in six months. And the weather isn’t as bad as everyone always claims. I look back on a lot of great experiences, but one thing always remains: You have met people from all over the world and made friends.