The following blog was posted by Ms Izette Kelly from the USA. Izette has just completed Year One of her Undergraduate Programme – BA in Global Business – (France) – (Bachelor Honours Degree). Students taking this programme study for the first two years at DCU and then the final two years in a partner institution in France. There is also a USA, German and Spanish version of this programme.
“Last September, I arrived in Dublin to start my adventure as a first year student at DCU. Even though I knew my “freshman” year in college would be a little different than that of my friends from home in Vermont, U.S.A, I was still extremely excited to make new friends and memories in a new and exciting setting. Growing up with an Irish father, a Swedish mother and European relatives, I sort of knew what to expect from the culture and the people, but there were still a lot of things that surprised me. There were differences in accents, in past experience, in slang and definitely in academics.
As a student who attended a stereo-typically American public school, I was definitely used to a lot of hands on learning. DCU is known around Ireland for having a lot of continuous assessment classes and for being generally “hands on”, but in my opinion, there was still a lot of pressure on exams. Many of my classes consisted of maybe one continuous assessment assignment, and one exam at the end of the year, which was worth around 70% of my grade, but it depends on the programme. In the U.S., exams are usually not worth as much! I was a little apprehensive about this at the beginning of the year because I’ve always been much better at projects and homework than exams, but after this year I know that as long as I study hard and keep up with my lectures, these exams won’t be a problem. I would be lying if I didn’t say I was little jealous of my friends back home whose exams are only worth around 20% though!
The Irish people aren’t too much different from the people in Vermont that I know and love. Sure, people speak kind of funny and have never been to a WalMart or Chipotle, but they are just as easy and sometimes easier to get along with. I really feel that I have found some of my life long friends in just my first year at DCU.
My course (Global Business and French) is a small course filled with people who all have extremely similar interests. Never before had I stood in a room of people so similar to me in my whole life. Of course, we’re not all exactly the same, but everyone was so kind, welcoming, and our common interests made it easy for us all to get along. I’ve had to get used to some Irish slang and my Irish friends have had to get used to some of my slang but in the end it’s just fun to share our cultural differences. I am so grateful to have made so many amazing friends and to have been able to travel to where they are from outside of Dublin! I went to Kerry, Carlow and Kilkenny this past semester and am hoping to see other counties like Galway and Donegal this coming year.
There are so many great opportunities to join societies and participate in events at DCU! In the U.S., clubs and sports are a huge part of not only college life, but high school and even middle school life too. It’s part of the culture over here, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out about all the opportunities DCU had to offer. One specific event I participated in was called Lost and Astray. The objective of Lost and Astray was to raise money for two Irish charities but with a fun twist. After trying to raise as much money as I could, my partner and I along with 9 other pairs of students were blind folded and brought to a mysterious location in Ireland. We then had to make our way back to DCU without any money or cell phones. This was such an amazing experience for me and even though we didn’t get back to DCU first, I got to see a different part of Ireland and it was for such a good cause. My partner and I had a blast doing it and will hopefully be able to participate in something similar next year! There are plenty of other opportunities like this made by different societies and I plan on participating in more of them!
One of my favorite things about studying at DCU is how close it is to the city center. My close friends and I definitely took advantage of this to a point where some weeks we were in every day! ] There are plenty of things to do on the DCU campus, but there are thousands of things to do in the city. Whenever we needed a break from normal college life, we would go into town, choose a cute new coffee shop or frozen yogurt place, and do our work. Even if we didn’t have any work to do, I really got to know some of my best friends by going on our adventures in the city. A lot of people who go to DCU don’t take advantage of the fact that the city is so close, and I think that’s kind of sad! I love being at DCU, but when you have such a culturally rich and beautiful city so close, I think it’s important to take time to visit it!
All in all, I am loving my time at DCU. Although this summer has been a nice break from my hectic life in Dublin, I can’t wait to go back and make all new memories and experiences. I think I’ve always been a European girl at heart”.